Congrats for making it to the end of the 2023 Summer Reading Challenge! As I sat down to work on the list of books I read this summer, I am so proud of us and of this challenge. Thanks to this challenge, every summer I read several books that I simply would not have read without this nudge of this challenge. I imagine it’s the same for you.

Three things to know for me this summer:

1. Last summer I only read one novel. (What?! I know). This summer had a lot more fiction. Yay!

2. Thanks to the “Penalty Book” category, for the sixth summer I read a book I have been meaning to read for ages! Go penalty books! After last summer’s colossal disappointment of a penalty book read, this year I’m back on track. I’m so glad I read No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin and that it has moved from the “I want to read” to “I’ve read that!” column.

3. Summer reading makes me happy.

So, how did The Summer Reading Challenge go for you? Remember, in The Summer Reading Challenge the goal is to read seven books between June 1 and August 11th. Comment below and you are entered for one of ten $10 Amazon gift cards. Even if you didn’t read seven books, still share what you read! This isn’t really a contest so much as a chance to share and a see how many books we read collectively.

I also find great books for my fall reading in your comments :).

I’m going to put the categories here if you want to cut and paste them into the comments. Also feel free to just list books, whatever works for you.

A biography or a book about history

A book you already own

A book you’ve been wanting to reread

A book a friend recommended

A Young Adult book (YA)

A book of poetry

A memoir or autobiography

A graphic novel

A book for professional development (loosely defined)

A book longer than 600 pages (counts as two books)

A book with a verb in the title

A play

A book about a country or culture you have never visited

A book that won an award

A book by someone with a different view point than you

A book by an author you know (get “credit” for supporting your friends 😊)

A mystery

A classic

An audiobook

A book with an animal

A book less than 100 pages

A book you want to discuss with others

A book you read as a child

A book in a different language than English (could be sign language, morse code, Spanish, don’t get hung up on terms 😊)

Read out loud to someone. Could be a whole book, a favorite passage, or to a child

Listen to someone reading out loud (not an audio book, an actual person)

Penalty book—subtract 2 books if you didn’t read.


Amy’s books with a five star rating (you don’t have to do this!)

A biography or a book about historyThe Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict (3.5 stars)

A graphic novelMy Begging Chart by Keiler Roberts (3 stars)

A book longer than 600 pages (counts as two books)No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (I love Doris Kearns Goodwin’s writing. Very interesting to read about WW2 in light of the current war in Ukraine. In the middle of WW2, it became evident the Allies would win and so the leaders started thinking about Europe and Asia after the war. What are current leaders already working on for Ukraine and Russia? This was my penalty book 4.5 stars)

A book with a verb in the titleThe Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (I must be living under a rock! I’d never heard of this book until a member of our book group won 12 copies for us. Yes, it’s a TV show which I have now watched. Page turner! Great summer book. 5 stars)

A book that won an awardTranscendent Kingdom by Yao Gyasi (WOMEN’s prize finalist. 4 stars)

A book by an author you knowHello, My Name Is Phillip by Brian Shimer (I met Brian at a Member Care Conference in May. His booth was next to mine and after hearing me desperately force my books people because I didn’t have suitcase space, he told me he’d written a book. He’s a kind man!)

An audiobookEight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave (Having read The Last Thing I Told You, I was curious about her earlier work. Definitely a few themes beginning to emerge in her writing! Enjoyed listening, but not as much as The Last Thing, 3.5 stars)

A book with an animalAnxious People by Fredrik Backman (Okay, so there was a man with a rabbit mask, and the main character called her daughters “monkey” and “frog.” So, you can see that we can loosely interpret these categories. This was a reread for book group . . . and I loved it even more! 5 stars)

Read out loud to someonePalace of Books by Patricia Polacco (I read this out loud to you on an instagram live that you can watch here, 4.5 stars)

Listen to someone reading out loud (not an audio book, an actual person)Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (I had the privilege of hearing my mom read this book. My friend Katie and her family were in the States for the summer and the love to have “Mama Young” read to them. 4.5 stars)


You can see I didn’t read in every category.

I come back to this not being a contest, if you read four books and that was your goal, great! I find that I’m more likely to accomplish my goals if I tell people what they are. I wouldn’t have read a book out loud or pushed to read the book Brian mailed me. I’m 99% sure I would still be intending to read No Ordinary Time. Thanks to you, I read all of them.

All who comment between now and August 14th with the names of the books they read will be entered to win one of ten $10 Amazon gift cards. To enter, leave a comment on this post.

I can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading. I’ll pick winners on Monday so you have several days to leave a comment.

Thank you for joining in!

Amy

Amy

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  1. Rachel Kahindi August 9, 2023 at 6:49 am - Reply

    I don’t have a penalty book, but I do have an extra category for myself. Every summer I read a book by CS Lewis. He wrote so many, and I’ve read so few of them, but I have made progress since I started doing this. This year, I needed to read Screwtape Letters to prep for my 8th grader reading it this year in homeschool. But I already read it years ago! I liked reading it again, but I’m a little dissatisfied with not reading a new CS Lewis book. Oh well… Here are all my books:

    Book about history: When China Ruled the Seas by Louise Levathes (it did not live up to my expectations)

    Book I already own: The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore

    Book I want to reread: Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    YA: Master and Servant by David Mulwa

    Memoir: What Cannot Be Lost by Melissa Zaldiver (also an audiobook)

    600+ pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (also a book I read aloud)

    Verb in the title: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (loved it!! Also fits in as a book about a country I’ve never visited – Romania)

    About a country or culture I have never visited: All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes (Venice) and Life by Lu Yao (China)

    Author with a different point of view: Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

    Mystery: A Cut for a Cut by Carol Wyer

    Classic: Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

    Book with an animal: West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge

    Read aloud: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 11:49 am - Reply

      I love that you have a self-given category!!

