Congrats for making it to the end of the Summer Reading Challenge 2020!

I admit, I needed the challenge like never before. In the past, I have needed this challenge for the fun and joy of reading. This year? I needed it to kick my behind so that I actually read books outside of my normal categories. If you’re familiar with what I tend to read, you won’t set that much that’s different.

But without this challenge? You’d see even less that I wouldn’t normally read.

Three things to know for me this summer:

1. I have been drawn to all things “The Office” recently. The podcast The Office Ladies breakdown each episode and I love hearing the back story of an episdoe and then rewatching the episode. You’ll notice my Office obsession played out in books I read.

2. Thanks to the “Penalty Book” category, for the third summer I read a book I have been meaning to read for ages! Go penalty books!

3. Reading makes me happy, even when the world may be in melt-down mode.

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 18th. 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.

Four COVID-19 Special Categories:

  • A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue
  • A book with a nurse, doctor, or other medical personnel
  • A book with a teacher, student, or classroom
  • A book about a pandemic or outbreak

For the Joy of Reading:

  • 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 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 
  • An audiobook
  • A book with an animal
  • A book less than 100 pages
  • A book You want to discuss with others
  • Penalty Book (subtract two books if you don’t read this book)

Amy’s books:

A book about a pandemic or outbreak: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks and God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath by NT Wright

A Biography: Abigail Adams: A Life by Woody Holton (my penalty book!)

A memoir or autobiography: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Owens

A graphic Novel: Nicolas by Pascal Girard “Girard revisits the childhood death of his little brother in his most emotional and spare work.”

A book for professional development (loosely defined): The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer (Hello “The Office” friend!)

A book with a verb in the title: Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences by Carey Nieuwhof

A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Breadwinner: A Graphic Novel by Deborah Ellis and illustrated by (“This beautiful graphic-novel adaptation of The Breadwinner animated film tells the story of eleven-year-old Parvana who must disguise herself as a boy to support her family during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.”)

A book that won an award: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (A Business Insider Defining Book of the Decade )

An audiobook: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Another “The Office” friend. If you aren’t a “Office” fan, okay to skip.)

A book less than 100 pages: two novelas by Fredrick Backman And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella and The Deal of a Lifetime

A book You want to discuss with others: Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

Penalty Book (subtract two books if you don’t read this book): Abigail Adams . . . I read it! I read it! No need to subtract. Whew AND I’m glad I read it.


You can see I didn’t read in every category and I’m drawn to non-fiction more than fiction.

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 two fantastic novellas and I’m 99% sure I would still be intending to read Abigail Adams by Woody Holton. Thanks to you, I read both of them.

I can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading. I’ll pick winners on Saturday so you have time this week to leave a comment.

Thank you for joining in!

Amy

Amy

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  1. Rhonda August 18, 2020 at 7:42 am - Reply

    So after sleeping half my summer away, I finally had the desire to read again mid-July. Been six months since I read a book (Loss the desire to read due to four months online teaching and so much time spent on the computer).

    Sadly with not being able to go home this summer, I could only go with the books I have with me here overseas. Many do not fit the categories you gave us but figured could show you what I did manage to get read over the last few weeks.

    Sorry Amy.

    1. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
    2. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
    3. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
    4. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
    5. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    6. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
    7. The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan
    8. Washington Square by Henry James
    9. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
    10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    11. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Rhonda, why say sorry? :). This has been a season where we all just do what we can :). My local libary was closed most of the summer, so without my normal roaming around hunting for “good” summer reads, I too had not my best (in my opinion) summer of reading. BUT look at us, we showed up!

      And can i say, your list makes me smile because it does seem like the type of books one finds on foregin soil :). (A Separate Peace is heart breakingly beautiful, isn’t it!!)

