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Congrats for making it to the end of the Summer Reading Challenge 2022! 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. I am embarrassed to say I only read one novel.

2. Thanks to the “Penalty Book” category, for the fifth summer I read a book I have been meaning to read for ages! Go penalty books! Unfortunately, for the first time, my penalty book was a massive disappointment.

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 12th. 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 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.

—Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen.

—A Biography or 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 with a great cover

—A book of poetry

—A memoir or autobiography

—A graphic novel

—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 with the number 7 in the title or subtitle (in honor of this being the 7th anniversary)

—A book that won an award

—A book by someone with a different view point than you recommended you read

—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

Penalty book (subtract two books if you didn’t read this book)

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

Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhoodby Gary Paulsen: Reread it this summer. Still love his writing and ability to craft a story in an unexpected way, in this case a memoir in the style of a YA book. (5 stars)

A Biography or about historyHero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard (5 stars)

A book with a great coverBecoming More Fruitful by me :) . . . it will be out on Tuesday! (5 stars and a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and love)

A memoir or autobiographyGehrig and the Babe: The Friendship and the Feud by Tony Castro (4 stars)

A graphic novelDiscipline by Dash Shaw (3 stars)

A book for professional development (loosely defined): Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Saundra Dalton-Smith (4 stars)

A book longer than 700 pages (counts as two books)Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan by Edmund Morris (History gets 4 stars, fake story teller named after the author? Negative 5 stars!!! Do not read this book; it was too confusing to sort out what was actual history and what was Fake Edmund’s life. Hard pass.)

A book about a country or culture you have never visitedRiver of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard (4 stars)

A book with the number 7 in the title or subtitle (in honor of this being the 7th anniversary): I started a book with a 7 in the title but I’m not even going to tell you what it was to not be cruel to the author. Don’t waste your time. (2 stars, which is more than Edmund Morris got!!!)

A book that won an awardThe Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet  by John Green won the Goodreads Choice winner for Nonfiction 2021 (He gave a 5 star rating to at the end of each essay to the subject, thus my hat tip with my 5 star rating, 4 stars)

A mysteryThe Last Flight by Julie Clark (fun, light read, 5 stars)

An audiobookThe Lord Is My Courage: Stepping Through the Shadows of Fear Toward the Voice of Love by KJ Ramsey (5 stars)

A book less than 100 pagesThe Self-Aware Leader by John C. Maxwell (Technically more than 100 pages, but that’s because if you choose a small cover and paper, you make a short book long :). If this were “typical” size? Less than 100 pages) (4 stars)

A book you want to discuss with othersMaking Numbers Count: The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers by Chip Heath and Karla Starr (5 stars and one exclamation point!)

Penalty book: Dutch: A memoir of Ronald Reagan (I read about 30 pages of notes to clear the 700 page goal too)

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 just find that I’m more likely to accomplish my goals if I tell people what they are. I would not have read the short book or the graphic novel and I’m 99% sure I would still be intending to read Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan by Edmund Morris. Thanks to you, I read all of them and can move on from Dutch once and for all times.

All who comment between August 11-15th 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!


P.S. I need to read more novels in 2023. Can you believe I only read one this summer? That is pathetic :)

P.P.S. In preparing my list I enjoyed looking over what I read last summer and thought you might like to see what you read. If you left a comment last summer, you can reread what you read here.

Leave A Comment

  1. Clare August 11, 2022 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Here are my books…

    Professional Development: Better Than Carrots or Sticks by Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey
    Great Cover: The Lazy Genius Kitchen by Kendra Adachi
    Less than 100 Pages: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
    Book with a Verb in the Title: Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper
    Memoir: A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost
    Country or Culture You’ve Never Visited: North to Paradise by Ousman Umar
    Book a Friend Recommended: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
    Book to Discuss with Others: How to Pray by Pete Grieg

    I also read “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Seasons” and “Breadsong”—both of which I highly recommend, but didn’t quite know which category to put them in!

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:13 am - Reply

      I know that some books don’t fit easily into the categories :) . . . I might need to shift them next summer! Thanks for including them ! I’m now curious to read “Wintering” :)

  2. Phyllis August 12, 2022 at 5:14 am - Reply

    If it’s okay, I’m going to do this backwards; I’ll paste in my list, and then mark the ones that fit into categories.

