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 1915 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.

BUT IS IT ART? by Cynthia Freeland: A Review

This cover shows the “Art Cow” phenomenon popular in Houston a few years ago. Many of the cows are located in Houston and the surrounding counties still.

I admit it was the cover and the memories of encountering the cows in various places that made me take this small art theory book out of the Little Free Library in my home town. Having audited a course in the history of Art and Graphic design at my university until the pandemic closed the university last semester, I was very interested to see what the author considered was art, and what was not. The book deals with contemporary art and art criticism, and is a very good introduction to art theory. Freeland, who has attachments to Houston, discusses the relationships of art with beauty, culture, money, sex, and new technology. She posits the question of what art is and what it means, a broad topic for a tiny book. She covers basic art theories and discusses why current exhibits and articles are considered art. She discusses definitions of art according to various art movements, including everything from Hume and Kant’s opinion to the opinion of the artist who created The Piss Christ.

There are photographs and musings from the author as she discusses the philosophy of art. Does she answer the question posed in her title? No, instead, she makes a fine argument that what is art is in the eye of the beholder.


shopping I’ve read several non-fiction books this summer, and my favorite so far is Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile. As a fan of novels set in WWII, and a baby born during that war, I’ve always had a fascination with Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt and especially their relationship as heads of nations so dependent on each other. This book was written just for me.

I’ve read other Larson books, Issac’s Storm, The Devil in White City and Dead Wake, but this one not only reads like a novel (as do all Larson’s books), it characterizes the major figures of the war as well as any novelist does. We see the first impressions, the interplay of personality, and the desire to present one’s country in the best light in both Churchill and Roosevelt. Splendid/Vile focuses on the period of the blitz and the stamina and character of the English people. It focuses on Roosevelt’s desire to keep America out of the war but to retain Britain as a “sister nation.” Through this focus it tells an amazing story of politics, war strategy, and change as the war progresses. Sources used (diaries, documents, and once secret intelligence reports, some released fairly recently) and research done are a testament to the author’s desire for detail and correctness.  It is an amazing read, and also amazing is the way Larson is able to pull everything together to offer the reader a “darned good read”[ing] experience.

MASTER OF ONE by Jordan Rayner: A Review

Because I read so many novels, almost to the point of exclusively, about eight years ago, encouraged by Deb Nance (Readerbuzz) in my book club, I made an effort to step away from my comfort zone and read more non-fiction. Rayner’s Master of One published in 2011 fits this desire perfectly. I found it every bit as interesting as any novel I’ve read.

Rayner tells the reader that the quote attributed to Ben Franklin, “Jack of all trades, master of none” is a misquote. It should read, “Jack of all trades, master of one.” The author advises that rather than “making minimal progress in a million different directions, [we should become] competent” at several things, but exceptionally gifted in one. Rayner speaks with authority because he has been an entrepreneur, thought-leader, and a best selling author. He calls us to pursue a single calling, offering the “less but better” theory of accomplishments. He also walked away from an outstanding career to write and promote this book and establish workbooks, training sessions, etc. to reinforce it.  He encourages us to offer “service to God and others” as a major criteria for a successful career. Many anecdotes are given to encourage us to “Find  and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do.” Rayner has done just this. I find this book an excellent guide to help connect your faith to your work.9780525653332