      I’ve requested I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys from the library :). My book group plans to read Rest with Giraffes in the upcoming months. Thanks for joining in!

  2. Jesse Hoyer August 9, 2023 at 9:06 am - Reply

    The Light Over London
    South to America: A Journey Below the Moon Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
    The Things We Cannot Say
    The Warsaw Orphan
    The Covenant of Water
    Savage Sourdough
    Scornful Scones

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Scornful Scones sounds interesting . . . and delicious :)

  3. Michele August 9, 2023 at 9:31 am - Reply

    I think I have had an all-time summer reading low this year. It has been a wild summer with a lot of transition, a lot of loss, and still some extra ‘unknowns.’ I haven’t quite finished my seventh book, and I think my first I technically started before the challenge began, so I actually only read five full books, though I’ll list all seven. While the quantity was low, the quality of reading has been high- I can say I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read this summer and they’ve all been good for my soul in different ways through this crazy season! (Also, I’ve already got a couple from your list on my to-read list and can’t wait to add more from other readers! This challenge is one of my favorite parts of summer, whatever’s going on)! :)

    1. A biography or a book about history- A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell (Excellent biography of a Virginia Hall, a woman I’d never heard of who did some pretty amazing things- 5 stars).

    2. A book you already own- Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (I own a ton of books I haven’t read, so this is always an easy filler category for me. It’s historical fiction and a made a good airplane/airport read. I learned a lot about adoption scandals in the US in the 1930’s to 50’s and couldn’t help but see the connection with what I’ve seen happening in South Asia these days. 3.5 stars).

    3. A book about a country or culture you have never visited- The House of the Mosque by Kader Abdolah (Traces the past few decades of Iranian history and how it impacted normal people. 4.5 stars)

    4. A book a friend recommended- Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies by Alison Cook & Kimberly Miller (Recommended by several people for good reason- lots to think about. I think this one also fits the category of a book I’d like to discuss with others. 5 stars)

    5. A book with a verb in the title- Leaving Home: Tales from Lake Wobegon by Garrison Keillor (I picked this up in the book nook of the hospice facility where I sat with my dad the last three weeks of his life. The northern midwest small town 1980’s vibe was just what I needed to make me laugh and process my own growing up memories at this time. By the end I realized that what I’d picked for light reading in a heavy time was therapeutic in unexpected ways. 5 stars)

    6. A book you want to discuss with others- Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (I wouldn’t usually pick a novel for this category, but this one had me thinking about so many things I wished I could talk through with others- perfect book club read. 5 stars)

    7. A memoir or autobiography- The Farmer’s Son by John Connell (Will finish in the next two days. I would never have sought this one out if I hadn’t seen it on someone’s list of favorites a few years ago. I can’t quite describe it- how the sweet, slow, observant style is just what my soul needs right now. 5 stars).

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      Michele, I agree! I’ve got a notebook out and am adding books to read to it as I review what y’all read :)

      I agree that Before we were yours was IS worth reading (we need to know these parts of history) and isn’t a 5 star. My book group read it and then I bought in a bookstore “Before and After: the incredible real-life story behind the heart-breaking bestseller Before We Were Yours” — I really liked it!! First of all, it’s non-fiction and we all know my love of non-fiction :). Before and After shares all of the orphans who came out of the woodwork (or their kids who reached out) — at one of Lisa’s book events they ended up hosted a weekend for them! Hearing the wide range of stories from actual people? I recommend it. My book group is now passing this around and reading it :)

      I’ve added The Farmer’s Son by John Connell to my to-read list!

      Boundaries for your Soul and Ordinary Grace . . . you did read some gems this summer. Sorry for the loss and all of the unknowns. With love, A

    • Megan Smith August 11, 2023 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I also sat with a loved one dying this summer, grateful books can guide us through hard moments.

  4. Allie Slocum August 9, 2023 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I love this challenge. Here’s my list:
    Book about history: The 2nd Life of Mirelle West (about the leper colony in US in early 1900s – I think – this was early on) So good!
    Book a friend recommended: Dragonfly – best book of summer! – HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you like WW2 and spy stuff
    Young Adult book: Mother/Daughter Book Club
    Book for professional development: Flex Ed (this was also by an author I know!)
    A book with a Verb in the Title: The Heart to Dance
    Book by someone with a different view point than you: The Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall #1
    Book by an author you know: How to Understand the Entire Universe
    Penalty book: Run with The Horseman – this was a chore/torture/ and super unfulfilling – still mad at my friend who gave it to me! But I have to forgive her b/c she also recommended Dragonfly which is the best book I’ve read in a LONG time!