    -Gone to the Woods, by Gary Paulsen: I liked it, but I want to hear more from Amy about why it was so important to her.
    -Gentle and Lowly, by Dane Ortlund: Audiobook.
    -Women of the Word, by Jen Wilkin: Audiobook.
    -Серые Пчелы. Андрей Курков: This was my penalty book, but it wasn’t hard reading at all. I just needed to get started on it. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand some of the background of what is happening in Ukraine now. Grey Bees by Andrei Kurkov. Excellent!
    -Poets’ Corner, by John Lithgow: I’ll count this as a book of poetry, even though it’s not only poetry.
    -On Guard, by William Lane Craig: Recommended my a friend… or in this case, by my father. :-)
    -The Wise Woman/A Double Story, by George MacDonald: No category?
    -The Hidden Art of Homemaking, by Edith Schaeffer: A book you’ve been wanting to reread
    -A Lantern in Her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich: A book a friend recommended
    -Rainbow Valley, by L. M. Montgomery: A book you read as a child
    -The Blythes Are Quoted, by L. M. Montgomery: I was rereading all the Anne books, and I found this: a “new” one!
    -A Different Kind of Happiness, by Larry Crabb: The best book I read this summer
    -The Girl Who Owned a City, by O. T. Nelson: A Young Adult book (YA)

    And then also…
    A book with a great cover: Unseen, by Sara Hagerty. I’m not quite done with it, so I can’t count it in my list, but I just love the cover. The book is pretty great, too. :-)

    • Allie August 12, 2022 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      I’m reading Gentle and Lowly too ;)

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Now I’m curious to read “The Blythes Are Quoted!”

      In answer to your question, part of it was I’ve never recommended a book. (I really do NOT like reading programs or challenges that choose the books you must read. What if I don’t want to read them?!) So when I read “Gone to the Woods” in February of this year it was such an unexpected delight of mixing genres (Memoir told in 3rd person and written as a YA novel). In addition, I had first been exposed to Gary Paulsen years ago through his book Hatchet and knew that many of his books involved the outdoors. “Gone to the Woods” felt the like origin story of where that love came from. It was not easy to read about much of his childhood! And his parents?!!!!! But his way with words and the way he told the story and the difference that librarian made in his life? They encouraged me.

      I wouldn’t never have heard of the book if someone hadn’t lent it to my mom to read and I thought the same might be true for other readers :).

  3. Jamie August 12, 2022 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood–Gary Paulsen
    A Biography or about history: Hiroshima–John Hersey
    A book you already own: The Summer of Jordi Perez–Amy Spalding
    A book you’ve been wanting to reread: Willow Weep for Me–Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
    A book a friend recommended: A Crack in the Sea–H.M. Bouwman
    A Young Adult book (YA): Listen to Your Heart–Kasie West
    A book with a great cover: The Guncle–Steven Rowley
    A book of poetry: Vanilla–Billy Merrell
    A memoir or autobiography: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama–Bob Odenkirk
    A graphic novel: Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max–Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
    A book for professional development (loosely defined): Decluttering at the Speed of Life–Dana K. White
    A book longer than 700 pages (counts as two books): Voyager–Diana Gabaldon
    A book with a verb in the title: Would Like to Meet–Rachel Winters
    A play: The Merchant of Venice–William Shakespeare
    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: Half a Yellow Sun–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    A book with the number 7 in the title or subtitle (in honor of this being the 7th anniversary): Punk 57–Penelope Douglas
    A book that won an award: The Girl Who Drank the Moon–Kelly Barnhill
    A book by someone with a different view point than you recommended you read: Poor Unfortunate Soul–Serena Valentino
    A mystery: The Coldest Case–Martin Walker
    A classic: Anne of Avonlea–L.M. Montgomery
    An audiobook: Vacation Under the Volcano–Mary Pope Osborne
    A book with an animal: A Cat Story–Ursula Murray Husted
    A book less than 100 pages: Retro Rhythms–Francesca Damkar
    A book you want to discuss with others: The Homewreckers–Mary Kay Andrews
    A book you read as a child: By the Shores of Silver Lake–Laura Ingalls Wilder
    My Penalty Book: Tell the Wolves I’m Home–Carol Rifka Brunt

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:24 am - Reply

      JAMIE!!! Here I am reading along through your list (Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama — what a great title!) and then I get to the bottom and something begins to dawn on me. But what?

      Slowly coming over the horizon of my consciousness, it occurs to me: YOU READ EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY!

      Hat tip! Applause! Proud moment for this host! Well done and thank you!

      • Michele August 13, 2022 at 10:17 pm - Reply

        That is truly amazing! Well done, Jamie!

  4. Mary Beth Lott August 12, 2022 at 8:21 am - Reply

    I’m not really proud of the overall quality or quantity of reading, but I am proud to move this pile on to the library sale!

    • A book you already own
    The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
    Can’t resist a book that contains a reading list!

    • A book you’ve been wanting to reread
    Art and the Bible by Francis A. Schaeffer

    • A book a friend recommended
    Fanny Crosby Safe in the Arms of Jesus
    by Chester & S. Ann Hearn

    • A book of poetry
    The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

    • A memoir or autobiography
    My Grandfather’s Son A Memoir by Clarence Thomas
    My favorite. Fascinating upbringing. A brilliant and humble man.

