Update/One Month Left!!!

I know I’m cutting it close guys, but don’t worry.  I have 11 books left!   True I’ve never read that many books in a month but it doesn’t mean I can’t!  I have quite a few I’m halfway through and a couple short ones that should help me along.  I can’t believe I made it this far!  Almost 30 books!  Last year, I only read 25! This, by the way, does not count all the books I had to devour for my thesis earlier this year.  I’m not sure I would count those. lol

So here’s what I’ve been reading as of late:

The Lake House by Kate Morton:  If you haven’t read my review of this title click here.  Needless to say, it is well worth your time.  I am referring to both the book and the review, of course. 😉


Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island: is a beautiful conclusion to a timeless love story that has been dear to my heart since childhood.  I watched the movies over and over with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie.  I loved how Gilbert just kept giving to Anne even when she gave little in return.  Deep down they both knew she cared more than she liked to admit.  I’m not this kind of girl.  I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve.  However, I can understand Anne’s fear of change.  It’s scary.  Even when it’s the good kind of change, you can never get back what you had before.

I didn’t care for the third movie since it was one of those “It’s Gonna Suck Until the VERY End” kind of movies.  Which is why I might stop here with the Anne of Green Gables series.  I’m probably kidding myself, but I like the idea of leaving the two of them on the bridge, together, promising forever to each other.  I guess I don’t care for change that much either.  *Commence balling hysterically*  Yeah, you could say I like Anne of the Island.  If you loved the movies, or you’ve always just wanted to try reading the story of this strange little red-haired orphan with a sensitivity to how her name is spelled, you should dive in with both feet.  Favorite quote:  I have a couple 😉

Anne: “I wouldn’t want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I’d like it if he could be wicked and wouldn’t.”

Gilbert: “I have a dream,” he said slowly. “I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends — and you!”

(Here comes the moment!) “But I’ll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne,” said Gilbert sadly. “It will be three years before I’ll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls.”

Anne laughed.

“I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU. You see I’m quite as shameless as Phil about it. Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more `scope for imagination’ without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn’t matter. We’ll just be happy, waiting and working for each other — and dreaming. Oh, dreams will be very sweet now.”


discipline

Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink:  This book was geared more towards men.  It was, after all, written by an ex-navy seal.  However,  I found it very motivating and filled with a basic common sense you don’t often find.  He had a no excuses policy as expected from a military man.  However, he also gave you specific tools to fight the mental battle you have with yourself when you are trying to avoid a task.

He taught how to break everything down to one small task at a time.  I find when I am overwhelmed and feeling inadequate this does help me to simply continue moving forward.  It is counted as progress when you simply do not stop.  This is by far some of the best advice I’ve ever received.  (Thanks, mom!)

Jocko tells you to take control of your life by taking ownership of it.  It’s yours!  See what I mean…common sense.  Instead of being afraid of the challenges before us we should be terrified of sitting on the sidelines.  This is our life, our game, let’s play!  One time I asked my Dad if he would teach me some basic self-defense.  His first lesson surprised me.  How to take a hit.  I was confused.  Um, isn’t the point of defending yourself to avoid getting hurt?  My dad taught me otherwise.  He said success depends on how many times you can get hit, experience a setback and keep getting up.  I feel like I need to watch Rocky now.  lol

Fav quote: “Do not reason with your weakness.  You cannot.”


sourdough

Sourdough: Or Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market by Robin Sloan

I finished this book in about two days.  My first experience with the author Robin Sloan was his amazing Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore.  I think I have a short glowing review on Goodreads, here.  Needless to say, I’ve been dying to read something else from this author.  Unlike the main character in MP24HB, this one is female.  Which I didn’t realize for some odd reason until I was about a third into the book.  Don’t ask me why.  *shrug*  I was ecstatic to realize I had been reading the main character’s name Lois as Luis.  LOL

Anyway, this book has the same fascinating feel of MP24HB.  It’s witty and entertaining and I LOVE Sloan’s writing style.  Take a look at some of these quotes:

  • For all the Harry Potter fans: “Here’s a thing I believe about people my age: we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted.”

