Tag Archives: Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads: 19/2017 (in 7 Quick Takes)

pile of books

I was going to publish a regular 7 Quick Takes tonight, but I don’t have enough material! Life has just been rolling along pretty quietly. I have, however, been plowing through articles in Pocket, so it’s time for another installment of Recommended Reads to clear out my backlog. There are 7, so that counts, right?

7 Quick Takes, hosted by This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

Title: Busyness Is Not a Virtue
Source: iDoneThis

I love the first part of this article for its descriptions of why we are so easily primed to say that we’re “busy.” As I like to say, of course you’re busy. Everyone feels busy. When is the last time you said, “Man, I just have nothing to do?” I love the second part for its quotation of Laura Vanderkam and her suggestion for a language shift. I’ve done this in my actual life. It has the effect of making me see my time differently and appreciate it more, but it also makes me extra annoyed when other people say they’re busy. It’s a tough game.

— 2 —

Title: An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media
Source: The Message

I’m never a big fan of the concept that non-white people have to express themselves in non-white ways (whatever that means); I’m too big a fan of code-switching for that. I did appreciate that this writer points out that there’s more to a culture than mere age. One millennial’s opinion is definitely useful, but one person can rarely speak for a group of millions.

— 3 —

Title: God of the Depressed
Source: First Things

More and more writers are offering angles on the tricky space between “God-help,” self-help, and professional help.

— 4 —

Title: I Thought There Was a Simple Solution to an Unwanted Pregnancy, But I Was Wrong
Source: Verily

I’ve never read anything quite like this woman’s personal account of her experience. Abortion, adoption, parenting: it’s one of the few I’ve seen where every option was truly before her. She found that her simple, easy solutions weren’t as easy as they seemed.

— 5 —

Title: How lack of reverence for the Eucharist puts people off Catholicism
Source: The Catholic Herald (UK)

The title says pretty much everything you need to know, but read it anyway. Then reconsider your demeanor in the presence of the Real Presence.

— 6 —

Title: How to Obey Like an Adult
Source: National Catholic Register

I know about what went down between Simcha and the Register, but her posts are still archived there, and they’re still good.

Any time the Church gives us clear guidelines for how we are to behave, it’s an act of mercy: She gives us a chance to put the responsibility on someone else, and just relax and be obedient children again. I don’t have to figure out if I’m personally being called to pray, fast, and give alms. Just do it, because your mother told you to!

— 7 —

Title: Envy—The Adversary of Mercy
Source: Catholic Education Resource Center

I struggle with properly defining mercy and with remembering the difference between envy and jealousy, so this feels like it was written just for me!


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Recommended Reads: 46/2016

pile of books

Here’s another long-overdue installment of a regular feature at Lindsay Loves. Enjoy!

— 1 —

Title: Listening to Your Commitments
Source: Next Action Associates

None of us GTD practitioners trust our memories, or anyone else’s—because we have a far more effective and less stressful methodology for keeping track of what matters (versus trying to keep it all in our head).

I used to say I had a terrible memory. Since taking up GTD, I don’t say that anymore. It’s still true, but committing to GTD helped me stop forgetting things. The UK GTD organization Next Action Associates published a post recently about how GTD helps you identify, record, and track your commitments.

My new catchphrase is: “Paper doesn’t forget.” When you agree to do something, or someone agrees to do something for you, write it down! People forget. Paper doesn’t.

— 2 —

Title: How To Learn Something New Every Day (And Actually Do Something With It)
Source: Guest Post at Productivityist

This is a long read, but it goes step-by-step. I highly recommend his method for two points: daily action and sharing. Something you do daily (or even weekly) is something that really matters to you. Teaching is the best way to learn. Just do it. (I write this blog for myself, too!)

— 3 —

Title: How Do I Discern My Vocation?
Source: FOCUS Blog

I can never get enough about discernment. I’ve covered this in a post for ATX Catholic, but this is the text version. If you’d rather read than watch, this is your best bet.

— 4 —

Title: 32 (Or the Long Overdue Life Update)
Source: Choosing Raw

More should be written about “failure,” if that’s what we want to call it. We read so much about triumph over adversity, persistence in the face of great odds, and unlikely successes. We don’t always read about what it’s like to do something and find out that you’re not very good at it, or to work hard and not improve, or to desperately want something that you’re nevertheless incapable of pursuing any further.