    • A book for professional development
    Getting Creative Developing Creative Habits that Work
    by Drew Kimble

    • A book with a verb in the title
    First We Read, Then We Write Emerson on the Creative Process
    by Robert D. Richardson

    • A book less than 100 pages
    The Duties of Parents by J. C. Ryle

    • A book you read as a child
    Beware of This Animal by Ursula Moray Williams

    • Penalty Book
    Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

    Never cracked it open.
    Subtract two from my list of nine above. ☹

    He [Ralph Waldo Emerson] generally took more books out of the library than he was able to read before they were due back. His charging records at the Boston Athenaeum, the Harvard College Library, and the Boston Library are not so much a measure of his intake as of his appetite. He glanced at thousands of books. He read carefully many hundreds that caught his attention. He returned over and over to a favorite few….

    First We Read, Then We Write, page 8

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:28 am - Reply

      Mary Beth, I get it! I was truly surprised as I compiled my list that I had only read one novel . . . I’m not proud of that :)! But yay for reading, right?

      AND I loved that quote you shared about Emerson. It also makes me feel better about the books I borrow and don’t read :).

  5. Elaine August 12, 2022 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Amy, thank you for hosting this summer reading challenge again! I look forward to it every year!

    I read a total of ten books this summer, including my Penalty Book! I chose the same Penalty Book from last summer because I did not complete it last summer!

    The most delightful fiction book I read was Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. It is a heartwarming story featuring an octopus!
    Again, thanks for hosting! And happy summer reading, everyone! :)

    1—A book with a great cover: I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife and Motherhood by Jessi Klein

    2—A memoir or autobiography: Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigator by Erika Krouse (trigger warning for sexual assault)

    3—A graphic novel: Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley

    4—A book for professional development (loosely defined): Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy

    5—A book with a verb in the title: How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

    6—A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers (takes place in the US south, a place I’ve never visited)

    7—An audiobook: The Worth of Water by Gary White and Matt Damon

    8—A book with an animal: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (features an octopus)

    9—A book you want to discuss with others: The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life by A.J. Jacobs

    10- Penalty book (subtract two books if you didn’t read this book): A Family Shaped By Grace: How to Get Along with the People Who Matter the Most by Gary Morland

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Elaine, you’re welcome :)! It’s fun that we all gather here once a year and can pour over each others lists. I did not know AJ Jacobs has a new book out and just requested it pronto from the library :). And the octopus book sounds great (Emily, my niece, did a report on the octopus in elementary school and then fell in love with them; so, they are a family faborite).

      Glad you got your penalty book read (wink!)

  6. Mary Raikes August 12, 2022 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks again for a fun challenge, Amy.

    —A book a friend recommended: The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele.

    —A Young Adult book (YA): The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel. Do not recommend! This was free on Kindle when they did a translated books bundle.

    —A book with a great cover: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd. 5 stars 🌟 Such a fun book! Magical realism and mystery and a topic that wouldn’t normally interest me but managed to in this instance.

    —A memoir or autobiography: I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist. This will be one to revisit I think!

    —A book for professional development (loosely defined): Unclutter Your Soul by Trina McNeilly. Also another one to add to my rereading list.

    —A book about a country or culture you have never visited: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. 5 Stars 🌟 I love her books and can’t believe I’d never heard of this one. Such a rich insight into historical China.

    —A mystery: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill. A story within a story. Reasonably dark but I enjoy that in a thriller.

    —A book you want to discuss with others: The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan.

    Penalty book: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I wanted to like this but the racism annoyed me too much.

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:40 am - Reply

      Mary, I love that you got stars added to your list :)! Isn’t it fun to read books that we know we’ll want to reread? Such a satisfying feeling!

  7. Anna Smith August 12, 2022 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    – A biography or about history: Highest Duty by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow

    – A book you’ve been wanting to reread: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

    – A Young Adult book: Entwined by Heather Dixon

    – A book with a great cover: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

    – A memoir or autobiography: The Unexpected Spy by Tracey Walder

    – A book that won an award: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

    – A classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    – An audiobook: Garden City by John Mark Comer

    – A book you read as a child: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Anna, even though you are my niece and I knew some of these books you read . . . I’m genuinely surprised by some of them (in a good way!) Makes me realize how much we really only know about ourselves and not about others in our lives (also, in a good way!). Happy fall reading, since I won’t know what you read, HA!! :)

  8. Emily August 12, 2022 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Biography/History: Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Nina Sankovitch
    Friend Recommendation: The Gospel Comes with a Housekey by Rosaria Butterfield
    Great Cover: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    Memoir: Truth and Beauty by Ann Prachett
    Graphic Novel: La Magia del Orden por Marie Kondo
    Professional Development: Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
    Verb in Title: I’ll Push You by Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray
    Award: Educated by Tara Westover
    Mystery: Manitou Canyon by William Kent Krueger
    YA Book: The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
    Audiobook: Garden City by John Mark Comer
    Animal: Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
    Discuss with Others: The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
    Read as a child: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Em, as I said to your sister, even though we are family and around each other a decent bit in the summers, you read so many books I didn’t know you read :)! It’s fun to read through your list.

      And I’m so glad that you like “Made to Stick” as I’m “making” the Global Trellis team read it right now :)!

  9. Allie Slocum August 12, 2022 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    —Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen. This was very good – thanks for the recommendation!
    —A Biography or about history
    George Washington, Meriweather Lewis – Two separate books but both fascinating
    —A book you already own
    Almost Home – this was early on and I don’t remember anything about it!
    —A book a friend recommended
    One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kinsbury – so good! Reading sequel now: Beyond Tuesday Morning
    —A book that won an award
    If I were You – this was actually just nominated I realized later – hope it’s still ok – it had a badge on the cover
    —A book with an animal
    The Road to Bo – cute dog – a beta novel
    —A book you want to discuss with others
    Strays Like Us – my daughter wanted me to read this – so good (another dog book)
    Penalty book (subtract two books if you didn’t read this book)
    My Grandmother told me to tell you she’s sorry – this was still hard to get through but I finally did!

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Allie, this is what I love about seeing each others lists; your list has dogs! Not that I wouldn’t read about dogs, but you won’t find my list delightfully doggie, like your list is :).

      • Allie August 14, 2022 at 4:41 pm - Reply

        Confession: Almost Home was my daughter’s book – that’s why I remember nothing about it! Luckily I had some extras – lol

  10. LeAnne Parham August 12, 2022 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    I love this every year!

    1. A book with the number 7 in the title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    2. A book a friend recommended: On the Beach by Nevil Shute
    3. A book you want to discuss with others: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
    4. A book with an animal: Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen (This was my penalty book.)
    5. A classic: Animal Farm by George Orwell
    6. A mystery: The Maid by Nita Prose
    7. A biography or about history: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    8. An audiobook West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
    9. A book for professional development: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 11:50 am - Reply

      LeAnne, I’m so glad you love it! Because I do too!! And well done finding a book with a 7 in the title! I tried, you succeeded :).

      I read Team of Rivals several years ago and LOVED it! What did you think? (It’s okay to not love it!)

  11. Julia August 13, 2022 at 12:16 am - Reply

    —Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen. (I loved that he used third person to tell his story. And wow, it really helped me understand more about trauma and resilience.)

    —A book of poetry: Chicago Poems, by Carl Sandburg

    —A book with a verb in the title – We Will Feast, by Kendall Vanderslice

    —A book that won an award – From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg

    —A classic – Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

    —An audiobook – Gentle and Lowly, by Dane Ortlund

    —A book with an animal – The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden

    * I also started but have not yet finished two loftier books. The Warmth of Other Sons, by Isabel Wilkerson (historical) and Holier Than Thou, by Jackie Hill Perry (great cover). I plan to finish them this month before my school year starts. Thanks for helping propel my good intentions into action with a good challenge!

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Julia, I loved the use of 3rd person also in “Gone to the Woods!” Looking over your list, I’m impressed that you read a good bit of fiction and I’m regretting my lack of fiction :)! But, as you said, this challenge does help me with variety — for instance, I only read a graphic novel in the summer :).

  12. Rachel Kahindi August 13, 2022 at 3:18 am - Reply

    (Sorry if I’m commenting twice – my internet connection blinked off, and I’m not sure if the first one went through)

    I want to read that Gary Paulsen book. He was always one of my favorite authors! But not this summer. I had too much already on my TBR.

    Here are some favorites I read this summer, and I’ll mark the ones that got 5 stars.

    A Biography or about history – Heretics: the Creation of Christianity from the Gnostics to the Modern Church by Jonathan Wright

    A book you already own – The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis

    A book a friend recommended – Discipline: the Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot

    A Young Adult book (YA) – The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

    A book with a great cover – Beginning More Fruitful :)

    A book of poetry – it is technically a novelized biography in verse – Loving Vs Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell – 5 stars

    A memoir or autobiography – Haben the Deaf Blind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma

    A book with a verb in the title – The Making of Biblical Womanhood by Beth Allison Barr – 5 stars

    A play – Trial of Dedan Kimathi by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (I think I only gave it 4 stars in Goodreads, but this should be a 5 star one) AND A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited – The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius (I really enjoyed this one… only gave it 4 stars, but seriously a good story)

    A mystery – The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin AND Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

    A classic – In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne

    An audiobook – Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes du Mez – 5 stars, but this is one I’d prefer in hard copy for note making!

    A book less than 100 pages – Good Pictures Bad Pictures by Kristen A Jensen – read with my kids, 5 stars

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Rachel, you always read such an interesting array of books! I’ve requested “Loving Vs Virginia” from the library … the style intrigues me. I’ve put off reading Jesus and John Wayne, but your recommendation has me reconsidering :)

  13. Raven August 13, 2022 at 8:11 am - Reply

    —A memoir or autobiography
    Group by Christie Tate

    —A book for professional development (loosely defined)
    Undisruptable by Aidan McCullen

    —A book less than 100 pages
    Have Fun Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

    —A book you want to discuss with others
    First Things First by Stephen Covery

    —A book you read as a child
    Are you My Mother? by P. D. Eastman (not sure if this counts…but every night for the last week with my sweet almost 2 year old :)

    Didn’t reach the ultimate goal but I’m just happy I got to somewhat participate!

