Ron Rozelle is a local Texas writer who describes the 1937 New London explosion in New London, Texas. Our Third Tuesday book club had read Suzanne Morris’s Aftermath, which dealt with the on-going effects of the horrendous tragedy afterwards. (For a review use the search box). Rozelle’s book was mentioned at the time, but I didn’t get around to reading it until this past weekend.

The cover alone speaks of the horror of the explosion.

I had read another book by Rozelle, a memoir of his father and the father’s death, so I knew he was a good writer. He explains why he wrote the book, “I’ve known about the 1937 explosion all my life.” Rozelle lived only 80 miles away, and his father had gone to help find survivors and casualties, and Rozelle tells us what his father saw that night was so horrible, it prevented his father from speaking of it. Rozelle had been told the cause of the explosion was the superintendent of the school or the school board had tapped into free natural gas, which caused a buildup that exploded. He later learned that was not true, and he wished to clear the superintendent’s name.

The narrative opens with anecdotes of kids getting ready for school, parents leaving for work, and goes through the day of those individuals until minutes before the last bell of the school day, when the world “turned upside down.” Rozelle deals with the rescue, then the recovery of bodies and identification of body parts, and finally, the aftermath.

This is non-fiction at its best–carefully researched through interviews and diaries and journals. It is a history that should not be forgotten , and Rozelle has done a beautiful job of seeing that that will not happen.

One more attempt to read more non-fiction in 2021
Thank you, Evin.

Today I finished a book I have been reading all week.
As part of a goal to read seven inspirational books by December 31st 2021, I arrived today at number four, Blue Like Jazz.

Earlier, I read Milller’s Searching for God Knows What (reviewed on PWR) During my last trip to Half Price Books, I found this earlier (2003) publication. Jazz’s subtitle is “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” The title comes from the author watching a street musician playing the sax and coming to the conclusion, “Sometimes you have to watch someone loving something before you could love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” The book is part memoir, part inspiration as Miller recounts his experiences on his spiritual journey watching how some of his friends and acquaintances love Jesus.

Jazz is “for anyone who is still wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant [today].” John Ortberg, another Christian author says, “Miller writes about commitment about God.” Miller states that our Christianity should be like Jazz: “In America, the first generation out of slavery invented jazz music. It comes from the soul, and it is true.” Our love for Christ should be the same. He apologizes for the atrocities done in the name of Christianity and professes to believe in “Christian Spirituality” rather than the organized religion we now call Christianity. There is a big difference, and this short book explains what that is. It is a thought-provoking book that warrants further study.

Thanks, Evin

ONE OF MY 2021 READING GOALS, Read More Non-fiction: An Update

I am doing well in this challenge I presented myself for 2021, and here is a non-fiction book I just finished, Your Turn by Julie Lythcott-Haines.

A must read for all twenty-somethings that this seventy-something learned from as well

This book is a contender for best non-fiction read of 2021. It deals with “the painful adulting struggle.” The author, “the mentor our young people deserve,” reminds me of a cross between Brene Brown and bel hooks as she advises and exlains. This book helps empower and equip young adults for real life. It consists of 459 pages jam-packed with helpful life lessons and anecdotes drawn from real life that teach without preaching.

Speaking of teaching, this book would make a good community college course on “Adulting 101.” It has an index where one can look up a specific topic, turn to that page listed, and receive immediate advice and help. The appendixes at the end are also very relevant. All of the anecdotes are nitty-gritty, down to life situations. Many of the anecdotes are from Lythcott-Haimes’s own life or her family’s life, which demonstrate her vulnerability as she “shares” in order to assist the reader. Your Turn is an outstanding book.

This book is yet another darned HELPFUL read.
Thanks Evin!

A BIT OF NON-FICTION TO BREAK THE PATTERN– THE FIVE CHOICES by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne: A Review


Are you having an energy crisis? I am. That is why I decided to read this book donated to my LFL. It is a 2015 publication, but its tenets are still valuable to managers, bosses, and leaders of all sorts. I found the summaries at the end of sections helpful, and although all of the examples and anecdotes from business were interesting, I must confess, I skipped some of them. A reviewer describes this book as “Time Management for the 21st century.” Overall, it gives the reader advice on the sources of energy: moving, eating, sleeping, relaxing, and connecting. Most of the advice I’d heard before, but it was nice to have it all in one place, and it was a good review. The book’s goals: increasing productivity, helping with making decisions and choices, advising on investing time, [money], attention, and energy, are accomplished by the end of the book.

