Push by Sapphire

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Push by Sapphire


I had only two words to say when I finished this book at four this morning… holy crap! (Okay, so those aren’t exactly the two words that I said but one of my most loyal blog followers is only 10 so edited myself a tad bit. Hi, Erik!)


Clarieece Precious Jones was only 12 years old when she gave birth to her first child.


At 16, Precious, she hates to be called Clarieece, is still in middle school and pregnant with her second child. Despite the fact that she can’t read, she goes to school every day and gets decent grades. Math is her favorite class. She’s been held back a few times but eventually the teachers pass her on to the next grade. But now, she is suspended from school for being pregnant.


Precious is an extremely lonely girl. She has been raised to believe that she is nothing. She has endured horrific abuse at the hands of both of her parents. She has no friends, no family to care for her, no one to love her. Sometimes she prays that she won’t wake up in the morning.


After being kicked out of school, she is accepted into an alternative pre-GED program where she finally has the courage to tell her teacher that every page in the book looks the same. Under the guidance of a caring teacher and the friendship of the other troubled girls in her class, Precious begins a difficult journey to freedom, as fleeting as it may be.


I bought this book a few years ago, right after the movie was released. And in that time it has lived on the bookcase in my bedroom. Every time I go to the shelf to pick a new book I passed over this one, the red spine staring out at me. So, when I had to choose a book that started with the letter P for my April reading challenge, I decided that I would finally get around to reading Push.


Last night, or this morning since it was 2am, I was getting ready for bed, and I decided to read the first few pages to see how I liked it. Big mistake.


Two hours later I was finished, it was 4am, and I was wide awake thinking about what I had just read.


Push is horrifying and amazing, heartbreaking and hopeful, all at the same time. Sapphire allows Precious to tell her own story, in her own words. As I read, I found that I was hearing the voice of Precious telling me the story. I forgot that Sapphire existed. I forgot that Precious was a figment of her imagination; that the entire story was make-believe. To me, that is the mark of an excellent story-teller.


At less than 200 pages, it’s a fast read, even for people who don’t read quite as quickly as I do. *wink*


It isn’t an easy story to read simply due to the subject matter. And it’s certainly not a happy story. Precious endures horrific abuse which made my heart hurt for her as I read. I will admit that I cried once or twice. But in the end, it was worth it.


Before reading the book I did want to see the movie. And while I can typically separate books from their cinematic counterparts, I’m not sure I want to see it anymore. Not just because of the abuse and violence that must be depicted in the film, but because I’m just not sure that a film could do the simplicity of the book the justice that it deserves.


5 stars

April Monthly Challenge

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This is another challenge I am participating in over at the Crazy Challenge Connection message board on goodreads.com.


Using the letters in the month of “April”, read a book that corresponds to each letter. You may use the first letter of the title, the first letter of the author’s first name, or the first letter of the author’s last name. As a bonus, read a book with “April” in the title, or a book with a main character named “April” (spelling does not have to be exact).


The challenge runs from April 1, 2012 through April 30, 2012. If anyone would like to join me in completing this challenge just leave me a note in the comments. I’d love to have some more friends joining in.


So, here is my list of books for April.



A – Animal Farm by George Orwell


P – Push by Sapphire – read 4/8. read my review here.


R – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe


I – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


L – Lord of the Flies by William Golding


Bonus: undecided

Back to the Classics Challenge

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On this page I will keep track of the books I read for the Back to the Classics Challenge hosted by Sarah @ Sarah Reads Too Much.

Here are the categories and the novels I am planning to read…

♦ 19th Century Classic:  [Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley]

♦ 20th Century Classic:  [Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell]

♦ Reread a classic of your choice:  [To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee]

♦ Classic Play:  undecided

♦ Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction:  [In Cold Blood by Truman Capote]

♦ Classic Romance:  [Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen]

♦ Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language:  [One Thousand and One Nights]

♦ Classic Award Winner {To clarify, the book should be a classic which has won any established literary award}:  [The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – Newberry Winner 1959]

♦ Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime {To clarify, this does not have to be a country that you hope to visit either. Countries that no longer exist or have never existed count.}:  [The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas]

One Hit Wonders of the 80’s Challenge

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Hey Mickey you're so fine you're so fine you blow my mind hey Mickey!

