Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Witches: Salem, 1692

I can tell you one thing...it would suck to be a Puritan!
I find myself liking nonfiction reading more and more, although I'm still picky about the subjects I choose. One aspect that will get me interested in a nonfiction piece is that it relates to a topic I teach. This is how I came to read The Witches: Salem, 1692, by Stacy Schiff. As is common, I found this book in a review from a fellow blogger, this time from Katie @Doing Dewey. She was kind enough to send her ARC as well, which I've already sent on to Allison @The Book Wheel. So, you'll have a few more perspectives on this book soon enough.

My interest in The Witches comes from teaching Arthur Miller's The Crucible over the past four or five years. (I never quite reviewed The Crucible, but did do a more personal piece on it here.) In case you aren't familiar with The Crucible, it is Miller's somewhat fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials in the New World (not America for another 80+ years), where a group of teenage girls began accusing townspeople of witchcraft. The accusations spread like wildfire, the courts became a circus, and innocent people were jailed for months on end and some hanged - most in the name of envy and revenge it turns out. With every reading of The Crucible, my incredulousness grows. It's hard to understand how so many people can be so easily fooled. But then I recall Miller's purpose for writing The Crucible...he himself was accused similarly of being a Communist during the 1950's Red Scare era, now well known as McCarthyism. A general fearfulness of the infiltration of communism existed throughout the country, but it was Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin who threw the country into a terror with his claims of communism infiltrating parts of the U.S. government. The result? A replay of the 1692 Salem witch trials. Granted, no one was hanged, but lives were effectively ruined as people were blacklisted from careers and asked to either confess or lead authorities to those who were communists. Miller was turned in by a friend in such a predicament, but refused to turn in anyone else to save himself. Miller took this forced sabbatical as an opportunity to research the events of 1692 and write his famous play, paralleling the U.S. government to the circus courts of hundreds of years ago. Miller: 1; U.S. government: 0

So what about this new book on the witch trials? I liked it. Let me first say, I did think there was a lot of repetition; however, the book follows the court records and people's personal writings through that year, so it's likely certain thoughts came up often. The repetition begins to serve as this crazy marker for how many opportunities the authorities had to turn this all around before it went too far. Schiff's statement highlighting the essence of the trials: "Salem is in part the story of what happens when a set of unanswered questions meets a set of unquestioned answers."

What I really liked about the book was that I now have the facts on the people appropriated by Miller as characters for The Crucible. I can see how the situations within The Crucible happened to various people, but for the sake of the story, Miller took the prominent names of the real Salem witch trials and attributed as many of the real life situations to them as possible, to give a full scope of what happened. I was also happy to see that the ending of the movie version of The Crucible (starring Daniel Day Lewis) was true to life. The innocents who are martyred on the scaffold recite The Lord's Prayer as they are prepared to hang. It is a chilling ending that never ceases to send ripples up and down my spine.

I like to think that when we are cognizant of our history, we have a better chance of not repeating the mistakes. But what is better known than the Salem witch trials? And yet we have Hitler and McCarthy effectively bringing about the similar events of brainwashing, mass fear, and sheer stupidity. At least we can be personally aware, even if it means only we will not succumb to such madness.

Any good books you've learned from lately?

Note: the following information was shared with me by my cousins (who did our genealogy years ago) after seeing my review on FB. I pieced the conversation together here for easier reading.

Jennine, we are descended from Lydia Wardell. Her brother-in-law, Samuel, was the last witch executed in Salem. Lydia and her husband were Quakers, which I believe was a political motivation behind her brother's execution. Although, that can never be proven. 

I just read the account in the book "The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England" by Diane Rapaport. The book says Lydia and her husband Eliakim (our ninth great grandfather) were Quakers and fined for missing the Puritan church services which were mandatory under Massachusetts colonial law (this is what the seperation of church and state is all about: no state-mandated religion). Her response was to come to church, but naked (or butt naked as the case may be). The church was the Newbury meetinghouse which probably also served as the courthouse in those days. In any event, yes, there is a long tradition in our family of strong, outspoken women.

As punishment, Lydia "was ordered to be severely whipped" which most likely happened at the public whipping post in the typical fashion which was, ironically, "naked to the waist."

