Recent Posts

the cover of the book A Field Guide to Grad School by Jessica McCrory Calarco

Book Review: A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum by Jessica McCrory Calarco

To succeed as a grad student, you need to know lots of stuff that isn't explicitly taught. This stuff is 'the hidden curriculum'—and it's all explained in this book.
the cover of the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott featuring pictures of birds in the corners

Book Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Raw and honest, this book is packed with useful advice about writing and humorous commentary on the writer's life. Lamott understands the depths writers can get into; she has sympathy for imposter syndrome, hating and loving feedback, and more.
tags: books writing
the cover of the book Arbitrary Lines by M. Nolan Gray

Book Review: Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It by M. Nolan Gray

You might expect zoning to be a boring topic, but M Nolan Gray makes a compelling case for why you ought to care about zoning, explaining what it is, where it came from—and why we should abolish it.
the cover of the book Is Graduate School Really for You? by Amanda I. Seligman, featuring a road splitting left and right with the title in a big yellow street sign above, and a person looking out of a stopped red car on the right road

Book Review: Is Graduate School Really for You? The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph.D. by Amanda I. Seligman

A practical, informative question-and-answer book about the culture, expectations, and experiences of graduate school.
the cover of the book A PhD Is Not Enough! A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman

Book Review: A PhD Is Not Enough! A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman

While this book is a fast, easy read with straightforward advice, it also suffers a lack of depth and a datedness that diminish its helpfulness.
book cover of A Little Way of Homeschooling by Suzie Andres featuring a picture of Saint Térèse

Book Review: A Little Way of Homeschooling: 13 Families Discover Catholic Unschooling by Suzie Andres

An inspiring book of essays by homeschooling/unschooling mothers about their philosophies, approaches, and journeys, with an emphasis on natural learning and relationships, family, and faith.
a fancy pen resting on a lined spiral bound notebook

#PhDone: Book Update 2 (A Complete Manuscript!)

I've finished the first draft of my book on thriving in grad school while staying healthy and happy! Read about my writing process and the next steps: Feedback, reviews, and revisions.
book cover of Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Book Review: Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

A wise, tranquil book that will appeal to Christians and non-believers alike, with solid advice on managing expectations, dealing with schedules, and reflecting on the goals of education.
book cover of Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff

Book Review: Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans by Michaeleen Doucleff

How can we better help children develop helpfulness, responsibility, confidence, independence, and emotional control?
book cover of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey in serif font on a plain background with a snail sitting atop the word 'wild' and peering down inquisitively

Book Review: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

A quiet, reflective book that is part illness memoir, part nature nonfiction, and part friendship story. With discussion questions for book clubs!
tags: nature books
book cover of This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick featuring yellow and white text on a red background with line drawings of houses in the between

Book Review: This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

How many times have you moved? Do you wish you had deeper roots? In this book, Warnick explains that if you want to love your town, act like someone who loves your town. See my book club questions!
book cover of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Book Review: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

What's the key to being original, creative, and innovative? Why do minority viewpoints improve a company? How can we raise more original kids? All this and more in this book!
notebook laying open in the grass with a pen above it

Why Write a Book? How Do You Meet Deadlines? And Other Answers

When is the right time to write a book? Why a book and not something else? How do you manage caregiving and writing? How do you stay motivated? And other answers!
book cover of Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide by Christoper Caterine

Book Review: Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide by Christoper Caterine

As billed, practical advice for both grad students and faculty on transitioning from academia to the wide world beyond—though it does leave a few things to be desired.
book cover of So what Are You Going to Do with That? by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

Book Review: "So what Are You Going to Do with That?" Finding Careers Outside Academia by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

A helpful book for anyone in the academy—grad student or faculty—who wants out!
book cover of Drive by Daniel Pink

Book Review: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Without external rewards and punishments, people wouldn't do much. Or would they? People are actually driven toward autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
a stack of books about graduate school

#PhDone: Progress Report

I'm writing a book about thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Curious about my progress? Here's where I'm at this month.
the cover of the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Book Review: Designing Your Life: How To Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

How you can use a designer mindset and iterative improvement to build your way forward to a coherent, satisfying life.
the cover of the book Raising Freethinkers by McGowan, Matsumura, Metskas, and Devor showing a child looking through a magnifying glass

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura, Amanda Metskas, and Jan Devor

A great conversation starter, if heavy handed on the nonreligion. See my book club questions!
the cover of Ray Bradbury's book Zen in the Art of Writing

Book review: Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury

This essay collection includes tips on generating ideas, composing stories, the nature of writing work, and the importance of practice. Do you know how many words a day Bradbury wrote?
cover of the book The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feller showing the title in red text on a white silhouette of a house, with a blue background

Book Review: The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

We're accustomed to working on our jobs, our marriages, and so much else. What about our families? This book explains how families can be happier, healthier, and flourish together.
silhouette of a person with arms outstretched on wintery day, in front of bare-limbed trees at sunset

Book Deal Announcement: #PhDone

I'm writing a book! Specifically, a pragmatic, up-to-date guide to thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Here's the scoop.
the cover of the book The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

Book review: The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Children More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

Why responsibility and a sense of control are critical for children.
the cover of the book How Children Succeed by Paul Tough featuring the title over a line of colored pencils in the background

Book review: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Why do some people succeed and others fail? This book argues that it's not just how you're born. Instead, the key is noncognitive skills—and the good news is, you can practice and improve them.

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About

We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.


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Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.