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Raven, before I got to the end, I thought, “Raven is pregnant, has a young child (and husband) and works! How does she have time to read?” So, you absolutely are entered in the drawing :)! AND Mom tells stories of reading “Are You My Mother” again and again to me :).

  14. Lisa Anderson August 13, 2022 at 9:09 am - Reply

    —Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen. – Loved it! Wow!

    —A book a friend recommended – The Thursday Murder Club – loved the characters! Fun read.

    —A memoir or autobiography – Between 2 Kingdoms – fascinating look at a young adult’s journey through cancer

    —A book that won an award – Midnight Library – interesting, not my typical genre

    —An audiobook – Daisy Jones and the 6 – made our long car journey much better!

    —A book you want to discuss with others – The Reading List – great for book lovers

    Penalty Book (subtract two books if you don’t read this book) – Dear White America – more ‘textbook’ than I expected so a slower read

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      Lisa, you’re the second person today to mention “The Thursday Mystery Club” — so I take that as a sign :) . . . and will request it from the library! I’m glad you enjoyed “Gone to the Woods.’ And my niece read “Midnight Library” and was having the hardest time describing it (I’d read it before and the way she was describing it didn’t sound “right” so I looked it up to review the description — it’s not that easy to describe :)!

      And I love how a good audio book helps with a drive :)

  15. Megan Smith August 13, 2022 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Thanks for hosting this once again! It is so fun to have a challenge for the summer! I love that you read the Anthropocene Reviewed..I loved that book, John Green just has such a cool way of looking at the world.

    For my list:
    Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen–I had no idea what to expect with this one but I loved his storytelling style!
    A book about history–(The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pell Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows) –This was a fun read all in letters about an english population during the Second World War that was occupied by Germany.
    A book a Friend Recommended-(Escape from Mr. Lemonchello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein)–This reminded me a little of the Westing game, fun treasure hunt YA/children’s book
    A book with a great cover–(Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead)–Not my favorite, the story just didn’t engage me
    A memoir–(Between Worlds by Simeon Harrer)–More of a series of essays on the MK life than anything else, it was interesting
    A graphic novel–(Heartstopper by Alice Oseman)–I wanted more substance to the story
    A book for Professional development–(Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide)–really interesting if you have ever thought the spelling rules we use don’t make sense
    A book with a verb in the title–(Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid)–I am in love with Taylor Jenkins Reid books, there is just something magical about her storytelling and characters
    A book about a country or culture you have never visited–(The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See)–I have thought of this book many times since reading it, learned a lot about the tea culture in China
    A book that won an Award–(The Cartographers by Peng Shepard) –I don’t remember how I heard about this book but I loved reading it. Super engaging and a bit sci-fi. Great premise.
    A mystery–(The Guest List by Lucy Foley)–This was marked as a thriller/mystery and I found it more mystery. Good story where there is a limited cast who good have done it.
    A classic–(Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy)–This was my penalty book and I hated every minute of it. I don’t understand what people like about this book.
    An audiobook–(The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah)–I thought this was going to be the first Kristin Hannah book that I didn’t like but I was wrong, she brought it all together.
    A book with less than 100 pages–(Too Small Tola by Atinuke) If you have ever lived in Africa or want to know what it could be like for a kid, Atinuke books are great! This series is stories about Tola who lives in big city Nigeria in a small apartment with her family.

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Megan, thanks for leaving comments about the books :)! Such a fun list to read through and I’ve added a few to my to-read its! I’m trying to remember if it’s you who got me on to the Green brothers (with the Hank Green books about about that statute that came to life — totally butchering it :)!!!!!)

  16. Megan Smith August 13, 2022 at 9:30 am - Reply

    I just left my comment with my books but thanks for linking to last years list….I realized that I have now read many of the books you posted about last year! I had no idea you were influencing my reading choices so much :)

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      And as I read through your comment, I see how you’re influencing mine :)! Isn’t that fun :)!

  17. Christy J August 13, 2022 at 11:36 am - Reply

    This summer’s reading was a very mixed bag for me. I didn’t read as many books/pages as I normally do (several of my books were really short). I only read 13 books in comparison to 28 last summer. Also, some of the books I really enjoyed and some I really didn’t. I liked reading your ratings, so I did my list ranked in order according to how much I liked the book and I added a little bit of commentary on each one. I like to look back at my lists from years past too, so this is how I can remember what I thought about the books. Thanks for keeping this going each summer!

