The day that we have all been longing for is here :)! The end of the Summer 2017 Reading Challenge. Like runners at the end of a race, maybe you have stumbled across the finish line and are now collapsed and gasping for air.
But once you catch your breath, HIGH FIVE TO YOU! You made it! I made it! We made it! On Tuesday as I checked into the gym, I chatted with the front desk gal about what I had going on this week. I mentioned writing this post about the end of our Summer Reading Challenge ad told her the goal was 7 books, but that I had read 16 books. A trainer standing next to her looked at me like I am an alien and asked, “Do you have a job?!”
Ha!!! I do. But these challenges help me live into the person I want to be. So, I repeat. HIGH FIVES all around! We made it.
Well, how did it go? Remember, in The Summer Reading Challenge the goal was to read seven books between June 1 and August 17th. You enter for one of the ten $10 Amazon gift cards by leaving a comment on this post. Even if you didn’t read seven, still share what you read! This isn’t really a contest so much as a chance to share and a chance to see how many books we read collectively.
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 book related to professional development (can be loosely interpreted).
- A book that helps you understand part of history better.
- A book placed in a country you’re not familiar with OR about a country you’re not familiar with.
- A YA book.
- A book recommended by a friend.
- A graphic novel.
- A book you’ve been meaning to read.
- A book published more than 100 years ago.
- A book recommended by a teenager.
- A biography.
- A play.
- A memoir
- A book by someone you might not spiritually agree with.
- A book that won an award.
- A book you read years ago and have meant to reread.
- A book that has been translated into English.
- A book that is more than 700 pages (counts for two books!)
- A mystery.
- A book related to a skill (like cooking, writing, photography, or web-design).
- A book by an author you know.
1. A book related to professional development (can be loosely interpreted).
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. Sheryl’s husband dropped dead on the basketball court, dropping her into Option B for her life. Interested in learning about fostering resilience? This book is for you.
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni. A must read. One of the best reads of the summer. Life is messy and hard, yes. But that doesn’t mean we are helpless. Highly skilled people are not the primary advantage, organizational health is. Again, a must read for your family, team, church, non-profit, or job.
Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David. If you find yourself stuck in a pattern of thinking or behaving that isn’t helping you? This books will help.
2. A book that helps you understand part of history better.
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang. This two book graphic novels brilliantly tells the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900) from both the side of the Boxers and a Chinese convert to Christianity (Saint). If history really isn’t your bag, maybe try coming in through the side door of the graphic novel.
4. A Young Adult (YA) book.
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson. From Amazon: “This is the true story of a city under siege: the triumph of bravery and defiance in the face of terrifying odds. It is also a look at the power—and layered meaning—of music in beleaguered lives. Symphony for the City of the Dead is a masterwork thrillingly told and impeccably researched by National Book Award–winning author M. T. Anderson.” Longest siege in recorded history (872 days) and more people died in this siege than all of American and British deaths. Fascinating and disturbing.
5. A book recommended by a friend.
The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway. Okay, so half read in May, half after the challenge began. My friend (and also an author) Kay Bruner recommended this memoir for the Velvet Ashes book club. From Amazon, “Conway spent her first 11 years in the windswept grasslands of Australia, where her father owned 30,000 acres of arid land. Though his ability to understand the land was extensive, an eight-year drought finally defeated him, and he comitted suicide. A few years later, Conway’s oldest brother died in an automobile accident. The two deaths plunged her mother into depression. Out of this tale of hard work, drought, and sorrow, Conway emerges with character and personal strength.”
6. A graphic novel.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. From Amazon: “Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again.”
7. A book you’ve been meaning to read.
Ugh. The ONE book I started this whole challenge last summer to read? Still have not read. Sigh :).
9. A book recommended by a teenager.
Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi. My oldest niece read this last summer and recommended it to me. Bonus, this is a graphic novel and read quickly. If you want a quick, light read about Shackleton, this is a good place to start. If you want more, try Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage.
12. A memoir.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance. Wow. I had to keep reminding myself that J.D. is YOUNGER than me. I was not reading the life of someone from a different era. He writes beautifully honest about the hillbilly culture he was able to escape. One takeaway? Do not underestimate the power of one person (his grandma) to change a life.
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron. If someone you know and love has experienced or experiences depression and you don’t, this memoir is for you. Styron is able to verbalize his experience in such a way that you will go, “Oh, wow, it’s like that?” A short, but powerful read.
13. A book by someone you might not spiritually agree with.
Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash. I discovered this book in the library trying to find a book by or about the Dalai Lama. Ghobash is interesting because he is half-Russian, half-UAE, studied in London, and is now the ambassador to Russia from the UAE. These letters were written to his sons. He seems more of a moderate muslim. It wasn’t a bad read, but didn’t really help me understand a perspective that different from a western educated person.
14. A book that won an award.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce. It won the UK National Book Award for New Writer of the Year 2012.“You have to love Harold Fry, a man who set out one morning to mail a letter and then just kept going. . . . Like Christian in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Harold becomes Everyman in the eyes of those who encounter him. . . . Harold’s journey, which parallels Christian’s nicely but not overly neatly, takes him to the edge of death and back again. It will stick with you, this story of faith, fidelity and redemption.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune. I’m a fan of Harold! If you liked A Man Called Ove: A Novel, this is your kind of book.
16. A book that has been translated into English.
Speaking of . . . A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman. I am 75% through re-reading this book. We are reading it for the Velvet Ashes book club and loving it!
17. A book that is more than 700 pages (counts for two books!)
Double UGH. See #7
19. A book related to a skill (like cooking, writing, photography, or web-design).
Is finding readers a skill for a writer? I think so :). The Prosperous Writer’s Guide to Finding Readers: Build Your Author Brand, Raise Your Profile, and Find Readers to Delight by Honoree Corder.
20. A book by an author you know.
Flee, Be Silent, Pray: An Anxious Evangelical Finds Peace with God through Contemplative Prayer by Ed Cyzewski. I loved this book. Though I didn’t come out of the Catholic tradition, I found Ed to be a fellow companion in seeking to add contemplative practices to his life.
You can see I didn’t read in every category and I’m drawn to non-fiction more than fiction. Next summer I’m going to make better categories to encourage novel reading :). Seriously? Why didn’t I read a novel or a play? Why can I not pass up a memoir (I didn’t include all I read because I am an addict and this is embarrassing).
I come back to this not being a contest, if you read four books and that was your goal, great! I just find that I’m more likely to accomplish my goals if I tell people what they are.
I can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading. I’ll pick winners next Tuesday so you have time this weekend to leave a comment.
Thank you for joining in!
P.S. I have a little something up my sleeve for us in September :). Are you curious? Ha!—That was a clue.