And that, dear readers, is the story I’m about to tell.

Long yet amazing reflection on failure. I don’t condone the part about cohabitation at the end, of course, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a better, more honest account of the reality that you really can’t always get what you want.

— 5 —

Title: 7 Things to Say When a Conversation Turns Negative
Source: Harvard Business Review

Great advice. I hope I have some of these in my back pocket the next time I’m having a difficult conversation!

— 6 —

Title: Marriage Rx: Can Divorced & Remarried Receive Communion Now?
Source: Can We Cana?

You’ve been wondering about this, too, right? Pro tip: ignore the troll in the comments section. Karee Santos is an excellent writer, focusing on marriage and the family. She and her husband recently published a book about marriage. I am not-so-patiently waiting for it to be relevant to my life.

— 7 —

Title: Composing a Family Rule of Life
Source: Guest Post at Waltzing in Beauty

This is a guest post from Christina’s series about home. I wrote about organizing, but this was my favorite post that wasn’t by me. I have a rule of life for myself, but I haven’t thought much about what I want for my potential future family. Maybe that’s for the best; there will be at least one other person in it, after all.


For up-to-the minute recommendations from what I read, follow me on Pocket.

Recommended Reads: 28/2016

I have been reading up a storm! I just discovered that Pocket has a bulk edit feature, so I can delete archived-but-not-favorited articles in big chunks instead of one at a time. I had one chunk of 73 items! Today, for you, I will share only seven.

pile of books

— 1 —

Title: 4 Questions People Will Be More Excited to Answer Than “What Do You Do?”
Source: The Muse

I really do try hard not to ask that early in a conversation. My go-to since I’ve lived in Austin has been, “Are you a native Texan?” There is so much Texas pride here! Living here has actually made me significantly more proud to be from Maryland. I want to play the state pride game, too!

— 2 —

Title: Why I Love My Invisible Friend
Source: Word on Fire via CERC

One of the favorite taunts of atheists is that religious people believe in an “invisible friend.” They are implying, of course, that religion is little more than a pathetic exercise in wishful thinking, a reversion to childish patterns of projection and self-protection. It is well past time, they say, for believers to grow up, leave their cherished fantasies behind, and face the real world. In offering this characterization, the New Atheists are showing themselves to be disciples of the old atheists such as Feuerbach, Marx, Comte, and Freud, all of whom made more or less similar observations.

Well, I’m writing here to let atheists know that I think they’re right, at least about God being an invisible friend. Where they’re wrong is in supposing that surrendering to this unseen reality is de-humanizing or infantilizing.

I love Bishop Barron. God is invisible, and he is our friend, and both of those are actually beneficial.

— 3 —

Title: How to Overcome Bad Habits
Source: The Catholic Gentleman

Introspection is necessary in order that we shall isolate the habit and see it clearly as a sin. The surprise we feel when others criticize some fault in us proves that we have not practiced introspection sufficiently to know ourselves. Some people are afraid ever to look into their consciences, for fear of what they might find; they are like the other cowards who dare not open telegrams because they dread bad news.
But introspection is to the soul what diagnosis is to the body—the first necessary step toward health.

More gold from Venerable Fulton Sheen—and it’s more than just avoiding the near occasion of sin (although that is one of his tips).

— 4 —

Title: 10 Clever Time-Saving Hacks (So You Can Spend More Time Doing What You Love)
Source: Verily

This is a listicle worth reading (or at least skimming). I do 3, 7, and as much of 8 and 9 as I can.

— 5 —

Title: Brian Nosek’s Reproducibility Project Finds Many Psychology Studies Unreliable
Source: The Atlantic

Well, that’s not what you want. This isn’t to say that psychology (or any science) isn’t trustworthy, but it sure puts a damper on the rallying cry of people who won’t believe anything unless it appears in a peer-reviewed journal. Blind trust of journals is no better than blind trust of any other authority.

— 6 —

Title: The Cognitive Biases That Lead to Bad Money Decisions
Source: Two Cents at Lifehacker

Two Cents is a great personal finance (sub-)blog. I don’t read everything, but I watch the headlines in Feedly. I was stuck under the status quo bias for my old cell phone carrier for longer than I’d like to admit. My only comfort is that it’s such a common situation that Kristin used it as one of her examples! And because I zero-balance budget, I’m now capturing that 50% cost reduction to use for other purposes.