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Solidarity on a chore/torture/ super unfulfilling penalty book!! That was mine last summer. I was so annoyed that it FICTION was introduced to a non-fiction book about a president. What in the actual?! How will I know what’s historically accurate! And this nonsense went on for 700 pages!!

      Who wrote Dragonfly? I was looking for it in the library and not sure which “Dragonfly” you recommend :)

  5. TonyaAnn August 9, 2023 at 10:29 am - Reply

    LOVED this summer’s challenge. Here ya go!

    A biography or about History: All of a Sudden & Forever by Chris Barton I lived in OKC during the bombing incident and this book was so meaningful.

    A book you already own: #but God by Jeremy Freeman I met the Freeman’s when Caleb was recieving care at Craig Hospital. They live just down the road from my Oklahoma home

    A book a friend recommended: Finally read Donald Miller’s Blue like Jazz

    A professional development book: Finally read Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird

    A book by an author I know: Fellow WOTR member Joanne Currance Heart to Dance

    Audiobook: The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki

    A Book I read as a Child: Janet Lambert’s Miss Tippy (see my blog post of 8/9/23 on facebook at TonyaAnnWriter)

    A book of poetry: Great Short Poems Edited by Paul Nigri

    My penalty book was The Chosen Book 1 by Jerry Jenkins.

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      So glad you loved the reading challenge :)! Thanks for the shout out to a fellow Writers on the Rock writer :)! Woot, woot!!

      And I love how your personality sparkles through this comment :)

  6. Jamie August 9, 2023 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    A biography or a book about history: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs–Steve Brusatte
    A book you already own: Summer on the Bluffs–Sunny Hostin
    A book you’ve been wanting to reread: The Garden of Small Beginnings–Abbi Waxman
    A book a friend recommended: Odd One Out–Nic Stone
    A Young Adult book (YA): The Best At It–Maulik Pancholy
    A book of poetry: Black Girl, Call Home–Jasmine Mans
    A memoir or autobiography: Famous Father Daughter–Jamie Bernstein
    A graphic novel: Orange, Volume 1–Ichigo Takano
    A book for professional development: The Path Made Clear–Oprah Winfrey
    A book longer than 600 pages: Dombey and Son–Charles Dickens
    A book with a verb in the title: The Lies I Tell–Julie Clark
    A play: Blues For Mister Charlie–James Baldwin
    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Villa–Rachel Hawkins
    A book that won an award: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry–Mildred D. Taylor
    A book by someone with a different view point than you: The Pale-Faced Lie–David Crow
    A book by an author you know: Timeless Depths–Erica Varela
    A mystery: Calypso, Corpses and Cooking–Raquel V. Reyes
    A classic: Kidnapped–Robert Louis Stevenson
    An audiobook: Tales From the Arabian Nights–Anonymous
    A book with an animal: Claws For Alarm–Cate Conte
    A book less than 100 pages: Pinocchio–Margaret Hillert
    A book you want to discuss with others: Once More With Feeling–Elissa Sussman
    A book you read as a child: Little Town on the Prairie–Laura Ingalls Wilder
    A book in a different language than English: La Casa Adormecida (The Napping House)–Audrey Wood (in English and Spanish)
    Read out loud to someone. Could be a whole book, a favorite passage, to a child: Read paragraphs for book group (see below)
    Listen to someone reading out loud (not an audio book, an actual person): Began reading of Heavy by Kiese Laymon for book group. Each person reads different paragraphs (Will be reading at work weekly; began on June 5)
    My Penalty Book: So-Called Normal–Mark Henick

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      First of all, Jaime! A round of applause! I think you read a book in every category.

      I love that your book group read paragraphs out loud. Love this!!

  7. Raven August 9, 2023 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    A book a friend recommended – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F… – by Mark Manson

    A memoir or autobiography – Spare – by Prince Harry (I love memoirs/autobiographies and I like this one.)

    A book for professional development (loosely defined) – Dare to Lead – by Brene Brown

    A book with a verb in the title – Get your Sh*t Together – by Sarah Knight

    An audiobook – If You Ask Me – by Betty White

    A book less than 100 pages – 5 Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed – by Bill Cotter (less than 100 pages but we’ve probably read it close to 100 times this summer :) )

    A book you read as a child – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – by Judy Blume

    Read out loud to someone. Could be a whole book, a favorite passage, or to a child – When I Pray for You – by Matthew Paul Turner (a fave for this Mom at bedtime)

    Listen to someone reading out loud (not an audio book, an actual person) – Palace of Books by Patricia Polacco (read by Amy Young :) )

    I only started about a month ago, so I’m proud of myself for getting as far as I did!

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Raven, I love memoirs too! I listened to Spare (got it from the library) and liked it too. And your comment about the Five Little Monsters made me laugh . . . yep, you’re neck deep in that phase of reading :)! (And thank you for listening to me read “Palace of Books” … we helped each other, ha!!)

  8. Rhonda August 10, 2023 at 6:33 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed being able to do this year’s Summer Challenge. It got be back into reading with love & pleasure. Defintiely helped that I was home for the summer and had a deck to use for reading. :) This summer I read quite a few mysteries, biographies and fictional history but was able to cover some of the challenges.

