Category Archives: Reading


Atheist Wizards, Desperate Mothers, and Dead Mockingbirds, (A.K.A. What I’ve Been Reading Lately)

So many books, so little time to write about them!  Here are some of the highlights of the past few months.

Harry Potter and the Methods of RationalityHARRY POTTER AND THE METHODS OF RATIONALITY

By Eliezer Yudkowsky

After posting my review of the final two Harry Potter books last fall, a friend challenged me to read this quite lengthly spin off.  I would say that the most accurate description is that of atheist, Mary Sue, parallel universe, fan fiction.  That being said, the plot is engaging, and kept me rapidly page turning despite its many flaws.  The best parts are when it stays close to its source material, while still poking fun at it (I’ve gotta agree its hard to see the proud Salazar Slytherin putting the opening to the Chamber of Secrets in a bathroom).  Unfortunately, the Mary Sue, aspect of the work becomes apparent rather quickly as Harry’s character is dramatically different and while logical and humorous, not particularly likable.  Finally, the work seems to be intentionally way longer and more complicated than was necessary.    


By Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

I really wanted to love this book, and had hoped that it could be helpful to me.  It wasn’t.  While the authors aptly describe the difficulties with being a stay-at-home mom, their solutions while valid are rather general and vague (ex: make your home a peaceful environment, don’t isolate yourself at home).  Frankly, a lot of their solutions are out of reach for the most “desperate” of mothers who lack the funds for such things as babysitting, or housekeeping.  So too, their reminders that this season of life when we have children under three or four won’t last forever, is not particularly helpful for those who expect to have a large family and perhaps have a child under three for the next twenty years or so.   Nota Bene: This book is not written for those who work outside of the home and seems to disparage those who willingly make this choice.  If you are looking for a helpful book on bringing peace to your life as a mother, skip this one and check out A Mother’s Rule of Life, for concrete and helpful suggestions.


By Harper Lee

Inspired by our trip down south in February, I moved To Kill a Mockingbird to the top of my “to be read in 2015″ list.  Less than a day later I had finished it.  Such a fantastic book; probably my favorite piece of American Literature from the 20th century.  I feel like anything I have to say about it right now cheapens it, as if I haven’t earned the privilege yet.  I would love to analyze the technical details of what it is that I enjoyed so much about Harper Lee’s style, but to do so would involve dissecting it into pieces and I am not ready to do that yet.  Bottom Line: if you haven’t read it yet, get a copy pronto!


By Shawn Smucker

This book came at the perfect time for me.  In it the author tells how he transitioned to freelance writing for a living after his painting business failed. While the primary thrust of the book deals specifically with life as a writer (to this end it includes several essays from others who make their living writing), at its core it is a book about following your dreams.  I started reading it shortly after Nathan and I had made the leap and started our own business, and there were so many parts that any new small business owner could relate to.  I especially liked the analogy to driving at night and only being able to see part of the way, but perhaps my favorite passage compared owning your own business to being an alien on a rollercoaster.  A great book for writers, business owners, and dreamers alike.



By Charles Duhigg

An excellent book for those who want to understand how habits operate on both a personal and institutional level.  Very helpful for those who want to make or break new habits.

There are several other books that I have been reading lately that I hope to review about later (such as A Wrinkle in Time).

I also skim re-read All the Money in the World, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the Nesting Place.

Linking up with Anne at for QuickLit, and Rachel of for Five Faves Wednesday.  Happy Reading, may your books be plentiful and their plots engaging!

Have you been reading any good books lately?  I’d love to hear about them, tell me in the comments!



Restlessness, Blogging and The Sinner’s Guide to NFP, (aka What I Read This Past Month)

As I reviewed my reading list from this past month, I realized I had only read three books, which is on the low side as of late.

My first reaction was shame, thinking, “How could I have read so little!  There are so many books on my to-be-read list!”  There was a time ten years ago when I could to polish off a book every day or two.

Then I realized that during this same period last year I had probably read about 1/3 of one book, and remembered that my reading resolution for this year was to read one book every two months.

Suddenly, I feel pretty good about my reading habits this past month.  Ah, life with two toddlers.

But I digress  . . . Here is what I have been reading this month:


1.  Restless: Because You Were Made for More                                 by Jennie Allen 

A fantastic book about examining all of the different threads in your life (talents, circumstances, people, places, etc.) to prayerfully determine the unique way you are called to serve God in your life.  I really need to give this book a post of its own to give it the treatment that it deserves.

This is not a book to read quickly, this is a book to ponder and slowly reflect on its themes.  I LOVE the author’s writing style, in many regards it is how I hope to evolve my style over time.  The only critique I would give is that she uses short sentences more frequently for emphasis, and this makes the last few chapters feel a hair staccato.

Letter Grade: A


2.  How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul                        by Ruth Soukup

I feel that I should first clear the air by saying: I have no intention of blogging for profit.  Someday I could see myself offering ad space to businesses that I feel strongly about or joining Amazon’s affiliate program to defray my costs, but that would be about it.  I have no illusions of making this a profitable business.

That being said, this book has lots of helpful suggestions for improving navigation, site design, and networking, which are all goals that I do have for this little blog home of mine.

The author clearly knows what she is talking about; the book is chock full of information, but is an easy read.

I read the book for free from Amazon’s Lending Library for Prime members, but am considering buying it so that I can have it on hand to refer to.

Letter Grade: A-


3.  The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning                           by Simcha Fisher

Can I just start by saying a big THANK YOU to Simcha for writing an intelligent, balanced, orthodox and even hilarious book on NFP.  (For those who haven’t heard of NFP, it is a fertility awareness based method of family planning that uses knowledge of the woman’s body and cycles to empower the couple with information that can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy.)

My parents are NFP teachers and I focused on modesty, human sexuality, and human dignity during my theology studies in college, so I have had a great deal of exposure to literature and presentations on the topic.  Simcha’s is the best book on the topic that I have read yet.  She acknowledges how difficult it can be and doesn’t sugar coat things in order to better “sell” it.  This book doesn’t teach the method, or delve deeply into sexual morality; what it does do is provide a reminder for those who have chosen this path about the true benefits that it does bring to relationships, and encouragement on how to carry the cross of the sufferings that practicing NFP and periodic abstinence presents.  I highly recommend this book to Catholic married couples.

Letter Grade: A-

Well there you have it.  My reading list may have been small, but I enjoyed each of the books on it.  Will be linking up with the lovely Anne of for Twitterature tomorrow.  (Side note I found out about the first two books through her blog which has notifications for kindle daily deals, and Prime lending library recommendations.  Go check her blog out!)


Any of the above books look interesting or relevant to you?  Do you ever longingly remember the days of your youth when there was more time to read?  Tell me about it in the comments!