NEW NON-FICTION

Although this book was published in 1984, it deals with a very current issue– CLUTTER!


Dan Aslett has written a hilarious self-help book on decluttering. Clutter’s Last Stand is at turns sympathetic, sarcastic, and sadistic. Aslett takes no “back talk” when he tells the reader to get rid of something and has no sentimentality towards personal treasures. The cartoon illusions are excellent and tend to take the “sting” out of giving up your “stuff.” Judith Holmes Clarke’s cartoonish characters shout out this message, “It’s time to de-junk your life!”

The author gives tips on decluttering your home, your job, your mind, and your keepsakes. At the beginning is a Junkee Entrance Exam. My score said, “100-150 pts. The End is Near…You’re in trouble. Read Clutter’s Last Stand three times, gird up your loins and start de-junking ruthlessly.”

This is the ultimate self-improvement book. “This book will make you happier, freer, neater, richer, and smarter…it will solve more home, family, marriage, career, and economic problems than any book you’ve read.” I’m not so sure about the author’s claim here, but the book comes close!

This meme, hosted by Reading is My Superpower, encourages the blogger to post the first line of a book he/she is currently reading. This first liner is from a book I finished today.

A Christian look at setting your home as a place of comfort and hospitality to your family and to others.

” The adventure started on a whim. With a suitcase in my hand, a laptop case and tote bag on my shoulder, and a luggage cart dragging behind me, I stumbled against the door of 209 and pushed it open with my shoulder.”

…And so the adventure of writing this book began for Sally and Sarah Clarkson, mother and daughter who always wanted to write a book together. Ms. Clarkson always believed home should be “a haven of rest and joy that will encourage everyone who enters it.” This 2016 publication contains anecdotes from a real family, a Christian family, the Clarksons. It contains wise advice on creating special memories for one’s children and establishing family traditions , as well as suggestions for seasonal celebrations (my favorites were for fall, possibly because it is my favorite season). Although the Clarkson family moved fairly frequently, they took their sense of “home” with them, relocating their anchor each time. I took notes, and even though my “home” consists of one person now, I plan to celebrate occasions and seasons to ensure happiness and gratitude for the blessings I have been given. The ideas in this book will help me do that.

HOME

Thanks for the image to Carla of “Carla Loves To Read”. Check out her great book reviews and her delightful sign offs on each post.

This meme started by The Purple Booker asks the reader to open a current read at random and copy a couple of sentences that might “tease” other readers to choose the book to read themselves.

My Tuesday Teaser for 5/17/22 is

I thought I had read this book, but upon examining it, I was wrong and was captivated by its profoundness.

My attention was already captured by the introduction, and the first chapter, “Fu Manchu’s Goatee,” only solidified my curiosity about this man who was about to interview one of the wisest men on earth. Chapter Two, “The Monks on the Parapet ,” begins like this:

“The Dalai Lama’s meditation room was bathed in soft, early-morning light. Meticulously crafted wooden cabinets lined the walls, within them. I could see numerous bronze statues and myriad religious artifacts… The place was serenely gorgeous, its elegance understated.”

For a man who spends hours in mediation daily, this space seems like the perfect setting in which to receive sage advice and counsel.

I am looking forward to “getting into” this book.

just thinking about a sunrise or sunset oner the water like this photo taken used in an essay by one of my students makes me believe in the power of meditation. (Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh on Pexels.com)

Thanks, Evin for the sign off.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS ON SATURDAY NIGHT

This book targets teens, especially girls, who appreciate the women who came before them.

Yes, it’s been one of those days; I am way behind in paper grading, housework, and thank you notes. Writing this review of a book intended for older children and teens, is a bright spot in a long, tiring day.

I love the title as much as I love stories of gutsy women!

This book was sent to me by the author upon the recommendation of another local blogging friend. I am grateful to the author and my friend both for putting such a lovely book in my hands. In the book, the author presents short “pieces” on brave, ground-breaking women each day. If you enjoy “_____-a-day” calendars, journals, etc, this book is for you. On Mondays we meet activist and rebelling women who were brave enough to “step up to the plate” and change things. Tuesdays are reserved for mini-biographies of educators and “thinkers,” who just happened to be women. Scientists’ and Inventors’ accomplishments grace Wednesdays’ offerings, and Thursday is filled with the treasures of authors and poets. Leaders are featured on Fridays, and Roenfanz brings to our attention some of the lesser known and fascinating ones. Artists and Musicians take a bow on Saturdays, and ancient and revered “Goddesses” make an appearance to round out the week on Sundays.

Some of my favorite heroes– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, whose book captured my fancy and interest; Christina Rossetti, one of my favorite poets; Dorothy Parker, the humorist and scathing essayist who was the queen of journalism and sarcastic poetry in the 40s –are a few who caught my eye immediately as I skimmed the tile of contents, and the author did not fail to capture the “essence” and accomplishments of the women the author had chosen to include in her book.

It seems to me Roenfanz is a gutsy woman herself for attempting such a huge task and she should be applauded for the lovely compendium of women’s lives in a lovely, lovely book. I highly recommend it!

DEWEY

It’s the story of a cat.

It’s the story of a town–a small town.

It’s the story of a librarian who loves books and cats.

AND, IT’S TRUE!

I began this book knowing it was going to have a “sad” ending, but I was surprised and inspired by the ending as well.

Vicky Myron, with assistance from Bret Witter, subtitled her book: “A Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.” Indeed, “touched the world” is no exaggeration. The cover describes it as a” universal tale of love, hope, and friendship.”

Abandoned in the local book drop, a three-week old kitten worked his way into the hearts and lives of Library Director Vicki Myron and an entire town. As the story unfolds, the reader follows Dewey (named after the Dewey Decimal System) from a straggly, half-frozen, pitiful castoff to an international celebrity. One of the best parts of the book is the visit of Japanese filmmakers, who make a documentary about Dewey, endearing him to people worldwide. Not only is the story and its anecdotes of those who met Dewey inspirational, but it is also engaging. Dewey instinctively seemed to know the needs of each library patron who met him, providing comfort and love to all. Filled with humor and charm, this true story was a darned good read!

MY BOYS AND GIRLS ARE IN THERE by Ron Rozelle: A Review

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

Reader,

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.

BOOKS FROM THE BACKLOG

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.

BIG MAGIC: A Review

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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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.