    1. A book you’ve been wanting to reread: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
    (One of my favorites of all time, so definitely highest ranking of enjoyment!)
    2. A book a friend recommended: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
    (This is the first of a series that has fantasy and alternate universes and books, which are all things I love reading about. My friend got me started and now I am ready to dive into the rest of the books!)
    3. A book you want to discuss with others: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
    (Super hard to read this book as it shows the harsh reality of Mexican life and what it is like to literally run for your life. But it is very well written and an important look at a major issue in the world right now, so I highly recommend it if you can handle the harsh truths.)
    4. A book with an animal: The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers
    (This was a good lighter read and I needed some of those in this summer’s reading list. I like everything I have read by Francine Rivers.)
    5. A book you already own: Dryad-Born by Jeff Wheeler
    (Another fantasy, which is one of my favorite genres. I like this author a lot, but this series of his is not as good as some of his others.)
    6. A book with the number 7 in the title: The Devil is in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
    (Another hard read because it is a true story of suffering and persecution. But I was encouraged by the author’s message of forgiveness and redemption.)
    7. A book less than 100 pages: Signal Moon by Kate Quinn
    (Short story involving time “travel” through radio frequency. A fun read.)
    8. A memoir: Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
    (This book made me think a lot. I am still pondering it. Good for opening discussions, but also important for people to know how to have compassionate yet honest conversation around the topic of homosexuality.)
    9. A book for professional development (loosely defined): My Heart, Christ’s Home by Robert Boyd Munger
    (Very short book based on a sermon. I used this in my preparations for our chapel theme and topics for this year. Good for spiritual growth.)
    10. A mystery: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
    (This was a reasonably good mystery. Not my favorite but enjoyable.)
    11. A book with a verb in the title: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
    (I had high hopes for this but was disappointed. It is a mystery that takes place at the Darcy’s home several years after they got married. The author tried to write like Jane Austen but failed (in my opinion) and the mystery part was not very action packed or suspenseful.)
    12. A book by someone with a different view point than you (also my penalty book): A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    (I wanted to read this book to get more of a sense of the perspective of a Muslim family. The book did serve that purpose for me. I was not a fan of the writing style though, because it jumped around constantly through different times and different perspectives so it was very hard to follow. Too much brain effort for summer reading. But I finished it because I had it as my penalty book.)
    13. A classic: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    (Usually I enjoy the classics that I read, but this one was not for me. I guess the “magical realism” genre is not my style or maybe just this book. It had too many really crazy characters and depressing endings for them all. I know lots of people think this is a great book, but it was hard for me to get through.)

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Christy, I always enjoy reading your list! The books we are drawn to is a Venn diagram :) … I’m not such a fantasy reader (though love JRR Tolkien books), but other choices I’d easily choose to read. I hate the feeling of a book that is not the best written and therefore more tedious than it needs to be!

      Thanks for ranking your list :)! It was a fun read itself!

  18. Emily Gee-Clark August 13, 2022 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,
    My sister, Elaine, recommended this challenge, and I really, really enjoyed it. It helped me branch out from my normal diet of true crime novels. My husband was surprised to find me reading Spiderman. Thanks so much!

    A Biography or about history: Death of a President’s Son—The Last Days and Flight of JFK Jr by Richard Roth
    A book you already own: Dead by Sunset by Ann Rule
    A book with a great cover: The Way She Wears It by Dallas Shaw
    A memoir or autobiography: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Marukami
    A graphic novel: Ultimate Spider Man Volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis
    A book with a verb in the title: A Warrant to Kill by Kathryn Casey
    A mystery: Fallen Girls by Kathryn Casey
    A classic: Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
    A book less than 100 pages: Please Like Me by Mindy Kaling
    Challenge Book: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty by F. Batmanghelidj (I only read about half of it, so I added two more books. Super helpful and inspiring but too heavy on the science for me.)

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Emily, welcome!! I’m so glad that Elaine shared the challenge :) . . . and you probably know that in part I started this because I would read non-fiction all day long with nary a look at potty, plays, graphic novels or the many other types of books that are out there. So, each summer, this is a good nudge to branch out a wee bit. I smile thinking of you reading a Spiderman graphic novel (I bet that DID get your husband’s eye!). He’s welcome to join next summer :)!

  19. Sarah Reese August 13, 2022 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I look forward to this summer reading challenge every year and I’ve participated in all seven year! This year I discovered the audio book, so half of the twenty books I read this summer were audiobooks.

    —Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen. Big Gary Paulsen fan, but I didn’t love this one.

    —A Biography or about history– Love and Saffron by Kim Fay (I loosely interpreted this category. This is fiction about the development of the foodie culture in California in the 60s-70s)

    —A book you already own. Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson. Disappointed.

    —A book you’ve been wanting to reread. American Royals by Katharine McGee and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

    —A book a friend recommended. Something Wilder by Christina Lauren.

    —A Young Adult book (YA) Family of Liars by E. Lockhard. Disappointed

    —A book with a great cover Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

    —A book with a verb in the title A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus. FAVORITE BOOK of the year so far.

    —A book about a country or culture you have never visited. Northwind by Gary Paulsen. His last book. Sounded A LOT like Hatchet.