  2. Jamie August 18, 2020 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Here is what I read:

    COVID-19 Special Categories:

    A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue: 13 Little Blue Envelopes–Maureen Johnson

    A book with a nurse, doctor, or other medical personnel: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires–Grady Hendrix

    A book with a teacher, student, or classroom: Wilder Girls–Rory Power

    A book about a pandemic or outbreak: The Passage–Justin Cronin

    In Recognition of the Joy of reading:

    A Biography: Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands–Susan Goldman Rubin

    A book I already own: 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas–Marie-Helene Bertino

    A book a friend recommended: The Lost Vintage–Ann Mah

    A Young Adult book (YA): Rani Patel in Full Effect–Sonia Patel

    A book with a great cover: Sunset Beach–Mary Kay Andrews

    A book of poetry: The Complete Poems of John Keats

    A memoir or autobiography: The Liars’ Club–Mary Karr

    A graphic novel: Spinning–Tillie Walden

    A book for professional development (loosely defined): I Really Needed This Today–Hoda Kotb

    A book longer than 700 pages (counts as two books): The Brontes–Juliet Barker

    A book with a verb in the title: Driving With the Top Down–Beth Harbison

    A play: Fences–August Wilson

    A book about a country or culture you have never visited: Tigress–Jennifer Blake

    A book about history: Dead Wake–Erik Larson

    A book that won an award: Boy Meets Boy–David Levithan

    A classic: Twelfth Night–William Shakespeare

    A novel: Kindred–Octavia E. Butler

    An audiobook: Pure Joy–Danielle Steel

    A book with an animal: Murder, She Barked–Krista Davis

    A book less than 100 pages: We Should All Be Feminists–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    A book you want to discuss with others: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything–Janelle Brown

    My Penalty Book: The Garden of Small Beginnings–Abbi Waxman

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Jamie, this is a delightfully impressive list :)

  3. Phyllis August 18, 2020 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Here’s my list:
    – Parables of the Cross, by Lilias Trotter (A book less than 100 pages)
    – Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin (A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue; I liked the borrowed lines.)
    – Breathe Again, by Niki Hardy (A book with a verb in the title or one that I wanted to discuss? This was a reread; I went through it a second time with the author in an online group, so I got my wish of discussing it.)
    – As Bright as Heaven, by Susan Meissner (A book about a pandemic or outbreak)
    – Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker (A book with a verb in the title)
    – Letters from the Land of Cancer, by Walter Wangerin Jr. (A memoir or autobiography)
    – Ishmael Instructs Isaac, by John Kaltner (A book You want to discuss with others)
    – Disability and the Gospel, by Michael S. Beates (A book for professional development and my penalty book. It was so good! It was only a penalty book because of the format. I’ve had it sitting around for a while, because I do most of my reading as ebooks.)
    – Joni, by Joni Earickson Tada (A memoir or autobiography)
    – And Every Day the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, by Fredrik Backman (A book less than 100 pages)
    -Полтава (A book about history? A classic? A book of poetry? A book less than 100 pages?)

    I have several more summer readings underway still that I will finish soon. This has been a good summer for me and books. :-)

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Phyllis, I LOVE how thought-ful you are . . . you are a deep well, my friend. What did you think of the Parables of the Cross? I hadn’t heard of it, but “LIllian Trotter” caught my eye :). And your “I liked the borrowed lines” comment is a bit of a sparkle for me this morning! I read Letters from Cancer years ago — I can’t remember much from it, but I do so love Walter Wangerin’s style and his gentle tone on complex subjects. Thanks for joining!!

      • Phyllis August 26, 2020 at 5:50 am - Reply

        Parable of the Cross is good. Lots of quotable little gems to come back to again and again.

  4. Michele August 18, 2020 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I was shocked to realize the summer reading challenge is already finished! I kind of forgot to pay attention this year because summer was just so weird… but now that I look at what I read, I think I made it anyway! I read ten books- Let’s see how many fit in the categories:
    1. A book I already owned (probably half fit this category- I own too many books to keep buying more)– The Unclaimed Victim by D.M. Pulley
    2. A book of poetry- Made in the Pans by Amy Carmichael
    3. A memoir or autobiography- Look Back in Wonder by Desmond Doig (British journalist who worked in Calcutta and traveled around India, Nepal & Bhutan in the 40’s and 50’s)
    4. A book with a verb in the title: Passover: The Key that Unlocks the Book of Revelation by Daniel Juster
    5. A book about a country or culture you have never visited: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (historical fiction in Ireland)
    6. A novel (historical fiction again- so could fit a book about history): A Piece of the World by Christina Baker
    7. A book you want to discuss with others: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

    Yay! I did it despite summer slipping by!

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:06 am - Reply

      I know!! This “summer” has seemed so outside of time, eh?! The memoir you read sounds really good! Would you recommend it?

