Tag 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 ModernMrsDarcy.com for QuickLit, and Rachel of Efficientmama.com 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!



What I have been reading Lately

Teenage Wizards, Nesting, and Daily Chores (A.K.A. Books I Have Been Reading Lately)

Today is a day that can be viewed one of two ways: as a grey, rainy, icky day that confines us to spending our time indoors; or it can be viewed as a wonderful opportunity to snuggle up with a good book and a hot cup of tea.  I am trying to look at it as the latter.

My baby girl, has got the right idea though, she keeps following me around the house holding a book and tugging on my skirt.  Needless to say, I gave into her sweet persuasion and we read a stack of books this morning.

For you rainy day reading pleasure, may I present my five favorite books that I read in the past month or so.

1.  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

2.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

So I know I am late to the party, but I only got around to reading the books now.  As a teenager, I avoided them because I was afraid of the element of magic they contained. Now that my brothers and several other friends read them and LOVED them, I figured the time had come to see why.  Also, I figured it would be better to decide way in advance if the series is something I would be comfortable with my kids reading.  Short answer: yes I would let my kids read them, but I think it would be best to read and discuss them together.  I found the magical aspect to be innocuous, (see this article by Regina Doman for a more extensive treatment on the topic),  what bothered me more was Harry’s frequent violation of rules and disrespect for many of his teachers, but even that was more minor.

These two books were my favorites in the series.  Rowling is a master of the page-turner, the plot is very engaging and fast paced, drawing you into the series and investing you in the characters.  I have to admit that I cried at a few points.  Don’t want to say too much more for fear of spoilers.  Bottom Line: Go read them, if you haven’t already.

519dIBQX6QL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_3.  The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith

I blitzed through this book because it is so darn good.  I usually am a fairly silent reader, but I found I was vocal in expressing my agreement with the ideas as I read.  I LOVE her philosophy decorating, even if I don’t personally care for her unique style.  If you are a recovering perfectionist when it comes to decorating your home, or struggling with being content with your current home/ rental this book is a must read.


4. Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris

If you have trouble finding meaning in housework or chores this book is for you.  It is a short, meditative work.  I read it over a period of months in an effort to motivate me to do the dishes.  I still am not fond of doing the dishes, but at least I have interesting reflections to ponder as I do them.



5. Minimalist Living: Decluttering for Joy, Health and Creativity by Genevieve Parker Hill

I snagged this book while it was free as a Kindle Daily Deal a few months back.  Its an interesting read, though I had encountered most of the ideas before.  For those who have not explored their relationship to their stuff, or why they keep things, this book would be a useful resource.  It helped me keep my motivation for continuing the great purge of 2014.


Linking up with the ever insightful, Anne of ModernMrsDarcy.com for twitterature.  Also linking up with Jenna of callherhappy.com for Five Favorites Wednesday.

Happy Reading!

What have you been reading lately?  Have you read any of these books before?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


7 Quick Takes- Colds, Whole 30, and Camping, Oh My!

7_quick_takes_sm1I am officially joining up with Jen at Conversion Diary for my first ever Seven Quick Takes Posts.  To any first time visitors, I apologize.  You aren’t catching me at my best because:

1.  My whole family has had a nasty head cold for over 11 days now.  This cold is a ninja.  You think you have it under control and you are on the mend, and then it rebounds and you find yourself walking around with a roll of toilet paper.  And you foolishly take the toilet paper to Mass, where your toddlers attempt to tp the pew with it while you pray.

2.  After returning from vacation, Nathan decided to join me in a Whole 30.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept you basically only eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat for a whole 30 days.  The list of banned foods includes: anything with gluten; anything with dairy; all grains (rice, oats, quinoa, etc); chocolate; alcohol; potatoes; beans; peanuts; honey; stevia; any baked good, even if it isn’t made with any of the aforementioned ingredients.  Its like Lent, but only for 30 days.

We were doing it primarily because we felt we needed a nutritional “reset” and that our bodies were craving super nourishing foods.  As an added bonus, he has lost 15 lbs.  I lost 3, because that’s how my body rolls when breastfeeding.

3. To compensate I have been binging on books.  I have read about 2,000 pages in the past two weeks . . . and the vast majority of it has been Harry Potter.  I never read it as a kid, so I thought I would give it a try.  Thus far I have mixed feelings, but will withhold final judgement till I am finished with the series.

4.  My son is obsessed with the piano guys CD.  Fortunately I approve of it, and find it enjoyable to listen to.  My favorite track is this one:

Sam’s favorite track is of course this one:

In order to listen to the entire CD and not just track 6 on repeat, I told him all of the songs were about Darth Vader.  Now as we listen to the CD, he will narrate the life of Darth Vader to Ana: “This is where Dark Vader fell in love.  He had two babies, Luke and Leia. Oh, now R2D2 is falling in love!”

5.  I am remodeling the laundry room!  So excited!  No more will that room be the domain of spiders and the occasional banana slug.  I started painting last night and met my goal of finishing one wall.  Nathan was not thrilled when he walked in, at 10:00 P.M. to find me gleefully dancing on my step ladder with a loaded paint brush.  Nevertheless, he lovingly offered to help me.  After we had finished, I offered to play video games with him.  We both went to bed happy.

6.  Nathan and I are on a Stargate Atlantis kick right now.  At least once a week, one of us sneaks up on the other and pretends to suck the life out of the other like a wraith.  We may or may not have done this in the basement of the library before we were dating.  It was one of the first times he thought he loved me, haha.

7.  We are going on our first family camping trip this weekend.  I have visions of Sam trying to re-enact Curious George Goes Camping by running away into the woods and getting sprayed by a skunk. Fun fact: Nathan wanted to go camping for our honeymoon.  I refused.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone! Any big plans for how you are going to spend it?