Yesterday Kate messaged me on Facebook. She said, “Just wanted to say I’m loving the reading challenge, just tucking into book number 6! I did realize however that I’m participating in isolation. could you remind me how we are supposed to be corporate about it all, is it just Instagram?”

First of all, six books? You go, girl! (Note to self: Next year find a way to make the Summer Reading Challenge more communal).)

This year more and more people are participating and I know many of you are isolated. So, let’s do a roll call. Where in the world are you? What number book are you on? Needing any suggestions for a category?

I’ll start:

I’m currently located in Denver, Colorado (in the U.S.). This summer I’ve read mostly in Denver but also a bit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on planes to and from Philly, and in the mountains of Colorado.

I’ve read eight books . . . but that’s going to be about it because of my dear Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and the Muckrakers’ book (my penalty book, which I’ve realized is a horrible name. Okay, so branding is not my strong suit. How about my “I will read this!” book?)

I am on page 202 of 752, not that I”m counting, of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Dorris Kearns Goodwin. I’m loving it and am proud of myself and am learning lots. (Think your own time period is a hot mess? Read history and remember that every time period is a hot mess and they survived so you will too.)

No massive surprise, my heart would read mostly non-fiction. But minor surprise? I’m reading more fiction this year and may only end up with two memoirs on my summer reading. Sacrificing comes in all forms. Ha!

One book I’d recommend if you need a graphic novel is The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds. I found it by poking around in my local library’s graphic novel section. While I am not drawn to 99% of graphic novels because they are series that go on and on about stories I do no give a hoot about, I have found through this reading challenge that I like historical graphic novels. One caveat is that it helps to have some frame of reference. Last summer, my family was fairly confused in Boxers and Saints by Gene Yang since it was their first exposure to The Boxer Rebellion in Chinese History. 

I have never read The Odyssey and am weak on Greek mythology, but if you want to read the Odyssey? This is the way to do it!

If you are feeling behind, don’t sweat it. Be creative. My sister Elizabeth discovered a book by Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies, written half in English and half in Italian! In Other Words Lahiri moves her family to Italy to master Italian, which she had studied for many years, but never quite mastered. If you love language, culture, and travel this book is for you. 

(Unless you are reading about Roosevelt, Taft, and journalism, then stay in your lane Missy. I’m looking at you in the mirror.)

Over to you. Where are you reading these days (I love how international this is)? What book are you “just tucking into?” (I love that phrase!)

Turning pages with you,




Leave A Comment

  1. Kate July 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Well, as you mentioned me… Not what I expected when I sent the message but more corporate is a great aim for us all!

    I’m that ‘Kate’ and I live in Serbia. As I wrote I’m on book 6, but in all fairness I’m setting the bar low as last year I read 2 books in the entire year – 2018 is a get back into reading year, it’s been nice join in with this and to look at some unfamiliar categories. Amy I hear you on the graphic novel!

    I started out the year with a kindle unlimited subscription and I’m trying to get books exclusively through that – I do have a small splurge amount. So far my favourite has been (the short but deep) “Serbia : A sketch” which makes it into the ‘100 years old’ by a single year. Though it’s terribly bias and totally out of date I found it fascinating to contrast and echo the culture I’m in now. My 6th is “Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World” by Christina Rickardsson – I can’t remember who or how it made it to my wish-list but it was the only memoir on there and it’s a genre I rarely read.

  2. Dorette July 16, 2018 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Dorette here, writing from Thailand.. and I’m reading “Radical together” by David Platt at the moment.. the 7th book I’m reading on the list, but I also listened to ‘North and South’ & ‘Pride and prejudice’ on audiobook.

    I’m considering listening to the Odessey next since it was randomly referred to in some of the other books I read, including ‘The piano tuner’ and ‘The sacred enneagram’..

    I really enjoyed ‘At home in the world’ and ‘Hope was here’ and I love to see my little boys learning to love books as ‘Read aloud revival’ inspired me to read out loud to them as often as I can.