    Summer Reading Challenge 2023
    A Biography or about History: ‘Peace by Chocolate’- Jon Tattrie
    A book you already own: ‘The Brutal Telling’ –Louise Penny
    A book you’ve been wanting to reread: ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’ – Azar Nafisi
    A book a friend recommended: ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ – Taylor Jenkins Reid
    A YA book: ‘Ace of Spades’ – Fariah Abike-Lyimide
    A book of poetry: ‘The Wild Iris’ – Louise Gluck (also under a 100 pages)
    A memoir or autobiography: ‘Born a Crime’- Trevor Noah
    A book with a verb in the title: ‘Hang the Moon’ – Jeannette Walls
    A play: ‘A Taste of Honey’ – Shelagh Delaney (also under a 100 pages)
    A book about a country or culture have never visited: ‘Things Fall Apart’ – Chinue Achebe
    A book that won award: ‘Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI ’ – David Grann (NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST)
    A mystery: ‘Mrs. Jefferies delivers the Goods’- Emily Brightwell
    A classic: ‘Dubliners’ – James Joyce
    A book to discuss with others: ‘The Happiest Man on Earth’- Eddie Jaky (Highly recommend!)
    A book read as a child: ‘Dracula’ – Bram Stoker
    Penalty Book: ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’- Taylor Jenkins Reid

    Thanks for this year’s challenge Amy!

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Rhonda, love picturing you able to read more for fun this summer :). When you said you read a lot of “mysteries, biographies, and fictional history” … that just might cover every book :)!

      You, my friend, are a prolific reader and I love seeing your list!

      • Rhonda August 12, 2023 at 5:27 am - Reply

        Awe, thanks Amy! Will say, your categories do assist in expanding my reading selections. Love seeing your list also and everyone else who posts! I try to pick a few to read throughout the year and/or for the next summer. :)

      • Rhonda August 12, 2023 at 5:31 am - Reply

        Awe, thanks Amy! Your list assists in expanding my selections. I enjoy seeing what you and everyone else has read also. I find new interests that I make note of to read either throughout the year and/or for the next summer. :)

  9. Sarah Schmidt August 10, 2023 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    This was a strange in between kind of summer for me. I also read for my local library challenge but their start and end dates are completely different so hoping my memory is correct on when some of these were read.

    A book a friend recommended: Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan. Loved this historical fiction imagining of the love story between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. Highly recommend.

    A graphic novel: Ducks: Two Years in the Oilsands by Kate Beaton. This one won the Canada Reads contest this year. Really well done for a graphic novel but viewer discretion is definitely advised for sexual assault content.

    A book for professional development (loosely defined): Effortless by Greg McKeown. I wouldn’t recommend this one which surprised me

    A book with a verb in the title: Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved) by Kate Bowler. Loved this one – forced some re-examining of some of my deeply held beliefs in a very good way.

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton. I would also give this one a pass. It’s a historical fiction loosely based on an American woman in Paris who assisted the resistance during WWII but has confusing elements of the surrealist art movement and misses the mark in terms of conveying her story in my opinion.

    A book that won an award: Three Sisters by Heather Morris won Waterstones Paperback of the Year 2022 (but hey, an award is an award). Based on the true story of the Slovakian Meller sisters’ survival of Auschwitz.

    A book by someone with a different view point than you: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Bolan

    A mystery: Pandemic by Robin Cook

    A book with an animal: The Woman with the Cure by Lynn Cullen – the animals are the monkeys in the polio lab which play only a minor point in the story. :) The main story is about the role of a particular female physician in the fight against polio. An enjoyable read.

    A book you want to discuss with others: Houseless on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon – a beautifully written book about the Holocaust in Amsterdam. Highly recommend.

    Read out loud to someone. Could be a whole book, a favorite passage, or to a child: Little Prayers for Ordinary Days by Katy Bowser Hutson, Flo Paris Oakes and Tish Harrison Warren. This is a little book of prayers that capture many different moments in a child’s day and allow them to find words to talk to God.

    Listen to someone reading out loud (not an audio book, an actual person) Chuck’s Truck – read to me in part by my 5 year old who is just learning to read.

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      Sarah, ah . . . I’m glad you still was able to read in a strange in-between summer!

      I agree about Effortless, it was disappointing after Essentialism.

      I love hearing about the children’s prayer book (and have requested it from the library) and that your 5 year old read to you :)!!

  10. Lisa Anderson August 10, 2023 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    A biography or a book about history – Island of Missing Trees – Elif Shafak

    A book a friend recommended – Life After Life – Jill McCorkle

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited – Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

    A book that won an award. – Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout

    A book by someone with a different view point than you – A Million Things – Emily Spurr

    An audiobook – My Own Magic – Anna Kloots

    A book you want to discuss with others – The Music of Bees – Eileen Garvin

    Penalty book—subtract 2 books if you didn’t read – The Letter Keeper – Charles Martin

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      I read Homegoing in May . . . though a hard subject (!), so beautifully written and why I wanted to read Transcendent Kingdom :)

  11. Mary Beth Lott August 10, 2023 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    1. A book I already own: Revealing Revelation by Amir Tsarfati.
    Good overview. Makes Revelation easy to understand and relevant to our time.