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Begin the Week with Words

My AP classes are reading the first 5 chapters of A Prayer for Owen Meany over the holiday break. (That's 255 pages...no, I don't feel bad.) I read this book quite awhile ago, but rereading allows me to rediscover the unique characters and Owen Meany's unique voice.

“My life is a reading list." John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

You were expecting something big and grand weren't you? Haha, this is pretty amazing I'd say. Don't worry, more to come from this one. It's 600+ pages and we're not quite half way through.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bout of Books 15

It's that time again! I'm not sure how many Bout of Books I've officially participated in (written a post like this and linked it up), but it's been three or four now. The January Bout of Books is my favorite because I'm in the reading mode from a Christmas break of reading and work isn't crazy and interfering!

So clearly, I love Bout of Books (especially the Twitter chats) and intend to participate. Should you? If you've never participated, check out this blurb from the Bout of Books team, filling you in on some details.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

So if you love to read and others need an excuse for you to do so excessively, here's your chance. Visit the Bout of Books link in the blurb and find the various ways you can sign up and participate. Hope to see you around the blogs in 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Coloring Fool

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and bought a sophisticated coloring book. I've seen the displays, read the reviews, liked the tweets of excitement for months, but have just started taking part. I have mixed feelings on it.

First, I LOVE the idea. I loved coloring when I was younger and was fiercely jealous of those who could do so well. I remember being acutely upset that a friend won a coloring contest in kindergarten, making her the owner of a huge stuffed bunny rabbit. So, I've quite enjoyed paging through B&N's coloring book displays. For awhile I was overwhelmed by the choices, not only at B&N, but also at numerous other stores that now carry them. (Buyer beware, you get what you pay for. Pay attention to not only design, but also thickness and quality of paper.) But, a B&N gift card came my way last month and I decided it was finally time to give it a go.

And I chose...

Once I'd looked through all books twice, this one stood out because every page is like the cover. A huge expanse of possibilities. There aren't any pages that have the black background or much blank, draw your own options. Every page is a detailed drawing of tropical animals, giving the opportunity of the most colorful display you can imagine.

Ironically, this is also where my mixed feelings come in...I don't really have an imagination. Setting up a pattern of colors for such detailed drawings takes some time. None of it just comes to me. And so my relaxing activity becomes work. 

The results of an hour or so labor...

Not bad for a first start, but people, this is the tiny corner of one page...take a look at the size of the book in the picture above this one! Ugh. But I am happy with that bug and this keeps me going. That bug's colors and pattern came out so nicely it makes me want to try it again. And just maybe it will start to come naturally and it will become a more relaxing activity.

It's definitely a statement of some sort. I had two friends send me the picture below! Some explanation: the year each of our kids hits high school, we buy him/her a Mac laptop. Expensive, but it's the only present he/she receives from us, the child pitches in his/her own money, and family members contribute as their gift as well. We don't mid putting in a little more for something that will last a long time and is practical and useful (and Best Buy's same as cash offers rock). This year it is middle daughter's turn - she's getting a Mac Book Air with Microsoft Office. The cartoon below is so fitting.

That leaves me with one question to all you colorers out there. What's your favorite coloring utensil? Right now I have water color pencils, but have only used them as pencils, no water just yet.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Begin the Week with Words

It's hard not to let life knock you down sometimes. Even in good times it seems something can sneak up on you. But, it's more about your response to that knock down than the knocking down itself. I'd rather learn from it - about myself and the world - and just keep going. And that's my thought for #SundaySentence this week.

Source: by Serena from wehearit.com

Monday, December 14, 2015

LOST - American TV Drama

source: screenrant.com


I spent late August through early December binge watching on Netflix like I never have before. I've decided I like binge watching better than week to week episodes, for the same reason I'd rather sit and read for an hour than just ten minutes. The more I do in one sitting, the more engrossed I become in the story. Much like a series of books takes over and resides constantly on my mind, so did the 2004 - 2010 American TV series Lost these past few months. It was good timing. With my reading slump, work schedule, and family life, I wanted nothing more than to lazily, easily get caught up in a good story in my free time.