      • Michele August 20, 2020 at 6:07 am - Reply

        I would recommend it if there is a version from a better publisher available- and there must be! I got it at a local book fair a few years ago, and after finally picking it up, I thought several times I’d have to put it down again because of the millions of typos. In the end it was worth it for me, since that’s my corner of the world. He wrote with a lot of humor and it was an interesting perspective.

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          Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:25 am - Reply

          FYI . . . your version may be the only one available :). I can’t find it in my library, or US wide library system, or on Amazon! But I see the Doig wrote a biography of Mother Theresa and that looks interesting :)!

  5. Claire August 18, 2020 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Here are seven of the many books I read this summer:
    Teacher & students – Mysterious Benedict Society by Stewart
    Professional development – How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age by Carnegie
    Verb in the title – I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Turek & Geisler
    About history – Color of Law by Rothstein
    A classic – Little Women by Alcott
    Want to discuss – How to be an Antiracist by Kendi
    Penalty – 1984 by Orwell

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Claire, glad you joined! You read some interesting books!

  6. Lisa B Anderson August 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    It’s my first time joining in on the summer reading challenge. Thanks for challenging me to be more creative with my book choices! :)

    Here are some of mine:
    A book with a teacher, student, or classroom – The Small Rain – Madeleine L’Engle

    A book I already own – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

    A book a friend recommended – The Book of Longings – Sue Monk Kidd

    A Young Adult book (YA) – Pay Attention, Carter Jones – Gary Schmidt

    A book for professional development (loosely defined) – Born Again This Way – Rachel Gilson

    A book with a verb in the title – Enter Wild – Carlos Whittaker

    A classic – The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

    A novel – Send Down the Rain – Charles Martin

    A book You want to discuss with others – Sula – Toni Morrison

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:04 am - Reply

      Lisa! So glad you joined!! I need this challenge every summer, that’s for sure :)!

  7. Megan Smith August 18, 2020 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    This was a much needed challenge this summer and it was fun to complete. I added an extra challenge to try and push myself to fulfill the different categories by reading as many authors of color (specifically Black authors) as I could. I wasn’t successful for every category but the drive-in pick ups at my local library helped.

    1. Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Pandemic)
    2. The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Friend recommendation)
    3. A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green (YA book)
    4. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Poetry)
    5. When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors (Memoir)
    6. Why Are All the Black kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum
    (Professional Development)
    7. For the Joy by Miriam Chan (Place I never visited)
    8. The Unerground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Novel)
    9. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Todi Adeyemi (Audiobook)
    10. Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Award)
    11. No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell Moore (Discuss)
    12. Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin (History)
    13. Stop Calling Me Beautiful by Phylicia Masonheimer (Verb in Title)

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:00 am - Reply

      Megan! I love the extra nudge to push yourself to find authors of color! Out of your reads, which one would you recommend I read? :)?

      • Megan Smith August 19, 2020 at 5:04 pm - Reply

        Both Underground Railroad and A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (Second Book in a duo) were my favorites of the Summer. If you prefer something non-fiction then is really enjoyed Call Me American. It is the story of a Somalian man who eventually won a visa to the Unisted States.

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          Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:30 am - Reply

          Thanks Megan! I’ve placed holds at the libary for the fiction!

  8. Elaine August 18, 2020 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this Summer Reading Challenge! This was my first summer participating. Thank you for the Penalty Book category. I read a book that has been on my To Be Read list for over a decade (I’m not exaggerating).

    This is what I read:

    1. A book about a pandemic: The End of October by Lawrence Wright
    2. A book with a great cover: The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
    3. A memoir: Untamed by Glennon Doyle
    4. A book for professional development: Late Bloomers: The power of patience in a world obsessed with achievement by Rich Karlgaard
    5. A book longer than 700 pages: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
    6. A novel: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
    7. A book you want to discuss with others: Project 333 by Courtney Carver
    8. PENALTY BOOK: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

    Yay for summer reading! Thank you again for this challenge!

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Elaine, I’m with you!! The pentaly book has helped me so much the last three years :)! And each of the three books I really AM glad that I got off my duff and read them :). What’s interesting aobut your books is that so many of them I haven’t heard of and need to check out. So many good books in the world, eh?!