I came across a great challenge over at goodreads.com in a group that I joined called Crazy Challenge Connection.

Being a child of the 80’s, this challenge evoked a bit of nostalgia for me. Actually, it made me set my 80’s playlist on iTunes on repeat for three days. I’ll be tracking my progress here as well as on the group message board. Now, I think I need to go find the video for Mickey on youtube…

♥  ♥ ♥

The decade that brought us Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pac Man, Rubik’s Cubes, Dallas and MTV now brings us a new reading challenge. Slap on your neon jelly bracelets and leg warmers, dust of those parachute pants, and look for the biggest shoulder pads you can find.

If you think you’re already signed up for too many challenges, that’s like totally bogus, fer shur!! So don’t be a dweeb, sign up! I’m like totally spazzing because this is going to be so rad. The categories are gnarly, and it’ll be a totally tubular time! Sorry, my inner Valley Girl took over there for a moment. (Like, gag me with a spoon!! As if!)

Here are the details:

Duration: One year from sign-up date.
No. of Books: 1-24, you decide!
Rules: You may choose as many (or as few) categories as you like, but only folks who read all 24 will have a totally tubular time and get to wear the keyboard tie! The books may be from any genre, unless specified otherwise in a category. Re-reads are allowed as are books used for other challenges. You can post your list up front or as you go and you can make changes as you go.

You can start this challenge whenever you like. Once you decide to start you have one year to complete it.

♥ ♥  ♥

Challenge Dates:  3/11/12 – 3/11/13

√ Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners ~ Read 1 book with: a character or author named Johnny, Ray, or Eileen (or a variation of the name) -OR- a book set in England –OR- a predominantly blue cover: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton 3/17/12

Tainted Love by Soft Cell ~ Read 1 book with: a vampire or werewolf as the main character -OR- the word ‘love’ or ‘heart’ in the title -OR- a heart depicted on the cover

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves ~ Read 1 book with: characters who finally admit they love one another -OR- the sun or waves on the cover -OR- a predominantly yellow cover

She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby ~ Read 1 book with: a character who is a scientist (main character or supporting character) -OR- with a blindingly hot bod on the cover

Take on Me by A-Ha ~ read 1 book with: a character that rides a motorcycle -OR- a scene that takes place in a diner -OR- a predominantly black and white cover

99 Luft Balloons by Nena ~ Read 1 with: a post-apocalyptic or war theme -OR- a setting of Germany or a character of German heritage -OR- with a cover showing balloons (any color) or another child’s toy

I Wanna Be a Cowboy by Boys Don’t Cry ~ Read 1 book with: cowboys or horses -OR- a cover showing a cowboy hat or a sunset -OR- an orange and/or red cover

Iko Iko by The Belle Stars ~ Read 1 book with: the main character’s grandmother playing a role -OR- ‘FIRE’ in the title or series name -OR- fire pictured on the cover

Pleasure and Pain by Divinyls ~ Read 1 book with: BDSM -OR- a cover showing a hot body holding a deadly weapon

I Wear My Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart ~ Read 1 book with: a character that can’t go out in daylight -OR- a cover showing a moon -OR- a black cover

Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin ~ Read 1 book with: a happy ending -OR- that you find humorous

The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats ~ Read 1 book with: a character who is a dancer or a scene with dancing -OR- a character who acts like an imbecile -OR- a cover showing, you guessed it, a man without a hat

Kids in America by Kim Wilde ~ Read 1 book that is considered to be Young Adult -OR- with a cover that is predominately Red, White, or Blue or a combination of all three colors

Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood ~ Read 1 book with: a character that needs to chill out -OR- any book in the sci-fi genre -OR- a cover showing an artificial source of light (flashlight, building lights, etc)

I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow ~ Read 1 book with: a guy who’s tough but sweet -OR- a cover featuring some serious eye candy -OR- a cover showing actual candy

√ It’s Raining Men by Weather Girls ~ Read 1 book with: a character that can control or affect the weather -OR- a scene set during a rain storm -OR- a cover showing rain or lightning: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 4/08/12