If you're not familiar with the premise of Lost, read it here. Plenty of people had recommended the show, but what finally made me watch it was a video made by the writers of the show, where they discuss how it was based off of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. A hug fan of Campbell's study, I teach the Hero's Journey to my students every year, regardless of grade or ability level. That video was all I needed to jump right in. I was in good company as my husband and a couple of our best friends watched and compared notes too.

source: 4jlkelly.com
And what is the Hero's Journey? (You didn't really think I'd discuss TV without teaching an English Literature lesson too did you?) It's a pattern found throughout most stories, dating centuries back through the present. Not every story contains every step and steps aren't always in exact order, but most steps show up and usually in a similar order. The goal of the journey appears as one thing (in Lost, getting off the island), but it's always self realization and growth. It's amazing to think of all the different minds across centuries telling stories that are essentially the same in many ways. The interconnectedness between stories, ultimately a display of relatable humanity, is what I love most about them.

source: left - sacredimperfections.wordpress.com
right - dvdbash.com
Anyway, Lost was quite a ride. Every episode presented a mixture of personalities duking it out for survival. The mysteries of the island and the people themselves often created more questions than answers. In fact, for every question an episode answered, about five more questions popped up. But I loved it. It was always entertaining, never dull, and the characters amazingly drawn. It was easy to feel love or hate for them and often I found myself going back and forth between emotions on the same character! By the end of season one (of six), the character I'd started out disliking was my favorite. I had a couple I liked more than others, but definitely a favorite - Sawyer. Sarcastic, always ready with a quick pop culture jab, he brought quick comic relief to even the most serious moods. Plus he was reading in every episode and wasn't bad to look at at all!

Which is another cool aspect of Lost. The placement of the books Sawyer read on each episode was purposeful. Whichever book Sawyer is shown reading, that book relates back to the happenings in the episode. Various characters also allude to famous literature constantly. For example, in season three, episode 14 (Expose) the high school science teacher Leslie Artz says of Jack and Kate, "The pigs are walking! The pigs are walking!" Which is a line from Animal Farm, pertaining to the power hungriness of those animals on the farm...here directly attributed to Jack and Kate, two characters in charge on the island. I also noticed allusions that may have been unintentional, such as Jacob and his twin, the man in black, who is never given a name, but seem to be a close remaking of the Bible's Jacob and Esau.

And the ending? (HERE'S THE BIG SPOILER) I had so many commentaries from previous watchers and although no one spoiled the ending, people were definitely for or against it. Those who did not like it said there were too many things left "unknown." And it seems many mysteries remain. This is simply my opinion, but those who didn't like it, don't know their literature and it's their loss. In the end, the "surviving" passengers of Oceanic 815 find out they never survived the crash. They've been dead all along and together their particular spirits have been working through some issues before moving on. (The assumption being that those who didn't "survive" the crash were already in a place to move on to what awaits after death.) Other people who show up on the island had died and come there before or even after and were traveling the same journey. The finale shows them coming to this realization and ready to "move on."

source: beliefnet.com
What does this have to do with knowing literature? The Hero's Journey of course. Every journey has an ending, whether it is simply to move on to another journey or the final end. Either way, the ultimate boon is learning about yourself and the world around you. Their spirits lingered on this made up island to work through issues and heal emotions. It's about allowing knowledge gained through trials to change you, make you better than what you could've ever become without the journey. That's life isn't it? One big Hero's Journey.

Who has another series I can watch to fix the #showhole?! After I read a bunch of books that is!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Begin the Week with Words

Tis the season for giving and it's a good time of year to be generous. My husband and I think it is a sense of heart that should be lived equally year round. We try but it's funny how you lose sight of things sometimes. Yet, reminders are never far away and in the past two months we've found the verses below proven to us. Giving is such a blessing in a way I can't explain exactly - or at least easily. It's an experience. And somehow, someway, the blessing is returned in the way you need and when you need it most.

