Did I make it?/#40booksin2018

So I’m sure you’re all wondering if I finished my goal of 40 books in 2018. I am happy to report I did meet my goal! … by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. Lol, I finished only five minutes before midnight but I finished nevertheless! Hopefully, in 2019, I will acquire better management skills.

I read a total of 11 books in December! Ahhhh! It was crazy and I’m looking forward to slowing down a little. Here’s the list of what I read to finish out 2018:

Three Days in January by Brett Baier

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin

The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin

Tehanu by Ursula Le Guin

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Which books would you like to see reviews on?

What are your reading goals for 2018?

– 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.”

 

2-month Update/Will I Make It?/New Website

So what do you think!  I hope you like the change.  I think WordPress is going to make a nice new home for “Nerd Named Sarah,” don’t you!?  I’ve added a new feature for the blog as well.  If you click any of the pictures it will take you to Amazon so you can purchase the book!

Ok, so this is more of a 2 months and one week update, but close enough!  I only read four books in the past month, and I’m starting to worry about making it!  I will though!  You can bet on it.

The schedule for the rest of the year is to finish The Great Gatsby, which is such an easy read.  Next, finish four more books during the last week and a half of October (don’t worry, it’s not as crazy as it sounds with all the books I’ve started but have not finished).  Then I only have 6 books a month for November and December. Whew!

Here’s what I read this month:

0125d-no2bbarriersNo Barriers — If you want to know what I think of this masterpiece and you missed last week’s blog post, click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

KalingWhy Not Me? — She’s refreshing in an off-putting way

Though it’s difficult to relate to a famous comedy writer/actress, she had a way of portraying herself if a very ordinary way.  She made silly mistakes when she first came to Hollywood.  She fawned all over the president.  Kevin Hart made her laugh and cute boys made her blush.  She was cute…in a greasy hair, t-shirt and underwear kind of way!  Favorite quote: When you are entitled, you are the most insufferable person ever.  If you are entitled and hardworking, which I am, you are still pretty insufferable, but at least you somewhat earned your entitled behavior. 

 

I Dare YouI Dare You! — If you want to put a pep in your step and read what I thought of this classic, click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the darkThe Dark Between Stars — This author is the most amazing artist.  I have struggled to find poetry I could enjoy, but ever since I read my first Atticus’ poem I have been captivated ever since!  His first book was amazing and his second book just might be even better! There is no way I could only choose one favorite poem, so here are two of my favorites:

 

 

 

“What if she says no?”

asked the boy,

and the old man smiled,

“best not live scared of thorns

or you’ll never find a rose.”  

How beautiful is that!  Wait, here’s another one.

“The doubters

are just dreamers

with broken hearts.”

He can do so much with so few words!

 

That brings the grand total to…….

Pink Heart Light Bulb Anniversary Card

YAYYYYYYYYYY!  That’s 17 books to go.  I’ve started the following:

  1. The Lake House by Kate Morton–Which is crazy fascinating!
  2. These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach–It’s kinda funny so far.
  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

Til next time,

-Sarah

What I’ve Read So Far/One Month Update!

So, you may be wondering how my reading challenge is going (for those of you who don’t know I’m trying to finish 40 books in one year)…drumroll, please…

Can you believe it guys!  Only 21 books to go!  6 books in a month!  If I could do that every month that’s like 72 books in a year!!! I don’t see that happening but a girl can dream can’t she?!

So here is a quick summary of the books I’ve finished in the last month:

(((SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!! BEWARE BEWARE)))

The Tao of Pooh – This book was so simple and beautiful.  It really taught me about the way I look at the world.  How you look at your world, or your problems, or your life, matters…it really does.  Favorite quote: “Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of a child’s mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same because, without it, we will never find our way through the forest.”

 

Winnie the Pooh – I had to read it, after the last book!

 

 

 

 

 

 
Anne of Avonlea #2 – This series is really killing me.  In a good way, with all the feels!  I mean how can you not feel for poor Gilbert who can’t get scared, set-in-her-ways Anne to notice how much he cares.  *sigh*  And I just relate to Anne so much!  I’m Sarah with an H.  With my rosy-apple-like cheeks and the freckles across my nose, I have a soft spot in my heart for this girl!  I wish to be more like her.  To hold myself to a higher standard.  To put others before myself with kindness.  To do my best in the face of adversity and keep my precious imagination to entertain me along the way. 😍  Favorite quote(s): “Gilbert stretched himself out on the ferns beside the Bubble and looked approvingly at Anne.  If Gilbert had been asked to describe his ideal woman the description would have answered point for point to Anne, even to those seven tiny freckles whose obnoxious presence still continued to vex her soul.” (Doesn’t that just make your heart melt!)
Anne speaking: “Now, my name just smacks of bread and butter, patchwork, and chores.”  Diane responds: “Oh, I don’t think so…Anne seems to me real stately and like a queen.  But I’d like Kerrenhappuch if it happened to be your name.  I think people make their names nice or ugly just by what they are themselves.  I can’t bear Josie or Gertie for names now but before I knew the Pye girls I thought them real pretty.”
“That’s a lovely idea, Diana,” said Anne enthusiastically.  “Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful, to begin with…making it stand in people’s thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself. Thank you, Diana.”
The Old Man and the Sea – This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ernest Hemingway.  I was extremely disappointed.  I’ve heard so much fanfare about how great, insightful, and genius, that is Hemingway the author.  I cannot tell you how terrible this book was.  If it had an underlying message or metaphor it was way too hidden and minuscule.  It’s just the story of an older fisherman who fights for days with an 18-foot fish.  Once he finally kills it, he has gone so far out to sea that he gets followed by sharks the whole way home.  By the time he reaches his village, there is nothing left but the bones.  I looked for a moral of strength through difficulty or that age is just a number, but NOPE.  Nothing!  It was so pointless.  I hate to talk about a legend like this but how in the world did this book (the last book he ever published) EVER get a Pulitzer Prize!?