Puttin’ on the Ritz by Taco ~ Read 1 book with: a character who is wealthy -OR- a well dressed person on the cover -OR- a character who loves Mexican food

Lady in Red by Chris DeBurgh ~ Read 1 book that is a romance -OR- that features a woman in red on the cover

Mickey by Toni Basil ~ Read 1 book with: a character or author named Mickey, Mike, or Michael -OR- any Young Adult book

Cars by Gary Numan ~ Read 1 with: a character that works with cars (driver, car designer, salesman, mechanic, etc) -OR- a car on the cover

Turning Japanese by The Vapors ~ Read 1 book set in Asia -OR- with characters of Asian heritage (ex: Lily Yu in Eileen Wilks’ series) -OR- ANY book you really love

Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell ~ Read 1 book with: characters who watch over and protect mortals or others of their kind -OR- a shower scene -OR- a cover featuring a great pair of eyes

Too Shy by Kajagoogoo ~ Read 1 book with: a character who’s name you have trouble pronouncing -OR- a cover that is predominantly pink

Always Something there to Remind Me by Naked Eyes ~ Read 1 book with: a character having trouble with their memory -OR- a (nearly) naked person on the cover -OR- ANY historical romance

The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry

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The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry
“A story of sacrificial love, The Gift of the Magi is a classic for the Christmas season and beyond. A husband and wife cannot afford to give each other presents unless they give up their own greatest treasures. With touching twists, O. Henry unfolds a story of profound implications.”
I think I should preface this review by saying I’ve never been a fan of short stories. However, I am completely in love with O. Henry. I first read The Gift of the Magi in one of my high school English textbooks and from that moment on, I was a fan. Not just a fan of the story (which is amazing), but of Henry’s style of writing as well. I love irony and sarcasm and O. Henry is a master of both.
William Sydney Porter, born 11 Sept 1862 in Greensboro, NC, is best known by his pen name O. Henry. O. Henry’s short stories are known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings. (He is buried in Ashville, NC, where my mom and I are planning a short vacation later this spring. I’ll have to make note to visit his grave.)
You may have heard of the O. Henry Award, which is a prestigious annual prize named after Porter and given to outstanding short stories.
In 1952, a film featuring five stories, called O. Henry’s Full House, was made. The episode “The Cop and the Anthem” stars Charles Laughton and Marilyn Monroe. The other stories are “The Clarion Call”, “The Last Leaf”, “The Ransom of Red Chief” (starring Fred Allen and Oscar Levant), and “The Gift of the Magi”. There have been several other film version of “The Gift of the Magi” made as well.
The O. Henry House and O. Henry Hall, both in Austin, Texas, are named for him. O. Henry Hall, now owned by the University of Texas, previously served as the federal courthouse in which O. Henry was convicted of embezzlement from the bank he worked in. (He was sentenced to five years in prison but was released after three.)
Porter has elementary schools named for him in Greensboro, North Carolina (William Sydney Porter Elementary) and Garland, Texas (O. Henry Elementary), as well as a middle school in Austin, Texas (O. Henry Middle School). The O. Henry Hotel in Greensboro is also named for Porter.
It’s difficult to write a review of short stories because it would be so easy to give away the endings. I’ve never read an O. Henry story where I knew how it would end before I read it. His gift of irony without bitterness is fabulous. At only 159 pages, this book is a quick read. Even if you pick it up every once in a while and read one story at a time, rather than reading it straight through, you’ll be done before you know it and ready for more.
Stories included in this edition are:
The Gift of the Magi (my favorite)
Lost on Dress Parade
The Trimmed Lamp
The Handbook of Hymen
Brickdust Row
The Count and the Wedding Guest
The Furnished Room
The Last Leaf
The Making of a New Yorker
The Man Higher Up
While the Auto Waits
Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking (the first story published under the pen name O. Henry)
A Newspaper Story
The Ransom of Red Chief (Mama’s favorite)
The Whirlgig of Life
Confessions of a Humorist
Another bonus of this edition, if you want to own it as I did, so that you can read a little O. Henry whenever you want, it’s only $10.00 at B&N. It’s also available for the Nook for $1.99.
Hardcover
159 pages
Published 10 Nov 2008 by BARNES & NOBLE PUB.
ISBN13: 9781435108790

 

5 stars

 
For more info on O. Henry, check out wikipedia.

