This and That/Here and There

My two weeks off from blogging extended into much longer than two weeks, primarily because I couldn’t remember how to “get back on the pony!”  With the assistance and kindness of my former student/”grandson”, Andrew, I am back.

I have read many books in my “absence”.  For starters, The Art of Grace, by Sarah Kaufman,was an excellent, engaging non-fiction read which kept me wanting to turn the page or start the next chapter throughout.

One of the best reads during my hiatus was In the Shadow of the Banyan a novel by Vaddey Ratner.  It was recommended by a book club friend and was as good as she described. It was horrible and yet beautiful, at the same time,thanks in part to the author’s wonderful writing.  I knew nothing of Cambodia during its civil wars and horror during the years 1975-1979 but had a connection to them in that I was teaching 7th graders who were refugees brought to Alvin by a local church.  Since they spoke no English and I spoke no Cambodian, it made for some interesting “aha-teaching experiences”.  The takeaway of the book, the indomitable human spirit ,was so uplifting that this reader came away moved and encouraged rather than sad and depressed.

Two others out of the dozen or more books that I finished were Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling (“Adventures of an American in Britain”), a NY Times bestseller, and Ann Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread . The former I read along with my brother in Virginia in a two-person book club.  He sent the book,printed in large print (which added to my reading pleasure). Ann Tyler is one of my favorite authors, and I believe I may have read everything she has written. I’ll just comment that she lived up to the high expectations I always have for her novels–a great read . Whenever I read in the newspaper she has a book coming out, I drop everything and read her latest.

So much for my reading here of late. What recommendations do you have to add to my lengthy To-Read-When-I-Can- Work-It-In-List?





Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

5 thoughts on “This and That/Here and There”

  1. Right now I am enjoying “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve made a list of the books you mention here for summer reading pleasure.


    1. I just discovered something! (As you see I am self-taught in this blogger thingy and on the computer as well. Ha Ha). I had read and appreciated your comment but didn’t know I could reply to it. Wow!
      I hope to review a few more books soon (like today, now that you have encouraged me to tell you about books you might also might enjoy. As a “coming soon…” note I am just now finishing the last book in Cronin’s trilogy called “The City of Mirrors” (end of the story begun in Passages and continued in “The Twelve”.The best part is you can “plug in” to the trilogy anywhere along the way. My girlfriend and I bought a pre-publication copy and I am finishing it before her son leaves for summer study in Argentina, when she will read it herself. It is a powerful book, but not for everybody! Cronin’s next step is to teach at Rice and it will be interesting to see what comes out of that. He has two gentle, beautiful books I recommend to everyone I can get to read them, “Mary and O’Neil” and “Summer Guest”. You’d never know this is the same man who has made his name on apocalypse and vampires! Both are good investments of your reading time.


  2. Anne Tyler is a personal favorite of mine. I may have read everything she’s written, too. While a couple of her early novels were a little weak (A Slipping Down Life), I’ve adored several of her books (Accidental Tourist).


    1. I remember reading her all the way back into the 70’s when her Patchwork Planet made me understand the hippie lifestyle/attitude and not be so judgmental and up tight about it. Now at the late age of 71, I would hardly describe myself as a hippie, but the label of “free spirit” might be creeping into the way I “label” myself. Ha ha!

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: