Calling all readers, it is a day of rejoicing because the Summer Reading Challenge 2019 is here! If you can believe it, this is the fourth summer of the challenge.

Like a kid pouring over the toy catalog in days gone by, I’ve chatted with family members, dreamed about books, and looked for ways to expand the reading challenge. Today, I  am excited today to reveal this summer’s reading challenge!

It will start on June 1  and run through August 16, 2019. To enter, read seven books from 24 categories. Along the way, I’ll touch base and have several book giveaways planned.

What is different?

  • For fun, I scrapped the previous reading challenge and created a fresh one for us.
  • Many categories will be similar because reading is reading. But you will notice a few new gems —an audiobook, a book with a verb in the title, a book under 100 pages. People, I love this challenge so much I almost added more book as I wrote this paragraph. I need help!
  • This year if you do not read your “penalty” book, you will subtract two books from your total (last year we were only docked one book).

What is the same?

  • Counting a book of more than 700 pages as two books.
  • Choosing a penalty book within the first week of the year. A penalty book or category you will read or be penalized. Last year I picked The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism, as my penalty book at it worked! I finally read a book I had planned for at least three years to read. My intention is strong and will weak. And I am all the richer for reading it. I even blogged about Ten Takeaways from The Bully Pulpit.
  • More fun categories than ever!

What’s in it for you?

  • All who comment on August 16-19th 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
  • A book I already own
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A Young Adult book (YA)
  • A book with a great cover
  • A book of poetry
  • A memoir or autobiography
  • A graphic Novel
  • A book you might disagree with
  • A book for professional development (loosely defined)
  • A book longer than 700 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 about history
  • A book that won an award
  • A classic
  • A novel by an author you have never read before
  • An audiobook
  • A book related to a skill
  • A book recommended by someone you know
  • A book with an animal
  • A book less than 100 pages
  • A book You want to discuss with others

My penalty book is: Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Download the 2019 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!


In short: Read seven books from June 1 to August 16, 2019.

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

Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

Leave A Comment

  1. Rhonda May 28, 2019 at 7:27 am - Reply

    YES!!! Question: Two categories for a book related to a skill?

    Great timing! Just ordered 15 books for when I arrive home and I will be home from June 4th to Aug. 15th. :)

    • Avatar photo
      Amy May 28, 2019 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Oops!! Meant to be one :) … great eye! (And can I tell you how many times I have read this and my brain never caught it. Alas! and thank you!). Just one book related to a skill. Thanks, friend! And I”m glad the challenge coincides so well with your time home!

      • Rhonda May 29, 2019 at 6:17 pm - Reply

        Can completely relate! So many times that has happen to me too. :)

        Me too! Will be starting the challenge on Monday on my flight home. :D

  2. Raven May 28, 2019 at 8:12 am - Reply

    I’ve been looking forward to this! I’ll actually have a break from school coming soon, so all the more excitement for reading the books I get to pick!

  3. Christy J May 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Yay for the summer reading challenge! One of my favorite ways to spend my summer. Do books that I started before June 1 but will finish after June 1 count towards my total? I just started the one that I wanted to use as my penalty book because I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks).

    Also, I really like the category “A book you want to discuss with others”, although I generally feel that way about most books so I think probably most of the things I read could fit there!

  4. Mabel May 31, 2019 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Yay! I am so excited for this. I always read books that I want to read, but don’t gravitate toward normally, with this challenge. Thanks for doing this Amy, it is so much fun to look at the categories and pick books.

    This year my penalty book is Quiet by Susan Cain. I am an introvert and I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I will do it this summer!

  5. […] Summer Reading Challenge 2019 at the Messy Middle […]

  6. Jari June 1, 2019 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Can you tell me what a penalty book is? Thanks.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy June 1, 2019 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Sure! A penalty book is one you declare now, at the beginning of the challenge, that you WILL read. If you don’t read it, you get a penalty :)

  7. Rachel June 5, 2019 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this list!

  8. Paulette June 7, 2019 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Hi Amy!

    So excited that I just happened to visit your blog the day before yesterday, and there at the top was a Summer Reading Challenge! Especially since I’ll soon be heading to the wondrous “land of libraries”, one of the nicknames I’ve given to the States since living overseas.

    I am so in! Started reading yesterday, in fact.

    My penalty book is Inverso, by Marcelo Carvalho.

    A friend lent it to me last fall, highly recommending it, but I keep reading other books instead. At any rate, read or unread, this book needs to be returned to her before I leave for home assignment on June 25th. Making it my penalty book just might be the kick in the pants I need to finally read past the introduction. If it works, I owe you one! :)

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