So many books, so little time.

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So many books, so little time.

Have you ever had so many books you wanted to read that you couldn’t concentrate on even getting started on one?


I have started four books since the new year began and I haven’t even made it halfway through one. I read a bit of one and then I pick up another and read a little bit of it and then pick up another one. Ugh.


So far I have started A Midsummer Night’s Dream for my Shakespeare challenge, The Scarlet Letter, a collection of O. Henry short stories, and a memoir about the craziness of the Vanderbilt family.


I made a reading goal of 200 books this year and here it is the 8th of the month and I haven’t accomplished anything. Not a great start to the year. I’m getting a little frustrated. As soon as I start reading one book, I start thinking about the next one I need to read and I get nowhere.


Methinks I may need to revisit an old friend in order to get back into the groove. Now I just have to decide where I should go?


Hogwarts, Half-blood Hill, Panem, or Forks? (Again with the love/hate Twilight issues)


I’m really only including Twilight in the debate because they are fast reads. I could easily get all four books, five if you count the novella, read in just a couple of days. (Yes, I am justifying myself to myself on my own blog.)


So, I’m going to post a poll in a few so you all can vote on which world I should visit to get myself back in the mood to read. I appreciate the help since I am apparently unable to make my own choice at the moment; thanks in advance fellow bookworms!

2012 Reading Challenges

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Here is a whole list of reading challenges for 2012 for your perusing pleasure!

2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge… go here to sign up!

Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012.

The Rules:

  • Anyone can join.
  • You don’t need a blog to participate.
  • Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post on Jamie’s blog.
  • Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.
  • No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

There are four levels:

  1. The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
  2. The “Fun Size” YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
  3. The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
  4. The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

So what is the point of this challenge?  It is to try to read in each of the 50 States between January 1 2012 – December 31, 2012. Go here to Book Journey to sign up.

So how do you decide what state a book is categorized under?

1.  In a fiction read it would be the State or Country that the book spends the most time in.  (ie: If your main character is from Wisconsin but the book is all about his/her time in college in California – the book should categorize under California.)

2.  Non fiction reads categorize in whatever State or Country it is about. (ie: a book about fly fishing in Colorado is a Colorado point, and a book about women in Afghanistan is an Afghanistan point.)

3.  If the book goes from one state to another, go with the state that most of the time is spent.

How to get started:
Set up a map under Google Maps.  It is easy to do!  Every time you read a book in 2012, upload a cover picture to Picasa Web Albums (there may be other sites to use, feel free to use what works best for you). (You don’t have to use the map but it is a fun way to see “where” you have read!)

For those who have covered the 50 states by the end of 2012, they will go into a drawing for a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble or to Amazon.  **All other areas beyond the 50 states are bonus points and we will have a drawing using random.org for those who read 10 or more books throughout 2012 in that category.

Welcome to 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they’re gifted to us. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we’ll finally decide to pick them up.
Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you’ve been telling yourself you’ll read next time you’ll get a chance. This is your chance! And we’ve got PRIZES!

Challenge guidelines: 
  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 – Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it’s unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It’s open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice – we will be checking 😉
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you’ll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway – 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
  11. You don’t have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

Levels:

1-10 – A Firm Handshake
11-20 – A Friendly Hug
21-30 – A Sweet Kiss
31-40 – Love At First Sight
41-50 – Married With Children

Hosts:
Evie from Bookish – http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Readhttp://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Homehttp://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions

Visit Evie at Bookish to sign up!

How adorable is this freaking button?!

Want to challenge yourself to read outside your comfort zone in 2012?
Like science fiction but tend to put off reading it?
Are you a total geek but never really take the time to read?

If you answered yes to any of the above, sign up for the 2012 reading challenge now! The idea is to read one sci-fi book each month, however, we all have different reading speeds so set yourself a number that you feel comfortable with. Hosted by Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. Go here to sign up.

