Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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You and Me Forever

We are part of a married small group through Buckhead Church. We really enjoy being able to spend time with other married couples who are in a similar stage in life – and we all are because we’ve all been married less than a year – and have great leaders who are a little further along in their experience. We’ve done various studies and recently finished You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan.

If you’re not familiar with Francis Chan, he is a very “real” writer and speaker. He will tell you how it is and doesn’t sugarcoat things. The main premise of this book is that by making things right with God and striving for a life Jesus would be proud of, you will also have the benefit of a meaningful and fulfilling marriage. Now we all know no one can actually accomplish a life anywhere near to that of Jesus. But that is the goal. It was hard to read and think about the fact that in heaven, you won’t have a husband or wife. That we should be anxiously awaiting the day that Jesus returns and have no problem with that happening tomorrow regardless of what you still want to do or accomplish here on Earth. But that should be the ultimate desire of Christians.

There were videos to go with each chapter which I always like and each chapter had parts written by both Francis and Lisa. It did feel repetitive at times, which made it drag on a little bit. But it triggered some great discussion in our group as well as at home. And it’s good for newlyweds and for couples who have been married a while. It even has a chapter on parenting!

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Becoming

This is not a political post, so please don’t comment with anything political. Don’t worry, I have political views and opinions but I prefer to not open that can of worms on my blog. I enjoy reading about people and people’s lives. Everyone experiences life in such different ways, which is what makes us human and the world an amazing place.

Becoming, on the whole, a political book. This is about a woman who started out like so many and eventually found herself in a place that so few had been. Michelle Obama grew up without much in the way of money or material things but worked hard to earn an ivy league education (multiple degrees) and get a great job as an attorney. I enjoyed learning that she struggled to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, even well after finishing school. But she strived to find something that would be fulfilling and also make a difference, as many people strive to do.

This is about a woman who loves her husband. Even as a senator’s wife, she never wanted a life of politics, but she put her own wants aside and put her husband’s first. That is true love – each spouse putting the other first. She dealt with the same struggles that new mothers deal with every day, especially in our country, feeling the tug between career and home.

She goes to write, obviously, about their campaign for the presidency and life in the White House. About how she used her position to address issues that were (are) important: childhood obesity, access to education, and supporting military families. I recommend this book not because of the Obama’s politics or because their eight years in office were perfect, but because Michelle Obama is an inspiring woman who has accomplished much. And although I cannot imagine or relate to many of the trials she faced or issues that caused her anxiety, I wholeheartedly agree with this quote from the book.

“So many of us go through life with our stories hidden, feeling ashamed or afraid when our whole truth doesn’t live up to some established ideal. We grow up with messages that tell us that there’s only one way to be American – that if our skin is dark or our hips are wide, if we don’t experience love in a particular way, if we speak another language or come from another country, then we don’t belong. That is, until someone dares to start telling that story differently.”

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Daring Greatly

I love Brené Brown and have read a number of her books, which you can find on my book listDaring Greatly is supposed to be one of her best books and it’s been on my list for a while. Her research is around shame and vulnerability and how they invade every area of our lives – work, family, social life. The greatest thing she does is use this research to make concepts and ideas applicable to anyone’s life. And she doesn’t pretend to be perfect or to have all the answers.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

I can tell you, from personal experience, that being vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do but can have the greatest rewards. Obviously you are not going to be completely open and vulnerable with every single person in your life, but when I am completely vulnerable with those closest to me, the relationship flourishes. I went through college with only a couple friends knowing that I went for infusions at the hospital every 1-2 weeks to treat a chronic blood disorder. To me, this difference was a negative thing and one that would make me weird. But years later, when I opened up about that aspect of my life publicly, the response was overwhelmingly positive. And thinking back, I was silly to think it would be otherwise.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a quick read. I will say that Brown can be a little repetitive, and the section on parenting doesn’t apply to my, but I still skimmed through it. Great read for anyone who is in relationships with others – friends, family, romantic, whatever!