    2. A book a friend recommended: Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop.
    Oh, the hours of my life I have spent uselessly crying over situations when I could have been productively lamenting!

    3. A memoir: From My Front Row Seat – A Collection of Stories from My Time Working Alongside Women in Recovery by Susan Binkley.
    Faith stares down the evils of alcohol and drug addiction. Inspiring.

    4. A book for professional development: Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg.
    I love reading about writing. And the author encourages reading as a means of improving writing!

    5. A classic: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
    Am I smarter than a 5th grader? Maybe not, but my 5th grader great-nephew read this last year. I felt pressure to get it under my reading belt.

    6. A book less than 100 pages: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
    Obviously not smarter than a 5th grader. Didn’t realize Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two different works. I now know better.

    7. A book you want to discuss with others: Unoffendable by Brant Hansen.
    My favorite of the bunch. Humorous and thought-provoking. The friend who recommended it said it substantially changed her life. Me, too!

    As always, the reading is the reward. Keep reading, everybody!

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Mary Beth :) … yes, the reading is the reward!

      The lament book intrigued me, so I’m going to get my hands on it. And I didn’t know that Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two books! I”m with you in 4th grade, wink!!

      I’ve heard of Unoffendable . . . and now, after reading what you wrote, need to read it as well!

  12. Emily Gee-Clark August 10, 2023 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks Amy for hosting this challenge. This is my second time participating, and I have really enjoyed it.
    Did not read my Penalty Book: How to Drive—Real World Advice and Instruction from Hollywood’s top driver by Ben Collins. It was way too intense and technical.
    My other books:
    1. A book less than 100 pages: Holy Spirit by AW Tozer
    2. A Young Adult book: Star Wars Ahsoka by EK Johnston
    3. A book by someone with a different viewpoint than you: The Lost Art of Housecleaning by Jan M Dougherty (She likes to clean; Me not so much) This book was the most impactful though. I experienced a complete paradigm shift and will never see the world the same, or as clean, again.
    4. A book with a verb in the title: Looking Good Everyday, Style Solutions for Real Women by Nancy Nix-Rice
    5. A book about a country or culture you have never visited: (France) Parisian Chic Encore! A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange and Sophie Gachet
    6. A book you want to discuss with others: Zero to Homeowner in Eight Simple Steps by Sam Loveless
    7. A book you already own: Curate—Inspiration for an Individual Home by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath
    8. A book that won an award: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Man Booker Prize)
    9. An audiobook: The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly by Margareta Magnusson

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      Amy August 11, 2023 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Emily, so glad you could join for a second summer (and I’m sorry about the penalty book … glad you know to move it off your to-read list and won’t have it hanging over you).

      I don’t like to clean either :) …. would you recommend I read the book about cleaning?

      • Emily Gee-Clark August 11, 2023 at 10:12 pm - Reply

        Hi Amy, I was very motivated to read the cleaning book because I was moving into a new house and wanted to do a deep clean correctly. The book taught me how to clean all components of a house in an efficient way, step-by-step. The book worked for me because I was putting the advice into practice as I was reading. So I do highly recommend the book, but my positive experience of it was increased because of its relevance to my situation.

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          Amy August 13, 2023 at 2:20 pm - Reply

          Ah! That’s interesting . . . this sounds like an excellent resource for moving into a new house. (And welcome to your new house!)

  13. Mary Raikes August 11, 2023 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    This year’s challenge came right in the middle of losing my job unexpectedly, so there has been lots of grief and healing.

    A book you already own: Breathe: 21 Days to Stress Less and Transform from Chaos to Calm by Bonnie Gray. Interestingly, I’d set my word(s) for the year as breathe, joy, and confidence, with no clue what this year would bring.

    A book you’ve been wanting to reread: The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

    A book a friend recommended: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune. Woah!! Not everyone will appreciate the themes in this magical realism book but it took me on an emotional journey.

    A memoir or autobiography: Miracles and Other Reasonable Things by Sarah Bessey

    A book for professional development: Self to Lose, Self to Find by Marilyn Vancil. A Christian exploration of the enneagram.

    A book longer than 600 pages: Fairy Tale by Stephen King. Okay, this was amazing, but in hindsight I shouldn’t have read it before bed when I have a very overactive imagination.

    A book with a verb in the title: Falling by T.J. Newman. A debut novel by a previous flight attendant. A thriller about a plane-jacking/ kidnapping.

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: Return to the Enchanted Island by Johary Ravaloson. About Madagascar but with weird time jumps and mysticism.

    A book that won an award: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. Don’t find out anything about this book, just dive in. Nice and short.

    A book by someone with a different viewpoint than you: Wintering by Katherine May.

    A book with an animal: A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet. This is a post-apocalyptic story that very loosely mimics Noah’s Ark in parts. Mostly an indictment on the way we have treated our planet.

    A book you want to discuss with others: The Ferryman by Justin Cronin. This would fit well in the category unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending. Messes with your head!

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Mary, I am so saddened to hear you lost your job. I’m so sorry.

      It looks like you read some books that would be helpful with grief and healing. Your comment about the Stephen King book made me smile . . . only because I’ve had some reads that were not the best before bed myself. Also, I keep seeing “A Children’s Bible” at the library and wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it (I’m not a big apocalypitic fan . . . though I can get behind the theme of treating the planet with respect!)