  9. Mary Beth August 18, 2020 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    1. A book I already own: Atomic Habits by James Clear
    2. A book with a great cover: A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories by Angela McAllister
    3. A memoir: Love Amy: An Accidental Memoir Told in Newsletters from China by Amy Young (extra points for this?)
    4. A book longer than 700 pages: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
    5. A book with a verb in the title: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
    6. A book less than 100 pages: A Student’s Guide to U.S. History by Wilfred M. McClay
    7. A book you want to discuss with others: God Is the Gospel by John Piper
    My penalty book: Les Miserables. Done! All 1222 pages. So worth it. Loved the story and the writing.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Les Miserables!!!! You go girl! (and yes, all the points for reading Love, Amy :))!!

  10. Sarah Hilkemann August 19, 2020 at 6:56 am - Reply

    You have so many good titles on your list, Amy! A few of mine overlap. :) I read Educated this spring with my library book club and found it so fascinating.

    I wasn’t sure I made it to 7 books but I did! Here’s my list:

    A Book with a Verb in the Title: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell- this was so interesting and timely, and my sister read it at the same time so we had lots of great discussions.

    Memoir/Autobiography (sort of): To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam

    Novel: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

    Professional Development: Sacred Siblings: Valuing One Another for the Great Commission by Sue Eenigenburg and Suzy Grumelot

    Country or Culture You’ve Never Visited: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (well, I have been to Paris but they spent a big chunk of time in Spain and Switzerland which I haven’t visited) ;)

    Less than 100 pages: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

    A Book a friend recommended: The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 8:55 am - Reply

      Sarah, I love knowing what you’re reading too :)! The memoir sounds interesting! Would you recommend it?

  11. Rachel Kahindi August 19, 2020 at 9:11 am - Reply

    I read so much more than usual this year because we can’t go anywhere or do anything. I also read a lot more to my kids. Same reason. They’re so boooooorrrreeed… The COVID-19 categories were fun, and even though I had just finished The Stand a couple of months before the challenge, I still wanted to read another pandemic book.

    Pandemic: Outbreak by Robin Cook

    Biography: Ocean of Truth by Joy McPherson (for my 5th grader’s homeschool curriculum)

    Book I already own: Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

    Poetry: Cricket Never Does, Sunset in a Spider Web, Pass It On (3 different books – I never read poetry just for fun, but they are all quite short)

    Memoir: A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

    Verb in the title: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin AND Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris (read to the kids)

    Play: Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga (a classic from Kenya’s early years of independence)

    Country or culture you never visited: The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel (from Turkey)

    History: Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar by Emily Ruete (also a memoir, obviously, but from the 1800s)

    Won an award: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    Classic: King of the Golden River by John Ruskin (read to the kids)

    Novel: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

    Audiobook: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman (very short)

    Animal: The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford (for my 5th grader’s literature)

    <100 pages: Grace's Letter to Lincoln by Peter Roop (for my 3rd grader, also history)

    Want to discuss with others: Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison AND Sacred Siblings by Sue Eenigenburg

    Several other books I read to the kids that don't fit in a category

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Rachel, I love this annual peek into each other’s lives :). AND you just sent me down a rabbit trail on the internet with Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga . . . I’m always on the hunt for good plays :). (P.S. even though it’s HARD to see the kids so bored, the irony is that in February a friend and I were discussing the books we read at our grandma’s because we were bored and they were the only books available to us. We said, “Kids these days won’t know that kind of summer reading.” HA! :)

      • Rachel Kahindi August 20, 2020 at 12:50 am - Reply

        LOL. I guess they will now…

    • Michele August 20, 2020 at 6:13 am - Reply

      What did you think of The Girl in the Tree? I read that one just before summer- got it when Amazon did a bunch of free books from authors around the world. I kind of struggled with it and wondered how much of that was because of the translation and how much was that it just wasn’t really my style.