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How We Do Harm

This book was required for class (my last class!!), but it was an interesting and timely read. Although it was published in 2012, it is still relevant with how healthcare functions in America today. How We Do Harm by Otis Webb Brawley, MD is an insider look at various aspects of healthcare from a doctor’s perspective. Brawley is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society and spent years working at Emory and Grady Memorial Hospital here in Atlanta. He goes through various case studies and examples of how the healthcare system fails patients in all aspects – medically, in research, financially, and through insurance. And unfortunately not much has changed since he wrote this book. It was eye opening. Anyone who has to see a doctor, especially for something serious, likes to think that doctor is giving good advice that will benefit you best as a patient, but Brawley shows that is not always the case. Luckily, looking back, my many doctors have always ranked on the “good guy” side, but it would be easy to not realize that you are being given bad advice, or worse, actual treatment. And that’s scary.

I highly recommend this book. I did skim through a lot of the specific medical talk, but you can do that and still get the bigger picture. We all have some claim in the healthcare system – you have insurance, you see a doctor occasionally, or you need regular treatment from a physician. And we can all learn something from this book to make us better consumers of the medical practice.

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Killing Jesus

I realize I’m way behind the times on reading the Bill O’Reilly books and they have been on my list for a while. I snagged a few from the boxes of books my mom handed off to sell/donate and decided to start with Killing Jesus. I really had no idea what to expect but it was fascinating. It focuses on the historical facts surrounding the life of Jesus. If you dislike historical books, movies, etc. you may not like this book.

Every detail even remotely related to the life and death of Jesus is included in this account. The lives of rulers at the time and the times before and after Jesus’ life on Earth are discussed. Jewish traditions and ways of life at the time are explained. This is not the Biblical account of Jesus’s life but the historical one. And I cannot imagine this was an easy one to research and write given the known conflicting accounts of events. The timeline was a little hard to follow sometimes, but I was very impressed with the details and really enjoyed this book.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Amy Schumer is not my absolute favorite comedian/actress. She is funny, but is a little crude/raunchy for my taste, so I can only take her in small amounts. But when I saw she had written a book, I immediately got on the wait list at the library and got it about a week after it was released. A few of my favorite books have been female comedian autobiographies, so I imagined it would be good. And I thought the title was hilarious.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo was everything you would expect from Amy Schumer. It was blunt, raunchy at times, and no detail was spared. But it was also everything you would not expect (or at least I didn’t). She discusses real issues – equal treatment of women, men’s views of women, relationships, and gun violence. She shares very personal stories related to all of these issues and doesn’t spare details about how she feels. Amy Schumer did not have a cushy life that led to an easy rise to the top. She battled and worked hard for the fame she has today, which makes her much more relatable than the person she paints at the stand-up mic. And yes, Trainwreck is loosely based on her life, so some of the stories sound familiar as you read (if you saw the movie). But again, there is a lot more to her life than what typically comes across to the public.

I definitely recommend this book to women, and it’s even more fun to read in public and see people react out of the corner of your eye (see covers below – I ride the train every day).


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Bossypants

Only one book left to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Ok, so I didn’t set a very good challenge. Better planning next year.

My friend left me a box of books when she moved  about a month ago and I needed a light, fun summer read. I finished Bossypants by Tiny Fey in 5 days. Very quick read but also very entertaining. It’s similar to other celebrity autobiographies I have read (Mindy Kaling, Rob Lowe), consisting mostly of personal stories about the business and other random topics. Obviously Tina Fey’s stories are funny and her ‘opinions’ about topics are dripping with sarcasm and hyperbole. Which is exactly what I was expecting. I think my favorite was her recounting the experience of playing Sarah Palin on SNL, which I didn’t realize was after she had left the show to do 30 Rock.

Very entertaining. 5 stars. Check it out!

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