      Thanks for joining in!

      • Mary Raikes August 15, 2023 at 2:24 pm - Reply

        Thank you, it has been hard but I am getting help, and yes, the books I read have been part of that.

        A Children’s Bible is definitely not as depressing as other apocalyptic books. It focuses more on the teens discovering independence and living their own lives. It definitely has some desperate moments but a lot of it is hopeful.

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          Amy August 20, 2023 at 9:11 am - Reply

          Thanks for the additional info on A Children’s Bible :)

  14. Megan August 11, 2023 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I love this summer challenge every summer! This summer it was really helpful to have goals since my mom died in the middle of the summer and everything looks different now. I did not read as much as I normally do but still had some good reads.

    A biography or a book about history–This was my penalty book (The Dreamt Land by Mark Arax)–is is really great so far …but I am only 3/4 done so we start with a -2

    A book you already own–Visual Theology by Tim Challies–good info, less visuals than I was expecting

    A book you’ve been wanting to reread–Beartown by Fredrik Backman–love this book and it held up to a reread, I am working on finishing the series.

    A book a friend recommended–A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik–LOVED this book and the series. It is terribly hard to explain but it is magical education with extreme quirkiness.

    A Young Adult book (YA)–The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik–Book 2 in the series from above.

    A memoir or autobiography–My Knotted Up Life by Beth Moore–love the way that she shared her story.

    A graphic novel–Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck–tales of a small Menno town, loved some of the stories, didn’t get others.

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited–Us Against You by Fredrik Backman–this seems to be my summer of series, I didn’t like this one as much as Beartown.

    A book that won an award–House of Breath and Sky by Sarah J. Maas–I hated this book, I only finished it because I am trying to read all the Goodreads Choice winners from last year.

    A mystery–Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak –more of a Thiller, engaging story.

    An audiobook–Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaquad–I love listening to memoirs and this was an excellent telling of the impact cancer has on a patient for the rest of their life.

    A book you want to discuss with others—Yellowface by R. F. Kuang –such a great look at publishing and what in means to tell an authentic story and how people react.

    Read out loud to someone. Could be a whole book, a favorite passage, or to a child–Every Moment Holy Volume II by Douglas McKelvey–I read passages from this to my mom while she was dying, it was an amazing way to start to process through hard and holy moments.

    Penalty book—subtract 2 books if you didn’t read–talked about this in the beginning .

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      Megan, everything does look different after the death of a loved one . . . I’m so sorry for the loss and the void in your life.

      Also 3/4 though a penalty book in the misses of your loss, not -2 but +127 :).

      I’ve requested A Deadly Education from the library . . . thanks for the suggestion!

      And Megan, what a beautiful picture of you reading from Every Moment Holy (V2) to your mom. This is lovely. You’ve probably heard me say that the being with my dad as he died was hard and holy . . . we’ve read several of the liturgies from this book in the Aging Parents Cohort.

      Thanks for participating and sharing a bit of your summer of reading and loss. Hugs.

  15. Elaine August 11, 2023 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    Hi! I love this Summer Reading Challenge! Thank you for hosting it again this year, Amy!

    -I did NOT finish my penalty book in time. Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Dr. Becky Kennedy. I considered racing through the last 100 pages in order to finish in time, but then I decided that I wouldn’t be able to take in the content as well. So I will keep reading through this one slowly.

    -A book a friend recommended: Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (Fun and fast, but a lot of wealth and privilege involved.)
    -A YA book: Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross (The beginning of a series!)
    -A memoir or autobiography: I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy (The title makes more sense once you get into her story.)
    -A graphic novel: Ay, Mija! by Christine Suggs (A teen’s discovery of her family roots and language…delightful!)
    -A book for professional development (loosely defined): Everything In Its Place: The Power of Mise-En-Place to Organize Your Life, Work, and Mind by Dan Charnas (A look into how chefs organize their work along with practical applications for a non-chef’s life too.)
    -A book with a verb in the title: You Can’t Stay Here Forever by Katherine Lin (Fiction about healing after loss and infidelity.)
    -A book about a country or culture you have never visited: (South Korea) Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital by Elise Hu (This is making me re-think if I want to spend money on face serums!)
    -A mystery: Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Pure fun!)
    -A book you want to discuss with others: It. Goes. By. So. Fast: The Year of No Do-overs by Mary Louise Kelly (The NPR All Things Considered host writes about her son’s last year at home before moving to college.)
    -A book in a different language than English: (Spanish) Gus Hace Un Regalo by Frank Remkiewicz (Good practice for verb tenses!)

    I love reading everyone’s posts and adding more books to my TBR! Happy reading, everyone!

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      Elaine, you’re so welcome! I’m ending up with a very long list of books :). Ha!

      Everything In Its Place: The Power of Mise-En-Place to Organize Your Life, Work, and Mind . . . this sounds so interesting! I love getting in the mind of other people :).

      “Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital by Elise Hu (This is making me re-think if I want to spend money on face serums!)” . . . now I’m so curious :)!!

      Thanks for joining in again :)!

  16. Stina August 12, 2023 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I finished 20 books but took a two-book penalty for a final count of 18. I also did the two activities.

    A biography or a book about history – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    A book you already own – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

    A book you’ve been wanting to reread – How to Lie with Statistics

    A book a friend recommended – Siren Queen

    A Young Adult book (YA) – Heartstoppers, Volume 1

    A book of poetry – Madeline

    A memoir or autobiography – Someone Like Me

    A graphic novel – The Feast of the Moon

    A book for professional development (loosely defined) – The Likeability Trap

    A book with a verb in the title – If the Shoe Fits

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited – The Devotion of Suspect X

    A book that won an award – Less

    A book by someone with a different view point than you – Betty Zane

    A book by an author you know (get “credit” for supporting your friends 😊) – The Running of the Tyrannosaurs

    A mystery – Murder at the Spring Ball

    A classic – The Light Princess

    An audiobook – The Rider of Lost Creek

    A book with an animal – Rocco Adventures in Italy: At the Beach

    A book less than 100 pages – Big Trouble in Little Rodentia

    A book you want to discuss with others – This Time Tomorrow

    Read out loud to someone. Could be a whole book, a favorite passage, or to a child – I read a poem from Villains and Vengeance aloud during a Zoom meeting about poetry.

    Listen to someone reading out loud (not an audio book, an actual person) – I listened to poems read aloud from Poetry Society of Colorado’s Centennial Anthology.

    Penalty book—subtract 2 books if you didn’t read. A Tale of Two Cities – did not finish

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      Stina, 20 books? Well done :) . . . or should I say, well read!

      And I love that you read a poem in a zoom meeting. It’s been fun to see the different places that people have read out loud!

  17. Hannah August 13, 2023 at 1:23 am - Reply

    A book a friend recommended: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

    A memoir or autobiography: What Cannot Be Lost by Melissa Zaldivar

    A graphic novel: Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak (not truly a graphic novel, but a novel with pictures)

    A book for professional development (loosely defined): The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

    A book with a verb in the title: Never Lie by Freida McFadden

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Map of Salt and Stars (Middle East/North Africa)

    A book that won an award: Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Pulitzer Prize winner, but my least favorite book of the summer)

    A book by someone with a different view point than you: American Street by Ibi Zoboi (this is a loose interpretation–Voodoo was a significant part of this novel)

    A mystery: The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

    An audiobook: Sourdough by Robin Sloan

    A book with an animal: Murder is a Piece of Cake by Valerie Burns

    A book you want to discuss with others: Even If by Mitchel Lee (was read for a book club)

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Hannah, thanks for participating :)! I’ve wanted to read The Map of Salt and Stars . . . would you recommend it?

      :)

      • Hannah August 15, 2023 at 6:58 am - Reply

        I would recommend it. I wouldn’t put it on a favorite books list, but it was still a good read and grew my compassion for refugees.

  18. Christy J August 13, 2023 at 7:47 am - Reply

    It was a different kind of summer for reading for me because I took a long solo road trip through the whole west coast, so my list is heavy on the audiobooks. I don’t usually like to listen to books but it turned out to be a great way to keep myself going on the long drives. Plus I read a lot of other books at the beach and in parks and hotel rooms. It was fun having so many different reading locations.

    Here is my list:

    A biography or a book about history: A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (this is historical fiction, but I learned a lot about the Spanish Civil War and Chile)

    A book you already own: The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

    A book a friend recommended: Julia’s Last Hope by Janette Oke

    A memoir or autobiography: An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff (made me think a lot about how often I walk by people on the street without paying any attention to them, and what might be going on in their lives)

    A book for professional development (loosely defined): Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove (super loosely defined because this book was totally fiction, but it was about end times and I teach Bible, so it was food for thought for me)

    A book longer than 600 pages (counts as two books): Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (this book was over 1200 pages and it was my penalty book because I started it in January of 2022 and wanted to actually finish. I enjoy this series a lot but the books are so long I can’t read it all at once. Anyway, I finished it and just have one more to go to catch up with the series.)

    A book with a verb in the title: Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: Doomsday Match by Jeff Wheeler ( this was a fun thriller, but it had some interesting cultural aspects from the Mayan civilization)

    A book that won an award: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (This was also one of my audiobooks and one I wanted to discuss with others. Since I listened to it alone in my car I sadly had no one to talk about it with. It made me very grateful for the things I have in life. My road trip was so much easier than the one they did in the book during the Depression!)

    A book by someone with a different view point than you: The Fire Gospel by Michel Faber (this was the only book of the summer that I didn’t like)

    A mystery: Breathless by Amy McCullough (really enjoyed this one-a mystery set in the Himalayas on a mountain climbing expedition)

    An audiobook: The Guest List by Lucy Foley; To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (I think it also qualifies as an over 600 page book as the audio version was 32 hours long); The Fork, the Witch and the Worm by Christopher Paolini; and Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini (I was on a bit of a sci-fi groove with Paolini’s books for a while)

    A book with an animal: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (really enjoyed this one, I have liked all of Doerr’s books)

    A book you want to discuss with others: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

    Read out loud to someone: Emma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke (I read this to my niece, whose name is Emmaline, Emma for short, so she was imagining the she was the main character. So fun!)

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Christy :)! Your solo road trip sounds lovely.