Source: Edited from slideshare.net

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Student Spotlight: Pablo S

Yes, I am a bad teacher. I've completely slacked on my Student Spotlight postings for this school year. (If you're not familiar with Student Spotlight, please take a look.) Not for lack of good essays, but for the abundance of essays to grade. Grading writing takes it out of you, especially analysis. However, better late than never! I am here today with a Student Spotlight essay for you on Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily."

This essay, titled "Emily Grierson is Dixie" was written by 11th grader Pablo S, who is in my AP Literature class. Extremely bright, Pablo blows me away with his ideas and writing ability. For example, AP's summer reading assignment only needed to be 10 paragraphs answering the 10 of 18 questions they chose to answer. Pablo's came to me in essay form, all of those topics weaved together, in MLA format no less!

We read "A Rose for Emily" during our study on the effect of plot on a story. As Pauline Hopkins writes in Contending Forces, “And after all, our surroundings influence our lives and characters as much as fate, destiny or any supernatural agency.” Students always excercise our studies through essay writing, the prompt always from AP Lit tests as far back as 1970. This time around students were to choose an essay from four given to analyze the plot of Faulkner's classic. Pablo's choice was from the 2012 AP Lit test:  Choose a novel or play in which cultural, physical, or geographical surroundings shape psychological or moral traits in a character. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how surroundings affect this character and illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.

Here it is. Enjoy.

Emily Grierson is Dixie
Emily Grierson is the frustration and distortion of the cultural and physical influences of her time. Symbolically, Emily is the South. The same culture that rejects Northern ideals and morals coincide with the way Emily lived her life.  Throughout the story, Emily reacts and counteracts as a representation of the relentless post-Civil War South. It is doubtless that her psychological traits and ethics are directly corresponding to that of the old Confederate States. This is the society that constructs Emily Grierson into a “fallen monument” (1) of her community.
With a disputable statement that Emily is a full portrayal of the deep South, a new question is posed: How did a wealthy and prominent woman become a rebellious symbol? Starting with her first influence, her father, the concept is not hard to grasp. He is a renowned Southern man that had been described by the narrator and the community as “a spraddled silhouette… clutching a horsewhip” (5). Emily’s father isolates the girl and passes down a prestigious and single-minded attitude. This sets up a solid foundation for Emily to serve as a symbol for the South. Comparably, the South also isolated and saw itself as a prestigious society with its fixed political views and opinions. In turn, the cultural and geographical positions in which Emily and her father were created a parallel of attributes for Emily and the Southern society to share. 
Emily Grierson’s behavior mirrors the attitude of the beaten society she lives in. Similar to the Old South, Emily is not apt to sudden change. This is seen when “the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction” (1). Miss Emily refuses to pay taxes to these modernized officials. A simple inconvenience would not budge the prideful woman’s stance on this matter and she had demonstrated the men to Colonel Sartoris, a man who “had been dead for almost ten years” (3). Before this situation, Emily is too stubborn to believe her father’s death. In mention to her community, “she told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days” (5). To her town, she was “humanized” (5). Her father’s death exposed her as a simpler woman that the community was now more comfortable with. One cannot be distinguished and mad at the same time. This is a portrayal of the effects of the recently vulnerable culture she lives in, which refused to adapt and accept its changes after the Civil War. Similar to Emily, the South also became vulnerable after its own tragic loss in the war. Psychologically, Emily and the South have similar natures in their conduct. 
Miss Emily Grierson is not a villain, however. She is “a tradition, a duty, and a care” (1) to the people around her. Faulkner, a native of the South, does not intend for the protagonist to be an evil character. Sure, she kills an innocent man, but it is the symbolism behind it that correctly shows Emily’s innocence. Homer Barron is “a Yankee-a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face” (6). He is the icon of the North, the foe of the South Miss Emily so closely resembles. This social and energetic character creates a foil for Miss Emily. Only a year after Miss Emily’s father dies, “the town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks” (5).  This is an indication that Emily Grierson is the victim of the sudden changes she and her community go through, notably when Homer Barron invades and brings forth a reconstruction of the town. This is against Emily’s culture, which itself experienced a Reconstruction after the damage left by the North.
Indeed, it is possible that Miss Emily is not influenced by the cultural surroundings around her, and she merely acts in demented ways as an insane person. This argument is conceivable, but it would take away the significance of the work. Faulkner created this piece as a Southerner during the aftermath of a bloody Civil War. He uses Emily as a symbol of his heartbroken land that struggles to accept its modifications. Miss Emily does not even allow her town  to “fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it” (9). This is a simple action of a character that greatly reflects an entire region. Without the cultural effects on Miss Emily, she would simply be an introvert woman that commits a horrendous crime. The relevancy of this work is emphasized when it is accepted that Miss Emily is guided by the society she lives in. 
Emily Grierson is the result of an honored culture struggling with its uncertain future. This woman epitomizes the South’s internal conflict of a changing society. Emily receives a strong-willed backbone through her father, resembling her own home’s determined will to retain its old values. Throughout the story, Emily’s actions simulate that of the South she represents. Emily is a fallen soldier for the land she is commanded by, and when she dies, she rests “among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson” (1). Miss Emily is another fallen soldier, a victim of the developments she and her community face.
Work Cited
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and 
Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2008. 79-84. Print.

