Books I’ve read, reviewed & recommend

This is a selection of books I’ve reviewed at, it is by no means an extensive list of all the books I’ve read/reviewed, only the ones I recommend to friends, fellow former-CS, and ones that are allowed to take up prime bookshelf space.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of

secular parenting

Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion by Dale McGowan

Parenting Beyond Belief is divided into nine chapters, each contains several essays on various topics, with notable contributors including Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins.  There is also a forward, preface, glossary, a list of general additional resources, and biographies of the contributors. There are also more topical resource lists at the end of every chapter. These are incredibly helpful if you’re trying to find books on a more specific topic — holidays, death, science, etc. I would buy it again, and highly recommend it to friends seeking non-religious alternatives.

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan and others

Raising Freethinkers is the follow up book to Parenting Beyond Belief, it is the “practical guide” and a gimmicky green faux-sticker boasts that it includes “more than 100 activities” (aka ways to encourage thought). It also includes pages of resources at the end of each chapter, with extensive lists and summaries of books, movies, websites, blogs, and organizations offering insight, advice, guidance, facts, and support. These alone make it worth the shelf-space.

ATHEISM / Philosophy / Religion

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by of Daniel C. Dennett

Dennet poses thought provoking questions to the reader and provides brief summaries of what is to come in upcoming chapters. As far as I can tell, Dennett is not arguing that religion is good or bad, he is arguing that region should be studied, questioned and examined. Religions make extraordinary claims, that should be looked at critically, tested, and studied. I happen to agree!

The Belief Book by David G. McAfee and Chuck Harrison

The Belief Book is a slim, 74 page paperback, aimed at “readers and thinkers of all ages, including kids and kids at heart.” The nine chapters (including introduction and conclusion) map out the path questions take to becoming religions. The Belief Book is a quick, fun, simple read, that touches on really big ideas.

In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Barry Moser

As part of my goals to introduce my children to other religious and mythological traditions in a non-indoctrional way came across In the Beginning. So far I have found it to be a wonderful resource to explore a wide range of creation stories. I highly recommend it for children and grownups of all ages who are curious about other culture’s creation stories, and in learning how our ancestors explored the answers to life’s big questions.

Christian Science

God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church by Caroline Fraser

If you are only going to read one book about Christian Science, read God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church.  GPC benefits, not only from hindsight, but also from a vast array of resources not available to turn-of-the last century biographers, as a result, it is quite dense, fully footnoted, and I found some sections (the child cases) very difficult to read.

Each Mind a Kingdom: American Women, Sexual Purity, and the New Thought Movement, 1875-1920 by Beryl Satter

Each Mind a Kingdom, firmly places Ms. Eddy in the historical context of the New Thought movement, as an undeniable student of Quimby, and inspiration for several prominent New Thought leaders (aka renegade students), one of whom, Emma Curtis Hopkins, went on to inspire a much larger group of prominent individuals in the New Thought movement.

fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science by Lucia Greenhouse

fathermothergod touches on some of the elephants in the Christian Scientists living room: secrecy surrounding illness, the idea that Christian Science must be protected (from what, I’m still not sure), the tremendously large abstract concepts that young children are expected to understand and demonstrate. Mortal mind, error, protective work. Having been raised in Christian Science, I found myself nodding knowingly when Greenhouse’s parents espouse these beliefs, I find this story quite relatable, and I feel the deepest sympathy for her non-Christian Science family members.

OTher excellent Resource Lists