This is just plain witty.  It’s funny cause it’s true 😉

In describing a character (Chaiman) Sloan characterized him like this:

  • “Chaiman, with the sweet face and the earbuds never not leaking dance music, rode the motorcycle and delivered the food.”

He could have just said he’s always listening to music but no.  He makes it sound like he is a music making being that oozes sound wherever he goes!  Robin Sloan really gets my creative yet quirky writing skills up to par!  This one got five stars!

It’s basically the story of this girl named Lois.  She’s a young, successful, yet unhappy software engineer.  Sloan has a fascination for computers and AI, so it tends to show up in his writing in fun and irresistible ways.  As Lois tries to find a way to calm the ulcers forming in her stomach from working crazy, inhumane hours, she happens upon a takeout menu of a soup and sandwich shop with no address.  She falls in love with the spicy soup that burns her throat and surprisingly soothes her stomach.  However, just as she has found the secret to a happy digestive track, her saviors have to close down their establishment.  Yet, before they go, they have a gift for their “number one eater” (that’s what they call her).  They give her a starter to their signature sourdough bread.  Lois is surprised, sad, and confused.  She’s even more confused when the starter she barely knows how to maintain starts to manifest a mind of its own…

Yeah, see if you can put that sh*t down!  LOL


stephen

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King:  I really don’t have the room or time to cover this title appropriately.  This book taught me so much about writing.  I think I’m going to make it an annual read, which is something I’ve never done before!  The funny thing is (confession time) I’ve never read a Stephen King novel.  *gasps*  Truth is, I don’t ever intend to read a King novel.  I’m not a horror person.  It just doesn’t tickle my fancy.  King taught me with reading and writing to not ignore that voice that tells you what’s true.  There’s that little voice that tells you how you really feel about something, good, bad, or ugly.  It’s funny how you can learn so much from a writer that you would never read.  I’ll give you a little more incite to all I learned (and I learned a lot) next time!

-Sarah

Reading Funk/How Do I Get Out!

What do you do when you lose your motivation to read?

It can happen to anyone. You can’t really find anything that sparks your interest…no book covers are catching your eye in the stores. You start half a dozen books only to quit a few chapters into the story.

It’s a listless existence when you lose your bookworm bug 😔 I’ve found myself in such a funk lately and I have a few solutions that are helping me!

1. Read from an author you LOVE!!

Go back to a feel good writer that inspired you and made you want to write something amazing yourself. You know what author I’m talking about. It’s the one that made you stay up for hours turning pages because putting the book down felt wrong or even sacrilegious! I decided to read the third book in the Anne of Green Gables series. *Sigh* L.M. Montgomery is a genius.

Note: A good book cover never hurts when you find yourself in a funk 😉 Don’t believe what they say, a good bookworm always judges a book by its cover 🙊 Check out these AMAZING Anne of Green Gables covers by Jacqui Oakley!

2. Read a feel good story

In general, find something sweet. An easy feel good read that is consumed much like a chick-flick or an episode of Friends on Netflix. It helps if the reviews say it’s funny too 😂. Laughter always makes for a quick read! Couple of options here:

3. Read short books!

It’s not rocket science, but it works. Read a book that’s only 150-200 pages long. You’ll feel like your a speed reader, if only for a moment 😉

All these books are under 230 pages and they definitely helped get the ball rolling!

4. Read on Audible!

I can’t say enough good things about Audible!! I have read so much more with Audible than I would ever be able to with physical books or e-books. Some say it’s cheating, like it’s not real reading. However, I would argue that listening to an entire plot, keeping up with complex characters, and holding focus is much harder than it appears. 😉 Some studies show it’s good for you to alternate between different kinds of reading. My favorite way to read is to have the physical and audio version and use both simultaneously! It can be expensive but you can always get the book from the library like me! And with Audible, audiobooks aren’t expensive at all!