What books count as sci-fi?

There’s more to science fiction than aliens and spaceships. The dictionary definition is: fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component. So that includes dystopias, zombie viruses, genetic engineering gone awry, time travel, steampunk, extreme weather, space exploration and, of course, aliens.

Not a book blogger?

That’s OK. As long as you are willing to write some words about the book on a publicly accessible site (eg. Goodreads, personal blog) you can join in. If you’re not sure where you’ll be posting you can sign up with a social network account.

Monthly giveaways!

Yes, each book you read will get you an entry into some great giveaways throughout the year. (I love a challenge with prizes!)

The Reading Romances Challenge is not about the amount of books you read, but the variety of titles you’ll have read when the challenge is over! Our goal is to read a bit of everything related to romance and open our minds to new genres we wouldn’t usually read.

Challenge Guidelines:

  1. The 2012 Reading Romances Challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 – Dec 31, 2012.
  2. Anyone can join, you don’t need to have a blog. Feel free to sign-up in the comments – you can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari etc).
  3. I’ll post a list of romance sub-genres and a few cool themes for you to choose from each month (you can read all of them or just a couple).
  4. You can list your books before reading them (by leaving a comment on the post with the topics for that month) or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, don’t feel obligated to read them, changes are welcomed!
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the Reading Romances Challenge. If you don’t have a blog, please link it to the page where you post your reviews (Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon etc).
  6. You don’t have to participate every month, but please try to!
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  • I will never tell you to read one specific author, but I might suggest a few titles and authors to give you some ideas.
  • You can read the same author more than once and the books can be old or new, but they must be read during the course of the challenge.
  • Books used in this challenge may be used in other challenges.
  • Books can be in any format – paper, audio, ebook.
  • Post the button to post on your sidebar, this way others can find their way back to this post and join in the fun!

At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews for that month. If you forget, feel free to add your reviews in the following month. It can be something simple and short, please don’t worry about it!

There will also be random giveaways during the year for everyone who is actively participating on the challenge. There might be special giveaway by the end of the year for those who read all (or most of) the topics during each month . If you are an author and want to contribute with prizes, please contact me.

Visit Reading Romances to sign up!

Hosted by Teresa at Teresa’s Reading Corner. Go here to sign up.

Welcome to the original Audio Book Challenge formerly hosted by Alaine at Queen of Happy Endings. This challenge is for Audio Book lovers as well as those who are brand new to them.

I’ve been listening to your feedback and I’m convinced that the 2012 challenge is going to be better than ever. There will still be targets for achievement, but I’m raising them a bit since many of our participants are avid audio book listeners.

Once again, there are four levels to the challenge

  • Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
  • Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
  • Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
  • Married-Listen to +++  Audio Books

Reading Shakespeare: A Play a Month in 2012
January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012
This challenge is hosted by Risa.

“Owning a copy of Shakespeare’s complete works had me wondering the best way I could get myself to read the entire book. I have studied only about six or seven of Shakespeare’s plays from school through college, and there have been many others that I’ve wanted to read but have been a bit hesitant about tackling on my own. So, I figured, the best way to read Shakespeare’s plays and to read it with others, was to have a read-along. Hence Reading Shakespeare: A Play a Month in 2012 was born.A poll held from 01 November 2011 till 01 December 2011 determined the 12 plays we would be reading in 2012.”

Listing the plays for 2012:

January — A Midsummer Night’s Dream
February — Macbeth
March — Henry V
April — Much Ado About Nothing
May — Antony and Cleopatra
June — Richard III
July — As You Like It
August — King Lear
September — Cymbeline
October — Twelfth Night
November — Othello
December — Pericle

I am definitely doing this challenge.  I love Shakespeare. I read Macbeth for the first time when I was in the 4th grade and have been in love with Will Shakes ever since. I am looking forward to reading a play a month and I’ve actually not read a couple of the ones that have been chosen.

There are still a ton of other challenges out there. You can use your favorite search engine (I personally use Swag Bucks because I earn free gift cards to Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and search 2012 reading challenges. Happy reading!