— 7 —

Title: Kids and Modesty or, How I Got My Kids to Quit Getting Naked in the Yard
Source: Catholic All Year

I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to emphasize to children the idea that our bodies are for our future spouses. While I think that that is partially true, I think that it is MORE true that our bodies are for God whether He intends us to have a spouse or not. And I think that it’s more appropriate to understand that spouses become one rather than that they take ownership of one another’s bodies. So I think it’s more useful to emphasize God’s claim on our bodies rather than a spouse’s.

Kendra is the best. I’ve always found that “ownership” angle a little too close to slavery for my comfort.


For up-to-the minute recommendations from what I read, follow me on Pocket.

Recommended Reads: 27/2016

The nice thing about reading as much as I do from so many different sources is that, when I’m on a low swing in terms of volume, I have a huge backlog of recommendations built up. I’m also glad to have the time to read in the first place.

I also want to take a moment to recommend one of my favorite sources for Catholic content curation: the Catholic Education Resource Center. I found it by way of my dear friend Lyzii. The URL has “Catholic education” in it, and since we are both Catholic educators (although I don’t currently work as one), I thought the post she shared would be about teaching. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to have been so wrong. I’ve been a happy subscriber to their weekly newsletter for several years.

pile of books

— 1 —

Title: The Myth of Quality Time
Source: The New York Times

There’s simply no real substitute for physical presence.

We delude ourselves when we say otherwise, when we invoke and venerate “quality time,” a shopworn phrase with a debatable promise: that we can plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, engineer intimacy in an appointed hour.

We can try. We can cordon off one meal each day or two afternoons each week and weed them of distractions. We can choose a setting that encourages relaxation and uplift. We can fill it with totems and frippery — a balloon for a child, sparkling wine for a spouse — that signal celebration and create a sense of the sacred.

And there’s no doubt that the degree of attentiveness that we bring to an occasion ennobles or demeans it. Better to spend 15 focused, responsive minutes than 30 utterly distracted ones.

But people tend not to operate on cue.

QT is my love language. I don’t like the implication later that cohabiting couples just want more QT, but I’m learning how important extended face time really is.

— 2 —

Title: Underage Drinking
Source: Jimmy Akin

This is not so relevant to me as it once was, since I am way over the legal drinking age, but I like his method of reasoning through just versus unjust laws and scandal. I think we’ve lost our cultural sense of scandal and that such a loss is a bad thing.

— 3 —

Title: Gender Heresy
Source: Catholic Authenticity by Melinda Selmys

Not having a single answer to the transgender question is super hard. This is an excellent analysis of both positions and why it’s important that discussion happens at all, even if I’m still frustrated that there’s no single answer yet.

— 4 —

Title: We Are Signs
Source: Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET) Blog

In a culture that believes sex is a universal “right” and something that everyone must have, a single person leading a chaste life is one powerful sign! It means that their sexuality is reserved. Not repressed, but reserved. Reserved because it’s intended for something grand, and refuses to settle for anything less.

— 5 —

Title: There’s an awful cost to getting a Ph.D. that no one talks about
Source: Quartz

Academia is understanding, but perhaps too accepting, that everyone has problems,” says Jane. “Just because many people do have mental health problems, it’s not ok that that’s ‘how it is.’”

— 6 —

Title: The problem isn’t that life is unfair—it’s that you don’t know the rules
Source: Business Insider

I had to break Rule #2 to my students all the time. Working hard is important, but that alone doesn’t get you good grades.

— 7 —

Title: Three Simple Rules for Happiness
Source: The Catholic Gentleman

In the same way, marriages become more stable only after disillusionment has brought the honeymoon to an end. The great value of the marital vow is in keeping the couple together during the first quarrel; it tides them over their early period of resentment, until they get the second wind of true happiness at being together. Marriage joys, like all great joys, are born out of some pain. As we must crack the nut to taste the sweet so, in the spiritual life, the cross must be the prelude to the crown.

Is there anything Fulton Sheen wrote or said that is not pure gold? I’m pretty sure there’s nothing.


For up-to-the minute recommendations from what I read, follow me on Pocket.