Impressive, right? Feel free to leave Pablo some feedback in the comments and share this post to social media using #StudentSpotlight. We'd love to hear what readers have to say!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Reading the Bible as Literature

Source: roofbeamreader.com
*Note, this event has been cancelled, so the links are invalid. However, I am leaving the post up for any reference I (or others) might like to make to the idea and the reading plan on my own. 

It's December, which on most book blogs means setting up reading challenges and goals for the new year. Last week I set up the one reading challenge I will continue from 2015, Reading My Own Damn Books (#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks). An attack on the TBR books I own, which I am looking forward to. However, another reading activity caught my eye and I am posting to join. Adam at Roof Beam Reader is hosting a year long read-a-long of the Bible as Literature.

I've read the Bible beginning to end three times, only once was within a one year period. Having grown up in church, I've also read the Bible in part multiple times. My reading has followed different reasons and met different needs over the years, but in the past decade as a teacher, reading the Bible as literature has become important. Fiction alludes to biblical stories and teachings more than any other work besides Shakespeare. Understanding the Bible's stories and characters on a literary level leads to deeper understanding of literary works, allusion or not. Thus my interest in Roof Beam Reader's read-a-long.

You can read here for details on his postings and some regulations he has in place for discussion, but below I've included his reading schedule to give you an idea of what it takes to read the Bible in a year. It's the hardest thing I've ever done reading-wise. I'm not promising I'll keep up the whole time or post consistently, but even when I fall behind I will be reading Adam's posts, gleaning readers' observations, and joining in when I have my own.

The Reading Plan
January: Genesis 1 through Exodus 40
February: Leviticus 1 through Deuteronomy 4
March: Deuteronomy 5 through 1 Samuel 17
April: 1 Samuel 18 through 1 Chronicles 2
May: 1 Chronicles 3 through Esther 10
June: Job 1 through Psalms 89
July: Psalms 90 through Isaiah 17
August: Isaiah 18 through Ezekiel 8
September: Ezekiel 9 through Zechariah 14
October: Malachi 1 through Luke 18
November: Luke 19 through 1 Corinthians 8
December: 1 Corinthians 9 through Revelations 22

If you care to join us, or even just peek at what everyone has to say here and there, sign up on the linky at the end of his post or subscribe to Adam's blog. Also, he is hosting a similar Shakespeare reading event for 2016, as important to understanding literature as the Bible, the link of which is at the end of his post as well.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Begin the Week with Words

The busy seems to have let up just in time for me to enjoy December and its festivities. We put the tree up a couple days ago, watching a Christmas movie at the same time, as is our tradition. This year it was A Christmas Carol, the newest version, smartly animated with Jim Carrey as Scrooge. By far my favorite version.

I find it amazing that you can read or hear something a dozen times before it really stands out to you. This time around, it was Jacob Marley's ghost whose words caught my ear and I post them here to remind myself to be intentional about helping others and touching lives.

Source: welchwrite.com

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Came Early

Top left: My sister, her husband, and my kids.
Middle: Me waiting for my sister coming down aisle,
my husband and I at reception, my sister and I in Station Square.
Bottom: Pittsburgh view from our hotel.
I know, you're shocked. I have two posts up in the same week! Maybe my schedule is making a turn for the better...reading is picking up and I have things to talk about! Yay!