  12. Christina G. August 19, 2020 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    I finished my penalty book (Scandalously Yours) and all of the prompts except for poetry, graphic novel, and >700 pages. In prompt order:
    Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
    My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
    A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
    The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara
    Mothers’ Group by Liane Moriarty
    Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott
    Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
    Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
    Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston
    Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
    When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
    A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
    The Fire Thief by Debra Bokur
    A Night to Remember by Walter Lord
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brian
    Neuromancer by William Gibson
    The Lion’s Lady by Julie Garwood
    Ruff vs. Fluff by Spencer Quinn
    A Deadly Chapter by Jan Fields
    The Story Behind Juneteenth by Jack Reader
    Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Christina! This is like a “tour de force” of reading. Well done :)

  13. Mitzi Mak August 19, 2020 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    These are the books I read from Jun 1 – Aug 18. They cover 16 of the categories :) I put stars by the ones I would especially recommend.
    How to be a Conscious Eater
    The Dearly Beloved
    How to Pronounce Knife
    The Cactus
    Last Tang Standing
    Counting by 7s
    The Color of Compromise
    Bringing Down the Duke
    Becoming
    Party of Two
    Minor Feelings
    To Have and to Hoax
    The Guardians
    Such a Fun Age
    The Bluest Eye
    The Voice of the Heart
    Go in Peace: The Art of Hearing Confessions

    • Mitzi August 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Oops – I forgot to * the recommended titles. And I don’t know how to edit!

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        Amy August 19, 2020 at 5:23 pm - Reply

        If you want to email me (amy@messymiddle.com) the * I can add them and then delete these other comments. OR you can just copy and paste your list and redo the commeent with the * and I’ll delete the non-starred comments :)! We got options!

        And 16 of 18 is impressive. High five! (Or should I say, High 16!)

  14. Christy J August 19, 2020 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    I had a wonderful summer of reading! Being stuck at home and not wanting to go outside in temps of over 110 degrees kept me in my books more. I really enjoyed almost all the books I read, and I’m still keeping my brain sharp with the detective stories because I haven’t finished all of Sherlock Holmes yet. I am also proud of myself for covering 15 categories.

    1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (A book about a country or culture you have never visited)
    2. Francis and Clare: The Complete Works by Francis of Assisi and Clare of Assisi (A book I already own)
    3. Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell (A memoir)
    4. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco (Penalty book and a book with something old)
    5. Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T.S. Eliot (A book of poetry)
    6. The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1 by Arthur Conan Doyle (A book longer than 700 pages. Note: I am more than halfway through Volume 2 and in total I’ve read at least 1100 pages of Sherlock Holmes stories, so I’m counting this as 3 books.)
    7. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (A Young Adult book)
    8. Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (A novel)
    9. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (A book with an animal)
    10. Letter to the Church by Francis Chan (A book for professional development)
    11. The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (A book I want to discuss with others—really, has anyone read this book? I wish I had read it with a book club.)
    12. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (A book that won an award—Edgar Award)
    13. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (A Young Adult book)
    14. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (A book with a verb in the title)
    15. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (A book about history—it’s historical fiction, but I learned a lot about Michael Collins and the Irish struggle for independence that I didn’t know before)
    16. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (A book with a doctor–This was the one book on my list that I was disappointed by, but I finished it anyway because I am the type of person that needs closure.)
    17. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (A Young Adult book)

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:36 am - Reply

      It is such a JOY to see your name, Christy :)!

      The Complete Work of Sherlock Holmes?! I’m impressed. I have watched the complete series of “Elementary” on TV . . . does that count? HAHAHA. Um, no. 1,100 pages. I love these tidbits!

      AND I understand finishing reading a book. Almost every book I start, I finish. Just becasue.

      Thanks for joining in ! and stay cool :)

  15. Bev Baird August 19, 2020 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you for hosting this challenge – it was such fun searching for books to meet the different categories. I did not read my penalty book, Becoming(!), although I definitely will this year. I read 13 books – minus 2 for not reading Becoming – so total is 11
    Here are the books I read by category

    Four COVID-19 Special Categories:
    • A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue – The Beach Wedding by Lucy Kevin
    • A book with a nurse, doctor, or other medical personnel – One Hundrd Reasons by Kelly Collins (nurse)
    • A book with a teacher, student, or classroom – Menace by Laramie Briscoe (teacher)
    • A book about a pandemic or outbreak – Pestilence by Pamela Taylor
    For the Joy of Reading:
    • A book I already own – Seeker by Rita Pomade
    • A Young Adult book (YA) – Hex hall by Rachel Hawkins (read the whole series – so enjoyed it)
    • A book with a great cover – Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
    • A memoir – Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes (one of Canada’s greatest Olympians
    • A book longer than 700 pages (counts as two books) – Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas
    • A book with a verb in the title – Intercepted by Alexie Martin
    • A book that won an award – Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
    • A novel -Perfect Summer by Katie Graykowski
    • Penalty Book (subtract two books if you don’t read this book) Becoming

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Bev, so fun to read through your list :). I’ll have to check out that YA series . . . a good YA book is such a treat, isn’t it?!!