Recommended Reads: 23/2016

I’ve gone back to regular Quick Takes this week (last week?), but don’t think I’d forgotten about Recommended Reads. It’s not like I stopped reading! My goal is to make this a weekly feature. I’ve got a repeating task in Wunderlist to read some posts in Pocket every Thursday, so I’m bound to find some gems, and I made myself a template for these posts, so that should help. I didn’t exactly read all of these last week (week 23 of 2016), but these are the ones I picked out then. My blog, my feature, my rules.

— 1 —

Title: The Frivolity of Evil
Source: City Journal via CERC

There is something to be said here about the word “depression,” which has almost entirely eliminated the word and even the concept of unhappiness from modern life. Of the thousands of patients I have seen, only two or three have ever claimed to be unhappy: all the rest have said that they were depressed. This semantic shift is deeply significant, for it implies that dissatisfaction with life is itself pathological, a medical condition, which it is the responsibility of the doctor to alleviate by medical means. Everyone has a right to health; depression is unhealthy; therefore everyone has a right to be happy (the opposite of being depressed). This idea in turn implies that one’s state of mind, or one’s mood, is or should be independent of the way that one lives one’s life, a belief that must deprive human existence of all meaning, radically disconnecting reward from conduct.

I think about this sometimes, and because of it, I’m very careful about ever claiming to be “depressed.”

While my patients know in their hearts that what they are doing is wrong, and worse than wrong, they are encouraged nevertheless to do it by the strong belief that they have the right to do it, because everything is merely a matter of choice.

Somehow it’s not okay to say that sometimes people make bad choices.

— 2 —

Title: Personal Love and the Call to Chastity
Source: The Public Discourse

Fulton Sheen aptly diagnosed the modern sexual situation: “Sex is thought about as a medium of pleasure to such a degree that it has become an obsession.” Even in our sex-saturated culture, student organizations like the Love and Fidelity Network have formed in reaction to the college culture, which masks sexual libertinism in Slut Walks and speech against “slut-shaming”—efforts that often only lead to “chastity shaming” instead. Even women well versed in feminist theory find pop culture’s presentation of feminism unsatisfying, with its insistence on the bifurcation of the self—dividing the physical from the personal and the emotional from the sexual. One paradigmatic example can be found in the lyrics of the popular Lady Gaga song, “Do What U Want”: “You can’t have my heart and you won’t use my mind, but do what you want with my body.” This false, dualistic dichotomy is the malady of the modern age.

— 3 —

Title: The Impossibility of Secular Society
Source: First Things

Advocates of secularism assume they are proposing a novel possibility, which is that moral precepts can be known without any particular revelation by God. Yet this is precisely what Christianity has taught, explicitly since Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and, implicitly, since Jesus himself. This was lost sight of in the modern era, when many Christians defended religion against skeptical and rationalist attacks by arguing that it is necessary for ensuring the moral basis of society. Men without religion, it was argued, could not be trusted to behave in an upright fashion. So advocates of secularism were drawn into the false debate.

Not the article I was expecting, but good from here until the switch to the second argument.

— 4 —

Title: The Limits of Consent
Source: The Public Discourse

The value of consent lies not in the ability to make our own decisions, but in making the right decisions.

Sounds a lot like the difference between license and freedom, now that I think about it. The broader culture demands the former; the Truth lies in the latter.

— 5 —

Title: Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest
Source: The New York Times

As Dr. Kimmel masterfully deflected an outpouring of protests, the atmosphere grew palpably tense. A young man wearing fraternity letters stood up. “What you don’t get right is that girls are into hooking up as much as we are; they come on to us, too,” he said. Dr. Kimmel shook his head, which left the student clearly rattled.

His voice quavering, the young man stammered something unexpected from a frat brother, about how women can be as insensitive and hurtful as guys. He sounded like a victim himself. But afterward, when I asked him if he had reached out to any of his guy friends for advice or solace, he stared at me, incredulous, his irises two small blue islands amid a sea of sclera. “Nah, I’ve got this,” he said.

— 6 —

Title: Why the Rich Don’t Give to Charity
Source: The Atlantic

If you scanned the press releases, or drove past the many university buildings, symphony halls, institutes, and stadiums named for their benefactors, or for that matter read the histories of grand giving by the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Stanfords, and Dukes, you would be forgiven for thinking that the story of charity in this country is a story of epic generosity on the part of the American rich.

It is not. One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income.