Anyway, my sister got hitched the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It made for a busy week before and after (also because of the holiday), but it was an amazing weekend we spent in Pittsburgh together.

We spent Saturday hanging out with one of my sister's best friends, talking, eating, and walking our way around Station Square. She held her ceremony and reception at LeMont Restaurant in Mt Washington the next day. The view from the hall completely breathtaking, especially as evening set in and the city lit up. The restaurant itself, a 1920's Gatsby-esque decor, had been recently decked out in gold Christmas trees and decorations, which we hadn't known would happen. It was a welcome sight...totally lifted the atmosphere and spirits more than expected and made for great pictures. And in my sister's usual style, every piece of the wedding matched the setting...especially her dress. Among the most beautiful wedding dresses I've ever seen.

As a thank you my sister gave me a sweet card and a B&N gift card! It was totally unnecessary, I wouldn't have missed it all for anything, but very thoughtful of her. It only sat in my pocket a couple days before I found my way to B&N to spend it. The first item was a given, The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5). With every gift card I've received in the past year, I've first bought the next book in the series, even though I'm only on #3 right now. They are beautiful big books and will look amazing on my shelf when I have them all...that is, when I have any space on a shelf.

A number of other titles came to mind as I walked around, but the next item that caught my eye was a day-to-day 2016 calendar of book trivia for bookworms. Between questions and quotes, it looked like a great way to start every day, so to work it goes! My plan is to work a few good ones into my blog each month, either as #SundaySentence or a whole new posting.

Not far from the table of calendars was a table of "sophisticated" coloring books and supplies. I've been watching the coloring phenomenon from afar. I wasn't the best color-er as a kid, but it's always been a fun activity. I've gone through the selections the last couple visits to B&N and decided now was the time to give it a try. After circling the table a few times and flipping through ten different books, the one that stood out the most was Tropical World, by Millie Marotta. I picked it because it was the only book where I felt excited to color every page as I flipped through. Not having colored in awhile, I needed new pencils too! I bought a 24 pack of watercolor pencils, which came with a brush. I had never heard of them before, but apparently they can be used as regular colored pencils or, with a little water on a brush, made to look like watercolor on paper.

Thanks to Educator's Discount, I pretty much left within limit of my gift card, only had to pay $2.24. That's what I call a successful trip!

Anyone else get the chance to haul home bookish goodies recently?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reading My Own Damn Books

Going to start with this pile from a recent post.
2016 is looking promising!
How bout that title? Made me laugh out loud, but I can't take credit for it. It's a Twitter thing, I guess, but I heard it from Andi at Estella's Revenge. The challenge behind it however, I will totally take credit for since I posted it this time last year. And if Twitter just started it, then I'm totally hipster. Is hipster still a thing?


The idea is to read your own damn books, aka, books you already own. There aren't really any rules, unless you want to give yourself some. Last year I gave myself a few that turned out very well, so I think I'll stick with them again this year. Here they are from last year's original post, TBRs I Own Challenge:

1. E-books and physical books I pay for count against me as buying a book, obviously, but not if someone else gives them to me as a gift. (Who in their right mind would turn down free books?)

2. Library books do not count against me, but must be two year or older publications I've been meaning to read.

3. Newer books I get for free (from publishers or as prizes) do not count against me. I must still take advantage of great offers from publishers. But I will limit these big time.

4. Wishlist answers from paperbackswap do not count against me. They are all TBRs, some on the list for years now, and the credits I have are already paid for through previous trades.

5. Every book I already own counts as an option.

6. The challenge begins January 1st.

Believe it or not, in 2015 I only bought two books. In June I bought Go Set a Watchman, which was kind of a given and almost doesn't even count! And then Outlander #4 as a vacation souvenir, again, does that even count? It was a bad year of reading for me all around, so I hope this challenge can refresh 2016! Thanks Andi for the reminder.

Also, if you're interested in joining, Andi has a link up on her Reading My Own Damn Books post. Join us! #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks