Calling all readers!

It’s a day of rejoicing because the Summer Reading Challenge 2023 is here … or the Winter Reading Challenge for my Southern Hemisphere friends! If you can believe it, this is the eighth summer of the challenge.

If this is your first year, welcome! If you’ve been doing this challenge from the beginning, I bet you’ve felt this too . . . With the turning of April into May, I’ve begun to notice a low buzz of reading excitement. I think to myself, “It’s coming!”

Nine summers ago the primary emotion of my summer was resentment. I associated childhood summers with spaciousness, a bit of boredom, and reading. My adult summers felt the opposite—crowded, busy, and no leisurely reading. While there’s much I love about being an adult, I missed summer reading and decided something needed to change.

I also noticed that left to my own, I read the same kind of book over and over, always meaning to get to other types of books. I don’t make time to read outside of my familiar categories because I have work, responsibilities, and intentions that, it turns out, can be strong ruts in my reading leading me to the same watering holes. So, thank you one and all of joining in and during this challenge we all become more well-rounded readers!

It will start on June 1  and run through August 11, 2023. To enter, read seven books from 25 categories and leave a comment at the end of the challenge with the books you read. That’s all. No entrance fee, no hassle, just fun.

What’s different?

  • I tried to find a book we could read in community, but the author didn’t get back to me. So, this idea will have to wait for another summer. Is that something you’d be interested in?
  • A few new categories: read in a book in a foreign language, read out lout to someone, and listen to someone read out loud (not an audio book, an actual person) to name a few
  • The picture for the reading challenge this challenge was taken by me :). Have any of you every visited Cannon Beach Book Company (in Cannon Beach, Oregon)? Their website claims that they are the “perfect browser’s book store” and I agree. The owner and staff were delightful!
  • I lowered the “700 page book” to 600 pages

What’s the same?

  • Many categories will be similar because reading is reading. As mentioned above, you will notice a few new gems
  • Choosing a penalty book within the first week of the challenge. A penalty book or category is one you declare to yourself I will read or be penalized. The last five summers I’ve selected a penalty book and it worked, except that my penalty book last year was horrible. I’m now a bit gun shy, but am reminding my self that my track record is 80% good books. I tend to choose “long” history books that I have meant to get around to and this summer is no different. My penalty book for 2023 is No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (I have been meaning to read this for year and I like her writing).
  • Like previous years, if you do not read your “penalty” book, you will subtract two books from your total.
  • The joy of reading!

What’s in it for you?

  • All who comment between August 10-14th with the names of the books they read will be entered to win one of ten $10 Amazon gift cards.

Drumroll . . . here are the categories!

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

Download the 2023 Summer Reading Challenge

Download the 2023 Summer Reading Challenge, print it off, and track your progress. But most of all, have fun and read books you might not read in other times of the year!

My penalty book is No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin


In short: Read seven books from June 1 to August 11, 2023.

Are you in? What books are you looking forward to reading during the challenge?

Happy Reading, Amy

Leave A Comment

  1. Jamie May 22, 2023 at 7:02 am - Reply

    I’m in again!
    I work as mentor for the activity at our county behavioral health, where I am a client. Our activities leader began a weekly book club in which she reads a mental-heath-related book out loud over several weeks. She just finished the first one she selected, and the second is scheduled to begin in June. So I’ve got the “Listening to someone reading outloud” is covered! I can find plenty of books in Spanish where I live.

  2. Elaine May 22, 2023 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Yay! I love your Summer Reading Challenge! I’m in! The Penalty book really helps in making a small dent in my To Be Read pile.

  3. LeAnne Parham May 25, 2023 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    I’m in again!

  4. Michele May 27, 2023 at 6:17 am - Reply

    I LOVE the summer reading challenge! I thought about it a couple of weeks ago when I hit the middle of a 700 page book and realized, “Ack! I should have saved this for the summer challenge!” Now, to open the library on my Kindle and start a plan for the summer…

  5. Martha Lester June 2, 2023 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I’m in!

  6. Stina June 7, 2023 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    I’m in! And my penalty book is A Tale of Two Cities. (Dickens and I do not get along. It took me more than a decade to get through Great Expectations.)

    I have a lot of other stuff I’m looking forward to. I hope tomorrow I can get to The Feast of the Moon, which is a prequel to the new D&D movie.

  7. Juliet Birkbeck June 25, 2023 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a lovely thing to do over the summer. I’m definitely in!

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