Choices deals with issues and problems in both the workplace and with individuals and is a must for team leaders and bosses. Energy Management was my favorite part. This section covered power naps, relaxing, taking breaks from the computer, eating the energy providing snacks and meals, etc. I will be able to make a few changes in my lifestyle, and hopefully, gain more energy and conserve it. It is a good source book to refer to as one goes about daily living.


Carole at Random Life in Books created this meme to bring attention to books you want to read or have read that have not received enough exposure.

Today I was thinking about creativity and reading an old handout from many semesters ago that I asked students to respond to entitled, “Can Creativity Be Taught?” I remembered reading back in 2015 Gilbert’s book which explored just that question.


This 2015 self-help book by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, is proof the author has still “got it.” As a matter fact, I liked this non-fiction exploration of “Creative Living Beyond Fear” much more than her earlier bestselling hit. In Big Magic, Gilbert discusses her own creative processes and her life as she expresses the wonder and joy of Creativity. She has written many “pieces” for magazines, novels, and non-fiction books, so she is definitely the one to consult concerning “Creativity.” She insists everyone has the ability to “make something”–create.

In her last section, “In Conclusion” she writes:

“Creativity is sacred and it is not sacred./ What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all./We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits./ We are terrified, and we are brave./Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege./Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us./Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise–you can make anything.”Advertisements

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STARTED IN 2018, FINISHED MAY, 2021, THE BROKEN EARTH SERIES by N.K. JemisonMay 27, 2021In “reviews”

20 IN ’20 UPDATESeptember 4, 2020In “20 in 20 challenge”

2021 NON-FICTION READING CHALLENGEDecember 10, 2020In “new challenge for 2021”

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 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.” View all posts by Rae LongestAuthor Rae LongestPosted on Categories UncategorizedTags bestsellersCreativityPWR recommendationreviewsself-help booksEdit”BIG MAGIC: A Review”

If you have not read this Book from my Backlog, give it a try. I guarantee you’ll learn something.


Thanks to Hoarding Books for creating this fun meme.

My First Line Friday offering comes from Think Again by Adam Grant, a book just out. It deals with “The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.” Skipping the Prologue, which definitely got my attention, the first chapter opens with:

“You probably don’t recognize his name, but Mike Lazaridis has had a defining impact on your life. From an early age, it was clear Mike was something of an electronics wizard.”

I am trying to read more non-fiction in 2021 than I did in 2020, and this is going to be enjoyable reading.

2021 First Non-Fiction Book Finished

Grunge rubber stamp with word Finished inside,vector illustration

As a thirty-something year veteran of the college-level classroom, one would think I didn’t need this book. They would be wrong. Several things, including tips on holding discussions, tips on grading, and relating to students, I found helpful even though this coming semester I will be teaching strictly online. This is a book I will keep, to loan out, and to refer back to when it is possible to return to hybrid or face-to-face classes. I’m glad I read this book, learned from it, and highly recommend it to anyone facing teaching at the college level for the first time.



Friday Firstliners come from the first lines of a book one is reading or is about to read. Mine today comes from Cowgirl Smarts by Ellen Reid Smith.

The first paragraph of the introduction:

“When writing about the Wild West, both historians and Hollywood left out the cowgirl. Many historians would have you believe that pioneering women all stayed home close to their tea sets. (It’s my guess that most sold their tea sets in exchange for a good horse.) Dale Evans was riding to the cafe for sandwiches. You can bet that Dale never asked Roy to fetch some sandwiches. Ha! The truth is, that some women cowboyed on on ranches all over the West during the early 1800s. They took on the same chores as men and when they earned their spurs, they were accepted as cowboy equals.”

This has been an enjoyable read, one I have taken my time with, absorbing the advice and wisdom of strong women.


Tuesday Teaser, hosted by The Purple Booker, asks that the reader choose a random few sentences in a current read to “tease” someone else into reading the book. My Tuesday Teaser for 12/29/2020 comes from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.

“One conclusion was blatantly clear from my happiness research: everyone from contemporary scientists to ancient philosophers agrees that having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness.”

This has been an interesting and enlightening read.


Tuesday Teaser, brought to you by the Purple Booker asks that you grab a book you are reading and copy a few lines in order to “tease” someone else into looking into that book for further reads. Here is my teaser for Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come, a non-fiction look at an introvert exploring extrovert territory, by Jessica Pan.

Summing up the results of her one year experiment, Pan writes, “It was more than I ever could have hoped for when I started. I feel more in control of my life because I can extrovert.” She goes on to describe the many new things she can “handle” which she couldn’t before as a result of saying “yes” to things that were definitely out of her comfort zone before as a dyed-in-the-wool introvert.

This has been the best non-fiction read of 2020 for me. I highly recommend it.