My favorite audiobooks of all time:

I hope these tips and tricks helped you get out of your reading funk! Do you have any suggestions or ideas to break the stop-start-stop reading cycle? Let me know in the comments! Happy reading! 📖

-Sarah

The Great Gatsby/Unique Take/Classic

TGGWhat makes a book get to the renowned section dubbed “The Classics?”  What makes it classic?  How many people have read it?  How many people liked it?  How many people hated it?  Or is it all a game of chance?  Is there a formula to what makes a book a classic?

These questions may be too complicated to answer in one blog post, and I don’t really think I’m looking for an answer.  I’m one of those people who judge a movie like this:

Critics love it — I’m going to hate it.

Critics hate it — It’s going to be my new favorite movie!

I have never held much stock in Tony or Emmy awards since they don’t go to the person or movie the people I would’ve picked.  I appreciate the People’s Choice Awards for this very reason.  So in spite of my doubts, I decided to read a classic recently.

The Great Gatsby

I’ve never seen the movie, only snippets here and there.  Nothing much is given away there, and the movie can be SO much different than the book.  (We nerds know that REALLY well! lol)

Therefore, I dove in with very little expectations except for the Taylor Swift song line, “Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year.”  I had images of gold and crystal, fine china and gorgeous gowns, excess beyond wildest dreams and a beautiful dream of a novel to go with it.  Ok….maybe I had a few expectations, lol.

You all know the drill:

*****SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT*****

As I read the story, I was drawn in by the character of Nick.  Fitzgerald had this beautiful way of creating this observed world through our narrator.  It was rather ordinary scenes he portrayed in a dazzling kind of way.  However, the other characters turned me off from the beginning.  Daisy, the elusive love in the story of The Great Gatsby, was nothing like I thought she’d be.  I found her flighty, whiny, and very eager to give excuses for her bully of a husband.  Gatsby I decided was even less interesting.  He merely puts on displays to appear in a certain way to make up for the past in his head.  You rarely ever glimpse an authentic moment within these two characters.  They simply are infatuated with one another.  Not in love.  That is something very different.

I know I’m probably stepping on a few sacred cows here, but this is for all those who don’t like “classics.”  Just because a title has been called “classic” does not mean everyone will love it.  Nor does it mean that it is an amazing book.  Reading is relative, like everything else in life.  Your favorite book is your favorite for your reasons.  And mine is my favorite for my reasons.  It comes from our experiences, our backgrounds, our values.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

In my personal opinion, the ending of TGG can be read in two ways.  Comment if you have any others!

  1. These two were star-crossed lovers who passed in the night and never had the chance to live together in the true love they shared.     OR………
  2. They were two idiots who got what they deserved.

I know that seems harsh but I honestly think this plot leaves a lot to be desired.

I’ve made mistakes in life.  A lot of stupid mistakes.  I’ve mistaken infatuation for love, and want for need, and good for GOD AWFUL!  I’ve ignored my gut instincts.  I’ve regretted ignoring my gut instincts.  Just like the characters in this book, I am imperfect.

Maybe that’s what makes this book a classic.  Not that it is happy or has good closure, or leaves us uplifted, but it instead makes us ask the hard questions in life.  It makes us second guess whether or not we truly listen to that little voice that tells us who we truly are.

I won’t give it that many stars (because let’s face it, I’m a need-a-prince-on-a-white-horse kind of gal! lol) but I will give Fitzgerald this: he made me think.

-Sarah

It’s Official/I’m a Writer/EEEEP!

So I have some pretty exciting news for you guys!Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.57.18 PM

I’ve sold my first article!  I know right!

If you go to the November issue of the Fort Worth Magazine

Then go to page 10.  You’ll find a mini bio (Read it here) on me as well as a short interview as the guest writer for the November issue!

I keep pinching myself, but it is real!  I’m a professional writer 🙈

That’s my picture right there at the top of page 10! 😳

bio clipThen if you go to page 18 you’ll find an article titled “Trinity Valley’s First African-American QB Talks Breaking Barriers”

Go here if you’d like to read it!