    The only problem is that if I have to read ‘The bears picnic’ or ‘The little red hen’ one more time I’m going to lose my mind and it’s really hard to get actual English books over here ..

    Going to keep referring to your list, Amy, such a great tool to diversify (hope that’s an actual word) my reading life and not get stuck on a genre. (It’s summer all year over here anyway, so why not?)

  3. Erin July 16, 2018 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    I might not make it to the finish line, as I am only completely done with two books. I am part way through three more, and if finish them I’ll be pretty happy with that since I average one or two books per month. My penalty book is Good To Great and it fits into 3 more categories – I have been meaning to read it for quite some time now, it is related to professional development, and it is non-fiction while I tend to read fiction.

  4. Rachel July 16, 2018 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    I’m in Kenya, where it’s “winter.” That doesn’t mean it’s actually cold.

    I’m on book 7, and it is a hard read so far. It’s my “professional development” pick – The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by Gary A. Haugen. He’s spending a long time proving that violence happens to people because of poverty, and I’m ready to move on to his next point.

    The best books I’ve read during the summer reading challenge have been The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, Things as They Are by Amy Carmichael, and 11/22/63 by Stephen King.

  5. Christy July 16, 2018 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Today I celebrated because I finally finished “Vanity Fair”, which was my penalty book and over 700 pages. Honestly I don’t know if I would have finished it had it not been for the penalty, but I’m glad I read it in the end. I’ve read 10 so far this summer (of course my summer is nearly over as I head back to Ghana next week). Being in one place (Spokane, WA) for 2 months definitely has benefits in the reading department. The most interesting one I read (which happens to be another over 700 page book!) was “The Gray House” by Mariam Petrosyan, which really made me think about life, teenagers, and how we understand and deal with disability. It was the kind of book that makes you scratch your head a lot while reading and doesn’t tie everything up into neat logical bows at the end, but I found it extremely fascinating and some day I’d like to read it again to catch all the nuances I missed in the first read.

  6. Sarah July 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Hi! I’m Sarah and I’m currently reading from Chattanooga, TN, but I’ve also done some reading by a lake in Maine and will be heading back to China in two weeks. I am on book 14 for the summer and have challenged myself with a few “classics” like The Handmaid’s Tale and Things Fall Apart. However, most of my reading has been in the YA genre because I teach Middle School and like to keep up with my kids. My favorite book that I have read this summer, so far, would probably be The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It’s a survival story set in Alaska, very descriptive and riveting story. Although, I also really enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan; I laughed A LOT while reading this one.

  7. Rhonda July 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    here is the list of books I have read for the contest. Heading back to UB tomorrow which means back to work stuff. Did read more than listed but unfortunately they were not of the categories and/or doubled up on some. Enjoyed the challenge!

    2. A book related to history. My book: Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong Retold by Wang Guozhen

    3. A book placed in a country I’m not familiar with OR about a country I’m not familiar with. My book: Between Shades of gray by Ruta Sepetys

    4. A young adult (YA) book. My book: Luna by Julie Anne Peters

    5. A book recommended by a friend. My book: The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith

    6. A graphic novel. My book: Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises by Lee, Kline, McKinney

    7. A book you’ve been meaning to read. My book: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

    9. A book recommended by a teenager. My book: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

    11. A play. My book: Macbeth by Shakespeare

    12. A memoir. My book: Educated by Tara Westover

    14. A book that won an award. My book: Forgiveness by Mark Sakamato (2018 Canada Books CBC)

    15. A book you read years ago and have meant to reread. My book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    16. A book that has been translated into English. My book: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Translated by Lucia Graves

    18. A mystery. My book: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

    20. A book by an author you know. My book: Love Amy by Amy Young

    21. Fiction (if you tend to read non-fiction) or Non-fiction (if you tend to read fiction). My book:
    Non-fiction: Symphony of the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson

    Looking forward to next summer’s challenge! :)

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