    —A mystery The Night Shift by Alex Finlay and Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

    —An audiobook The City Spies Series (City Spies, Golden Gate, and Forbidden City) by James Point (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and The Truly Devious Series (Truly Devious, The Vanishing Stair, The Hand on the Wall, and The Box in the Woods) by Maureen Johnson

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      Amy August 13, 2022 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Sarah! High five . . . or High Seven for participating all seven years :)! I’ve just requested A Place to Hang the Moon from the library . .. thanks for the suggestion. Have you read “Harris and Me” by Gary Paulsen? It’s a true YA about a summer (another summer not mentioned in Gone to the Woods) with his cousin Harris. It wasn’t my fav, but goodness, his childhood was to chaotic!

      Clink! We click out glasses for this 7th summer together :)

  20. Faith Hope & Cherrytea August 13, 2022 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Thankfully, libraries here no longer fine patrons for late book returns!

    Great summer reading opps, first timer, I’m happily beyond the intended 7, but no access to Gone to the Woods…

    1st week Penalty Read ✔ – How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

    YA – A Boy of Heart Mountain by Barbara Bazaldua

    Verb in title – The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorella

    Unvisited Country / Culture – Daughters of Northern Shores [ Norway ]by Joanne Bischof

    Classic – audio of Emma by Jane Austen, authentically narrated by British actress

    Audio – Historical/current split time mystery, The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jamie Jo Wright

    With Animal – The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith

    Award Winning Book – A Siege of Bitterns, the first Birder Murder Mystery, by Steve Burrows, won the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. 

    Thanks so much for hosting a great reading motivator! And persevering 7 years.. Congratulations!
    Pleased to have found your invitation and able to join the challenge.

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:40 am - Reply

      Faith Hope and Cherrytree, glad you found this challenge too! And like you, I’m grateful that libraries no longer have fines :)! And I loved the #1 Ladies Detective Agency!

  21. Elizabeth Smith August 13, 2022 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    —Read Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen. – LOVED IT!

    —A Biography or about history – “The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars”, by Dava Sobel (Very interesting, but almost too much detail.)

    —A book for professional development (loosely defined) – “The Self-Aware Leader” by Jon Maxwell

    —A book with a verb in the title – “Making Numbers Count” by Chip Heath and Karla Star (Phenomenal! I’ve already put it into practice and communicated numbers well in two very different settings!)

    —A book that won an award – “Maniac Magee” (by Jerry Spinelli) – I wish we could all have a Grayson in our lives!

    —An audiobook – “Garden City” by John Mark Comer (Good, but I liked better his “Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”)

    —A book you want to discuss with others – “Etta and Otto and Russel and James” by Ema Hooper. What is real? What isn’t? I would love to discuss!

    A great summer of reading! :-)

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Elizabeth, you know I love “Making Numbers Count!” :)

  22. Chloe Smith August 13, 2022 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    – A book you already own= “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles
    – A book you’ve been wanting to reread= “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin
    – A Young Adult book (YA)= “Stars Above” by Marissa Meyer
    – An audiobook= “Garden City” by John Mark Comer
    – A mystery= “United we Spy” by Ally Carter
    – A book with an animal= “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
    – A book you read as a child= “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:43 am - Reply

      Chloe, a certain someone you are related to was over at our house and I was pulling up an email and she saw your name and asked to read your list. :) . . . she thought you shouldn’t be entered if you didn’t finish one of these books (for your school summer reading) by Sunday night. I told her you were entered regardless. I got your reading back :). Much love, AA

  23. Michele August 13, 2022 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    It’s so fun going through all these book lists! I read 13, several of which fit more than one category and some that fit none (except ‘a book you own’- because I stuck with the way too big library I already have on my Kindle, plus one hard copy I brought with me from the States). Also- I made up for your lack of novels by reading six this summer! Sometimes I just get on a fiction kick and it feels so restful to get lost in a story. For the sake of fitting the categories, here are seven:

    Biography or history: From the Forest by Amy Carmichael (I have a volume of a dozen of her works and read one or two a year. This one was a biography of a girl who ran away from her family to follow Jesus).

    A book you’ve been wanting to read: The Good Earth by Pearl Buck (Been on my list forever and finally got to it and loved it).

    A book recommended by a friend: Standing in the Way by Anjali Tamang & Sarah Symons (Recommended by a friend who helped rescue Anjali from a brothel in Kolkata. I’d met her a couple of times and was super impressed by her passion and articulation of the trafficking problem in her home village north of Kathmandu. It was great to read more about her story, but it turns out that this is also a fundraiser for her dream of building a school in her home village to educate the girls and prevent more sex trafficking. Just want to put that out there for anyone who might want to help by buying a copy on Amazon)! :)

    Memoir or Autobiography- Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass (Excellent short read)

    Book for professional development (loosely defined): From Weakness to Strength: Eight Vulnerabilities that Can Bring Out the Best in Your Leadership by Scott Sauls (Thought it was about time to read a leadership book again, and this title caught my eye. It was okay, no new revelation or aha moments, just good reminders).