  16. Mary Raikes August 20, 2020 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Winter challenge for me 😉 here in New Zealand because of Covid travel restrictions

    – A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue : Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner (all of the above as it was about a fancy wedding, and a murder)
    – A book with a teacher, student, or classroom : Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
    – A book I already own : Anne’s House Of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
    – A Young Adult book (YA) : The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
    – A book with a great cover : The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
    – A memoir or autobiography : Untamed by Glennon Doyle
    – A book for professional development (loosely defined) : Brain-Based Early Learning Activities by Nikki Darling-Kuria
    – A book with a verb in the title : Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro (hated this!)
    – A book about a country or culture you have never visited : Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    – A book about history : A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
    – A book that won an award : Aue by Becky Manawatu
    – A novel : Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
    – A book less than 100 pages : And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer by Fredrik Backman
    – A book You want to discuss with others : The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi

    • Kiera August 22, 2020 at 7:11 am - Reply

      I noticed Anne’s House of Dreams on your list. I listened to the entire Anne series for the first time this spring. So refreshing and delightful!

      • Mary Raikes August 23, 2020 at 12:55 am - Reply

        Nice! I am slowly making my way through the whole series on Kindle. Loving them, and the Emily of New Moon trilogy too.

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Mary, happy winter reading :)!

      I hadn’t heard of “Go” and the fact that you hated it caught my eye. Now i”m curious! Looking at Amazon reviews, it sounds like it has potential. BUT based on the fact that you didn’t like it, I might pass :).

      And yay for Velvet Ashes Book Club cross-over! (My sister and three nieces also did the challenge and we passed “Every Morning” around so it’s on several of our lists! i love that we’re all reading similar things!)

      • Mary Raikes August 23, 2020 at 12:59 am - Reply

        Thank you :)

        It had potential but it just didn’t live up to it. It felt like it was written by an actual teenager – grammatically and subject matter. There was also a lot of senseless violence.

        So fun! I haven’t read the other Backman novella for Velvet Ashes yet though.

  17. Anna Smith August 20, 2020 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Here are my books:

    – A book with something blue: Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (it’s a graphic novel, and the drawings consist of white and blue
    – A biography: Dreaming in Code by Emily Arnold McCully (about Ada Byron Lovelace)
    – A book I already own: Dangerous by Shannon Hale
    – A Young Adult book: Not if I Save You First by Ally Carter
    – A memoir: Life Undercover Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox
    – A graphic novel: Wires and Nerve Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
    – A book for professional development: Dear Ally, How Do You Write A Book by Ally Carter
    – A book about a country or culture you have never visited: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
    – A book a friend recommended: The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
    – A classic: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
    – A book less than 100 pages: Double Crossed A Spies and Thieves Story by Ally Carter
    – An audiobook: Looking for Lovely

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Anna, I love seeing the theme of code breaking, spies, CIA . . . maybe your future adult self will look back and see clues to your occupation in your reading! Thanks for joining!

  18. Nicole August 20, 2020 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Had so much reading books a little more outside of my comfort zone. While I was able to read my penalty book, it felt as if most of the books I read were penalty books – books I’ve been intending to read for ages but never go the motivation to start. Sadly, I wasn’t able to finish my last book – it’s a 700+ word one.

    – A book with a nurse, doctor, or other medical personal: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
    – A book a friend recommended: Three Dark Crowns by Kandare Blake
    – A Memoir or autobiography: Becoming by Michelle Obama
    – A Book about a country or culture you have never visited – The Alchemist by Paulo
    Coalho
    – A classic: Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (my penalty book :))
    – A Book you want to discuss with others: I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Nicole, I’m the same . . . once I’m nudged out of reading books I normally read, I enjoy it more than I think I will ;)! And I”m an extra point for reading so many “penalty” books ;)!