      Guess what my book group is going to read for September? Four winds! Now I’m going to think of you and your road trip as I read :). And I LOVE the picture of you reading about Emma to Emma :). So fun indeed!

  19. Anna Smith August 13, 2023 at 11:31 am - Reply

    My books :)

    A book about history – 28 Days by David Safier

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited – Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley

    A book a friend recommended – Forgotten God by Francis Chan

    An audiobook – The Fuel and the Flame by Steve Shadrack and Paul Worcester

    A Young Adult Book – Wishtress by Nadine Brandes

    A book in a different language – Harry Potter y el Cáliz de Fuego by J.K. Rowling

    A book longer than 600 pages – Harry Potter y el Órden del Fénix (922 pages en español)

    A book you read out loud – The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale (read to Chloe)

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      Amy August 13, 2023 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      Anna, I’m impressed by how many books you’ve read in Spanish! (and how long they are!). And I love that you read a book to Chloe. I think I used to know a Shannon Hale . . . but I don’t think she’s an author. :)

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    Amy August 13, 2023 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Christy :)! Your solo road trip sounds lovely.

    Guess what my book group is going to read for September? Four winds! Now I’m going to think of you and your road trip as I read :). And I LOVE the picture of you reading about Emma to Emma :). So fun indeed!

  21. LeAnne Parham August 13, 2023 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    I may be too late to participate, but since I’ve been finished for quite some time, I still want to post.

    A Biography or about history: Killers of the Flower Moon
    A book I already own: The Secret Book of Flora Lea
    A book a friend recommended: Speaker for the Dead
    A book about a country I’ve never visited: One Italian Summer
    A book by an author I know: The Feared (I actually don’t know her, but she was trying to get traction for her book in a FB book group I’m in, so I bought and read to support her.)
    A mystery: Dark of Night
    An audiobook: If I Were You
    A book with an animal: Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingoes
    A book I want to discuss: Anxious People

    Penalty Book: A Gentleman in Moscow

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      Amy August 14, 2023 at 11:19 am - Reply

      LeAnne, you’re not too late :)! It’s always fun to see what you read :)!

  22. Liz Schouten August 14, 2023 at 11:29 am - Reply

    What a great idea, Amy! Glad I got to participate.

    So, first I’ll own up to a bit of a binge:
    Crime Thriller Novels by Lee Child, all part of the Jack Reacher series:
    Personal
    Midnight Line
    Night School
    Make Me
    Never Go Back
    Better Off Dead
    No Middle Name (Collection of Short Stories)

    For personal and sortof professional development:
    *using CGs here, Amy!*
    Engaging Is—, by G. Housseney
    The 3D G**pel, by J. Georges

    Still in progress:
    Cross-Cultural Servanthood, by D. Elmer *Hoping to finish this one today!
    Seeking A—-, Finding J—-, by N. Qureshi (have read before, just rereading as a refresher)
    Every Square Inch, by B.R. Ashford
    Killing Floor, by Lee Child
    What If Jesus was Serious? A Visual Guide to the Teachings of Jesus We Love to Ignore, by S. Jethani

    A Book by an Author I Know, Which I Would be rereading if it wasn’t in transit from China:
    Looming Transitions, by the fantabulous Amy Young. As we are a week out from moving to a new country….would have been helpful, you know?!?

    Probably read but forgot to make a note:
    a Regency Romance by Georgette Heyer or Grace Burrows. I read a lot of those. :)

    Book I want to read, but it only just came out:
    Baking Yesteryear, by D. Hollis

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      Amy August 20, 2023 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Liz!! So glad you’re here :)!

      I haven’t heard of that S Jethani book . . . though I loved his book “With”, so now will check this one out :)!

  23. Sarah August 14, 2023 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Ahh, back to school strikes and I didn’t get this posted until August 15! But I did read quite a bit over the summer and always enjoy reading everyone else’s recommendations, so I’ll add mine here.

    I read 30 books this summer; although most were audiobooks that I listened to while traveling. Here are some highlights:

    Friend Recommendation: Killers of a Certain Age–Retired female assassins and the organization they worked for is out to get them. I laughed so much and thoroughly enjoyed this one.

    YA: (As a MS teacher this is mostly what I read) Echo–WWII fiction told in multiple threads around a “magical” harmonica. HIGHLY recommend the audio of this; it was filled with so much music. It was magical!

    Memoir: One Jump at a Time by Nathan Chen, Becoming Free Indeed by Jinger Duggar Vuolo

    A book about a country or culture you’ve never visited: The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton

    A Mystery: Only Survivors by Megan Miranda and The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth (Not my favorite of either author’s work)

    Audiobook: Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See (Not my favorite of hers)

    A book with an animal: The One and Only Ruby

    A book to discuss with others: Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (My book club read Babel in May-loved it–this one not so much.)

    It was kind of a bummer of a summer for reading, so I’m excited for other recommendations!

    • Mary Raikes August 15, 2023 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Ooh yes, Killers of a Certain Age was a fun one!

      I love Lisa See books but haven’t read that one yet.

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      Amy August 20, 2023 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Back to school strikes are stressful! I’m sorry.

      And 30 books! Wow :) And thanks for the audio book recommendation of Echo! I’m going to get that from the library!!

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