    Book with a verb in the title: Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin (I find Charles Martin’s novels to be enjoyable, easy reads and his poetic allegorical touches are just what my heart needs sometimes).

    Book about a country/culture you’ve never visited: The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning (historical fiction including Austria, China and Australia, none of which I have had a chance to visit yet. I had no idea 20,000 European Jews found refuge in Shanghai during Hitler’s reign)!

    Here are the other books I read this summer:
    Acquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism and Poetry by Paul Murray OP
    Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick
    The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan (My favorite this summer- well-written, based on an amazing true story of ethnic German refugees from Ukraine at the end of WWII)
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
    Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois

    Thanks for doing this every year, Amy! All the lists are so inspiring and it’s fun to see what people are reading in the middle of the year instead of having to wait till the end of the year book lists!

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Michele, it IS so fun to go over the books lists :)! I’m glad to think that this challenge helped a bit with you working through your kindle library!! :) I agree it’s nice to read book lists in the middle of the summer . . . and I’ve now requested quite a few from the library. This challenge often shapes my fall reading :)!

  24. Shelley Kiser August 14, 2022 at 3:58 am - Reply

    This summer I read:

    1. A book you already own: Try Softer by Aundi Kolber

    2. A book with a great cover: Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

    3. A memoir or autobiography: Doctor on Call: Chernobyl Responder, Jewish Refugee, Radiation Expert by Shapiro Alla

    4. A book with the number 7 in the title or subtitle (in honor of this being the 7th anniversary) : Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

    5. A book that won an award: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

    6. A classic: The Rise of the Monkey King in Simplified Chinese and Pinyin by Jeff Pepper and Xiao Hui Wang

    7. A book with an animal: The Dog Who Saved Me by Susan Wilson

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:48 am - Reply

      Shelley, I’m delighted you read a book with a “7” in the title! And duh, I forgot about that book. Good catch!

  25. Mabel Pirner August 14, 2022 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Hi Amy,
    This summer I seemed to be on a thriller kick and I thought I would not have much to list here, but to my surprise I did read other books! :o)

    Thank you so much for doing this challenge every year, I love to see what everyone has read and add to my TBR pile every time I look at the comments.

    1. Gone To The Woods by Gary Paulsen – Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, it was a wonderful book to read.

    2. A biography or about history – The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P. Nimora, very interesting book and surprising reasons why Elizabeth Blackwell wanted to become a doctor. Also a lot of information about how medicine was practiced in the 19th century.

    3. A book I already own – Lethal Agent by Kyle Mills (Vince Flynn), the character Mitch Rapp was created by Vince Flynn who passed away in 2014 and Kyle Mills has taken over writing the series (just some background) I really like this character and enjoy reading these books. This one was not the best of the series, but I did enjoy it.

    4. A book I have been wanting to reread – Blowback by Brad Thor, another thriller series but this character is named Scot Harvath. This is the 5th book in the series and I had been wanting to re read the series and started in May (I haven’t finished) but this one is one that I really enjoyed.

    5. A book a friend recommended – The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter, I really enjoyed this book and the way it was written. The only thing is that it is promoted as a memoir and it is not – the man who wrote it lied about that part which disappointed me greatly, that being said I would recommend it to someone just because it is fun to read.

    6. A mystery – The Last Flight by Julie Clark, what a fun book. I really enjoyed reading this one and had such a good time discussing it with our book group.

    7. A book less than 100 pages – Blood Moon by Linda Castillo, a mystery series novella with Kate Burkholder who is a chief of police in a town with Amish and “English” residents.

    So glad you do this!

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Mabel, you’re so welcome! I truly love this challenge because I get as much out of it (more?!) as well! I loved your “To my surprise” … because that’s how I felt too. But my “to my surprise” was my lack of fiction. HAHAHAH ;)

  26. Rylie S August 14, 2022 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    This got me reading things I wouldn’t have read otherwise – thanks!
    —A book you already own: Almost Home
    —A book with the number 7 in the title or subtitle (in honor of this being the 7th anniversary): Seven Thrilling Stories from the World of Aerwiar
    —A book that won an award: Rules
    —A mystery:Alexis and the St. Helen’s Screamer
    —A classic: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
    —A book with an animal: Strays Like Us
    —A book less than 100 pages: Unicorn Dreams
    Penalty book (subtract two books if you didn’t read this book): Words on Fire by Jennifer Neilson

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      Amy August 15, 2022 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Rylie, so glad you joined in! I’m delighted that you read a book with a seven in the title!! Here’s to more great reading until next summer’s challenge!

  27. Rhonda August 21, 2022 at 2:24 am - Reply

    Hi Amy,
    Right there with you on the reading this summer. I was only able to get six books finished. Still trying to get two others done but that may take some time.

    This summer read:
    ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ by Walter Tevis
    ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ by iran Milkwood Hargrave
    ‘Red Queen’ by Victoria Aveyard
    ‘Out of my Mind’ by Sharon Draper
    ‘Battle Hymn of the Toger Mom’ by Amy Chua
    ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert

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