  19. Katy Smith August 21, 2020 at 7:17 am - Reply

    – A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo
    – A book with a teacher, student, or classroom: Miss Spitfire by Sara Miller
    – A book of poetry: I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris
    – A graphic novel: The Giver by Lois Lowry
    – A book about a country of culture you have never visited: I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka
    – A book that won an award: Inside Out and Back Again
    – A classic: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    – A novel: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
    – A book with an animal: Mrs. Frisby and the RAts of Nimh by Robert O’Brien
    – A book less than 100 pages: The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

    • Kiera August 22, 2020 at 7:18 am - Reply

      What did you think of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane? I love Kate DiCamillo, but I’m on the fence on whether I liked this one or not.

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 11:53 am - Reply

      Katy! I read “Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nihm” one summer when I was a teen :). Thanks for joining in the challenge!

  20. Chloe Smith August 21, 2020 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Four COVID-19 Special Categories:
    • A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue – “The Giver” graphic novel (much blue was used in the illustrations)
    • A book with a nurse, doctor, or other medical personnel – “All Creatures Great and Small”
    • A book of poetry – “Inside Out and Back Again”
    • A book I already own – “The Mysterious Benedict Society”
    • A graphic Novel – “Tom Sawyer” manga version
    • A book for professional development (loosely defined) – “The Road Back to You”
    • A book about a country or culture you have never visited – “The Breadwinner”
    • A book that won an award – “The Westing Game”
    • A classic – “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
    • A novel – “The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey”

    • Kiera August 22, 2020 at 7:17 am - Reply

      I’m intrigued by the idea of The Giver as a graphic novel. Is this Lois Lowry’s book done as a graphic novel?

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Did the Manga version stay fairly true to the original Tom Sawyer? I remember reading Mark Twain as a kid and on a summer trip we stopped in Hannibal, Missouri :). Thanks for joining in the challenge!

  21. Elizabeth Smith August 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    • A book I already own – “How Green Was my Valley” by Richard Llewellyn (WOW. Need to read this at least every 5-10 years.)
    • A book a friend recommended – “The Robe” – Lloyd C. Douglas
    • A book with a great cover – “An Altar in the World” by Barbara Brown Taylor (and a GREAT inside!)
    • A book of poetry – “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai
    • A graphic Novel – “The Giver”
    • A book for professional development (loosely defined) – “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown (Soooooo helpful!!)
    • A book with a verb in the title – “Surprise the World” by Michael Frost
    • A play – “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett (Always wanted to read this. It was my summer of 20th century-defining French literature. :-))
    • A book about a country or culture you have never visited – “The Breadwinner” by Nora Twomey
    • A classic – “La Cantatrice Chauve » by Eugene Ionesco
    • A novel – “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
    • A book less than 100 pages – “The Deal of a Lifetime” by Fredrik Backner
    • A book You want to discuss with others – “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

    • Kiera August 22, 2020 at 7:16 am - Reply

      I’ve read The Things They Carried. What did you think? Did you like it? It was intriguing but the whole aspect of – what is actually real here? puts me on the fence of whether I like it or not.

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      So many good books on your list! (and I love that there are others — like La Cantatrice Chauve — that I will probably never pick up :). Reading is so wonderfully communal and personal!

  22. Emily August 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Lots of reading this summer! Interesting to see that I read a lot more nonfiction than I normally do! Different seasons, different reasons, I guess. :)
    • A Biography: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret
    • A book I already own: Present Over Perfect
    • A book a friend recommended: Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes
    • A book with a great cover: Across the Street and Around the World
    • A memoir or autobiography: The Happiness Project
    • A graphic Novel: The Breadwinner
    • A book for professional development (loosely defined): The Art of Gathering
    • A book longer than 700 pages (counts as two books): A Little Life
    • A book with a verb in the title: Talking to Strangers
    • A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Little Book of Lykke
    • A book about history: The Hiding Place
    • A classic: The Great Divorce
    • A novel: Rich People Problems
    • A book less than 100 pages: The Deal of A Lifetime
    • A book You want to discuss with others: Surprise the World

    • Kiera August 22, 2020 at 7:15 am - Reply

      Scanning the lists – a lot of people read The Breadwinner (maybe two different ones?) interesting though. :)

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        Amy August 22, 2020 at 12:03 pm - Reply

        Kiera, in full disclosure :) . . . we are all family members and passed around a libary book! My mom and brother-in-law read it too :) . . . so I can say that it was well done enough that three generations AND men, women, and teens liked it :). Though, it is not an “easy” read when you think about the realities for girls/families in many parts of the world.