I think about this whenever I consider parish stewardship. I have a plan for myself, but the reality is that the bystander effect (“someone else will help”) is strong.

— 7 —

Title: How to Beat Loneliness
Source: TED

If you feel socially disconnected, go through your phone and email address books, and your social media contacts, and make a list of people you haven’t seen or spoken to for a while. If you feel emotionally disconnected, make a list of five people you’ve been close to in the past. Reach out to them and suggest getting together and catching up. Yes, it will feel scary to do so, and yes, you will worry about it being awkward or uncomfortable. That is why it is also important to….

Don’t just wallow or complain. Do something about it!

7 Quick Takes on Why I Don’t Have a Favelog and My Trip to Chicago

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

I’m back to normal Quick Takes this week, although I have plenty of recommended reads in the queue for tomorrow and the future. (I’ve already drafted tomorrow’s post, so I’m cautiously confident about my ability to actually post it then.)

I realized this week how much I enjoy reading nonfiction. It’s mostly self-help type nonfiction (productivity, personal finance, books about writing), but I like it. I’m not a biography person, but one of the things I like to do with my time is reading, so that helps eliminate some of the potential paradox of reading about productivity instead of actually being productive. I feel like I’m doing both!

— 2 —

Recommended Reads is my current implementation of a favelog. This is a term coined (as far as I can tell) by Ari Bader-Natal. He was searching for a way to aggregate his likes, favorites, etc. from various social media sites into one place as a personal archive, independent of the original sites and easily sortable and searchable.

I like the idea of a favelog, but I haven’t currently created one for a couple of reasons. (There’s a method to my madness, I swear.)

— 3 —

I want my blog to be the hub of my personal brand. I don’t want a sub-blog. If you want to follow me on Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Pocket, or Pinterest, you can follow me there. (Links are in the sidebar below my photo.) You know what kind of info you’ll find in each place. I like that division.

I’m not sure there’s a use for “show me everything Lindsay has shared everywhere” unless you are Mr. Man, and he seems to like his current workflow just fine. I tried to suggest that he use an RSS reader, but he was not into it. Then again, he does not read dozens of blogs like I do.

— 4 —

When I share something on one of my social media profiles, I really only want to share it there. When I read something rec-worthy in Pocket, though, I usually want to offer commentary beyond “you should read this; it is good stuff.” IFTTT won’t pick up anything from Pocket Recommendations automatically. I love the fast, easy way to add commentary and pick a custom excerpt using Pocket Recommendations, so I’m going to keep using that Pocket feature. I will just have to share them to non-Pocket users by hand, i.e. through regular posts here at Lindsay Loves.

— 5 —

I have a decent decision tree for what I share to each profile. When I share something on Facebook, I invite interaction from my Facebook friends. I don’t care if non-Facebook friends never see it. When I retweet something, I don’t care if people who don’t follow me on Twitter don’t see it.

I generally don’t cross-post the same info to more than one profile; when I do, it’s deliberate. I sometimes blog about posts I’ve also shared to Facebook, but not often. I sometimes share Instagram posts to Twitter or Facebook, but that’s rare.

I do automatically share my Goodreads progress updates and links to new Lindsay Loves blog posts on Twitter, but that’s because Twitter is ideal for “right this second” updates. It’s fun to say “I am on this page of this book right now” and “I published a new blog post right now.” If you follow me on the original sites, though, you can also get “not right this second” updates: “How far along is Lindsay in 168 Hours?” and “Is there anything new at Lindsay Loves?”

— 6 —

Enough about that. I spent last weekend in Chicago with my BFF and my BF. It was a whirlwind trip, and there was regular wind blowing through the city, but it was absolutely worth all the trouble. The Internet is amazing for building and maintaining relationships of all kinds, but there is nothing quite like being close enough to touch someone. Separation is hard.

— 7 —

I got a bunch of reading done on my flights to and from Chicago (and in the airport, since I had to get there stupidly early). I think that’s my new strategy for airplane productivity: bring a real book (so my phone battery doesn’t get worn down too quickly; iPhones have amazing battery life when you’re only playing stored music) and just read. Plane naps are never even refreshing. On my flight back to Austin, I reached up to turn on the light and nothing happened. I was very upset at having to potentially read in dim light, but then it came on as mysteriously as it had failed to moments before. Hooray!


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