The process was so exciting!  I called ahead and arranged to meet the coach and Kingsley, the young quarterback the article was to center around.

They were very kind and obliging throughout the interview.  You could really tell this coach cared about his students.

 

I enjoyed learning more about the team aspect of football since I’ve never played sports.  This young man was so talented and humble.  The coach was so proud.

Did they change my article some, of course!  Does it matter to me, not one little bit!  (ok, maybe for like two seconds) . But this is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me!  The best part is, this is just the beginning!

If you’d like to read the original article I wrote, just keep scrolling!

Hugs!

-Sarah

Kingsley Ehiemua

Kingsley Ehiemua: King on the Field, Leader at Heart

By Sarah January

The senior quarterback at Trinity Valley School (TVS) in Fort Worth Texas, is anything but ordinary. Kingsley Ehiemua is a towering boy of six foot, four inches, with broad shoulders, a bright smile and an eye for fashionable footwear. He is a true southern seventeen-year-old who says “Yes, Sir” and “No ma’am” when asked a question, and oozes character with every word from his mouth. Unlike other students who move to TVS, Ehiemua transferred later than most. Students who transfer to TVS usually switch over around 5th or 6th grade. However, Ehiemua made this strategic move during his sophomore year.

The football field is a home away from home for Ehiemua. He began playing quarterback when he was only four years old. Football stayed with him all the way to high school. After spending his freshman year at two different schools, Ehiemua made the calculated decision to transfer to TVS. Isaiah Jackson, current running back for TVS, told his friend, Ehiemua, about TVS. Trinity Valley is known as a college-prep school, and Ehiemua’s mom was very interested to see how he would flourish in such an environment. They agreed TVS would be a place where he could finish strong.

Head Football Coach, Aaron Mattox, stated his goal for each student was for them to feel included. “I’d hate for someone to come to Trinity Valley and not feel the family atmosphere we provide.” he said. The transition from public to private school proved to be an adjustment for Ehiemua. However, when it came to the football team, everything just clicked. Last year,

Ehiemua led and encouraged his team all the way to the state title. It is clear to see, Ehiemua has found a home at Trinity Valley School.

An interesting fact about Ehiemua: he is the first African American starting quarterback at TVS. Ehiemua admitted he didn’t even know this until someone told him. The question is whether or not this fact about Ehiemua accurately represents TVS. Coach Mattox and Ehiemua say no. Coach Mattox stated, “It just so happens, he is the first one.” Here’s what Ehiemua had to say: “When people say ‘The First African American Quarterback,’ I take it as a blessing…It really makes me play no different. I try to stay grounded and I look at myself just like everybody else. Everybody’s equal. It [TVS] is a very diverse environment. You name it, we got it!” It is obvious, TVS has a good reputation as a diverse and inclusive environment that accepts all races, colors, and creeds. With determination in his eyes, Ehiemua had some advice for other African American students looking to break barriers: “Hard work has no color to it. If you work hard and you do the right thing, anything is possible.”

When it comes to the rest of his life, Ehiemua is just like any other kid. To de-stress, he likes to write. “I write for fun. Anything that comes to mind, really. I write about my day. It’s a way to get the stress…off of you.” He sets goals for himself. Ehiemua wants to win back-to-back state titles with his team. When he’s working out: do one more set. When he’s reading: read one more chapter. This is the motto his coaches taught him, “The goal is one more.” His hero is his grandfather, who is a pharmacist and according to Ehiemua “He never takes off work.” His grandfather owns his own pharmacy and he teaches free classes for underprivileged students. What are Ehiemua’s future dreams you might ask? If you’re thinking of NFL drafts and brand endorsements, you’d be wrong. Ehiemua wants to be a physician’s assistant. He

wants to help people…just like he does on the field…just like his grandfather does in the classroom.

Some might look at Ehiemua and see the first African American quarterback at TVS. To his team members, his coaches, and his family, he’s Kingsley, their brother, leader, and teammate. Ehiemua would like to encourage Fort Worth as well. The next time you want to give up, remember: “The goal is one more.”