Obviously, I have no favorite quote. 😝

 

Julie and Julia – Well you know how I feel about this treasure 😊 If you haven’t read my blog post yet you can find it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuck Everlasting – This was the most beautiful book I have read in a long, long time.  The idea that you could live forever is a fun thought but this book takes that childish dream and extends it until you see what immortality would really mean.  Winnie is a young 10-year-old girl who feels trapped but once she meets the Tucks she is introduced to a different, messier, complicated world.  She absentmindedly wishes, “It’d be nice…if nothing ever had to die.”  But the Tucks show her that living forever could be just as fatal as death.  Mortality is a gift.  It makes life precious.  Abundance is great but it usually diminishes everything into endless nothingness.

 

Favorite quote (Bear with me for, yet another utterly long quote: “Winnie tried very hard not to think of it, but sometimes, as now, it would be forced upon her.  She raged against it, helpless and insulted, and blurted at last, “I don’t want to die.”

“No,” said Tuck calmly.  “Not now.  Your time’s not now.  But dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born.  You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest.  Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing….You can’t have living without dying.  So you can’t call it living, what we got.  We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”

Every second we have is precious when we view them as such.  Forever only sounds good in theory, but a moment is worth everything when you make it count.

-Sarah

The Book Challenge/My Relationship with Books/The Beginning

     I know, I know…so predictable.  A Book Challenge seems very provincial at best but I’ve never done one before!  So I am pretty excited to start this blog!  Actually what I’m trying to do is create a way to be accountable so that I will finish before the end of the year! lol Because 40 in a year sounds pretty daunting at this point.  I don’t even know if setting the goal of 40 books in a year is all that daring or admirable but it’s more than I’ve ever read in a year before…I think. (I’ve never kept count before. 😂)  I never used to count the number of books I read as a kid, but I know my mom could not buy books fast enough to keep up.

As a kid, I was what I call an author-reader.  (Mostly in middle-school)  I would get stuck on one author and I would read everything that author had written (or pretty close to it) until I had exhausted that author and moved on to another.  I did this through most of the fiction aisle at Mardel.  I never got into the Amish stuff but I will admit to reading the ENTIRE Love Comes Softly series. *hand covers face shamefully* 🙈

My relationship with books has never been the same.  It has always been steady but everchanging.  I’ve always loved to read, but the way I read evolves with time, environment, my interests etc.  When I was in high school I stumbled upon other prairie type authors that had a bit more edge than what you find at the Christian bookstore.  Authors like Jodi Thomas, who made me blush as I read the accounts of innocent prairie girls and gorgeous cowboys. *blushing from sheer embarrassment* 🙈🙊

Then my reading took another turn.  I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree when I realized there were a lot of classics I had never touched (Some of them I still haven’t!).  Like Moby Dick, Northanger Abbey, Jane Eyre, War and Peace, Vanity Fair, Anne of Green Gables, Sherlock Holmes, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc. etc.

 

So here are the books I’ve read so far in 2018:

1. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

by David McCullough

2. The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

3. The American Spirit: Who We Are and 

   What We Stand For by David McCullough

4. Circe by Madeline Miller

5. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

6. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

7. A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

8. Villette by Charlotte Bronte

9. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

10. The Kiss by Danielle Steel

11. Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange

12. Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

13. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

I know, I know that isn’t a lot since we are already in August.  But I have the terrible habit of starting several books and not finishing them, so that might be my saving grace.  So, here is a list of books I am currently reading:

1. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

2. The Art of the Argument by Stefan Molyneux

3. Three Days in January by Bret Baier

4. Flyover Nation by Dana Loesch

5. Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink

6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

7. The Path Between the Seas by David McCollough

8. Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

10. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

11. The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

12. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

That brings us to a total of 25 books so far.  So that means we still need 15 more.  Here is a list of books I’d like to read:

1. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

3. 1984 by George Orwell

4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

5. Kick A** by Mel Robbins

6. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

7. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

8. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

9. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin

10. Brave Companions by David McCollough

11. The Wright Brothers by David McCollough

12. Word Origins by Anatoly Liberman

13. Life is ___. by Judah Smith

14.  __________________

15. ________________

 

There are still a few spots open! Got to leave some mystery! 😉 This list will probably change with my mood as we make our way through the rest of 2018.  As I expressed before, I’m kind of a moody reader.  I’ve recently allowed myself to quit books I don’t want to finish (something I never allowed in myself before).  I was really relieved to find out the book police did not show up to shame me for being a quitter! 😂 Now, I allow myself to start a new book when I haven’t finished the last one.  Sometimes it helps me to jump from book to book rather than forcing myself to read something I really don’t want to, creating a bitterness for this poor innocent title.  That’s just mean. 😜

Anywho, here’s to amazing stories that will take me (and anyone reading along *smiles*) to amazing places.  Until next time, I hope your bookmarks never get lost, your shelves stay full, and your story never ends 💗

Love y’all,

-Sarah Dear