        • Kiera August 23, 2020 at 12:42 pm - Reply

          Haha! Well that explains it. :) The 4th graders used to read it at the international school I worked at in China and I just looking at the audiobook on Libby and wondering if it would be ok for my daughter – she’s just going into 3rd grade, so maybe not quite yet?

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            Amy August 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm

            Yeah, maybe not quite yet. The youngest for us is going in 7th grade. :)

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      I love ‘different seasons, different reasons” and welcome to nonfiction world :)! So many great books ahead of you . . . :) (and probably plenty of fiction waiting for me!)

    • Mary Raikes August 23, 2020 at 1:05 am - Reply

      I love the 2 books by Shauna Niequist that you read, and Gretchen Rubin’s one as well. Bread and Wine is a good one to gift people I think.

  23. Sarah R. August 21, 2020 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Thanks to a new library card and minimal other activity; I read SO much this summer!

    Four COVID-19 Special Categories:
    A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue
    –The Silver Shoes by Jill G. Hall
    A book with a nurse, doctor, or other medical personnel
    –This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (Hilarious!)
    A book with a teacher, student, or classroom
    –The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    A book I already own
    –Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
    A book a friend recommended
    –Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay
    A Young Adult book (YA)
    –American Royals by Katharine McGee (Imagines the US as a monarchy instead of a democracy)
    A book with a great cover
    –Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
    A memoir or autobiography
    –Love Thy Neighbor by Ayaz Virgi
    A book with a verb in the title
    –They Went Left by Monica Hesse
    A book about a country or culture you have never visited
    –A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
    A book about history
    –The Book Of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
    –The Nickel Boys by Colton Whitehead
    A book that won an award
    –The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead
    A book You want to discuss with others
    –Mexican Gothic by Silva Moreno-Garcia (So weird, yet interesting)

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Sarah, I hadn’t heard of “This is Going to Hurt” — thanks for the recommendation, I just requested it from the library :)!

  24. Kiera August 22, 2020 at 7:07 am - Reply

    I always forget about coming back to comment, so I might be too late but I’ll share anyways.

    Lots of these were audiobooks, which I didn’t used to be so into, but these days I find that is how I am able to do more reading as it’s hard to get the time to pick up a physical book, so for my own sake, I noted which ones were actually physical books. :)

    So I’ve got:
    1. an audiobook – Anne of Ingelside, L. M. Montgomery (actually I did the whole Anne series, but this is the one I “counted” for this challenge.)
    2. a book that won an award – Harry Potter #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling – a re-“read” (first time listening)
    3. a memoir – Jesus, My Father, the CIA and me, Ian Morgan Cron
    4. a book less than 100 pages – The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery (phyical book)
    5. a book about history – Dragonwings, Lawrence Yep (about the San Francisco 1906 earthquake and Chinese living in the city at the time, a middle grades novel) (physical book)
    6. a book with an animal – The Green Ember, S.D. Smith
    7. a book with a verb in the title – Ember Falls, S.D. Smith (I am listening to the entire series – I read the first 3 before, but the 4th just came out.)
    8. a novel – Secrets of a Charmed Life, Susan Messier (physical book)

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      Kiera, so fun to see your name! I’ve wanted to read “Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and me” — would you recommend it? AND the brain is so interesting — I believe that audio books are “real” books, but I find that since I mostly “read” physical books, my brain can’t hold onto nonfiction books and the information they contain as well as when my eyes are the entry way to my brain :).

      • Kiera August 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm - Reply

        Yes, it was good. Less about the CIA and more about growing up with an alcoholic father. I agree that I prefer real books, but memoirs are enough story that I can do it. I also love when they are read by their authors. One of, if not, the first audiobook I ever listened to was Wild in the Hollow way back when that was on Velvet Ashes book club. At the time, the only way to get my hands on the book was through an Audible free trial. I later “read” Humble Roots the same way. Now that I am in the US, I have access to a lot more audiobooks through the library.

        And sometimes the audiobook brings such a different spin that I enjoy it in a whole new way than when I read it on my own. The Green Ember series has been like that. Also Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan – I’ve only heard it as an audiobook and I can’t imagine it being anything else. Sleeping Giants is another that I listened to and the different voices make it perfect as an audiobook.

  25. Mabel August 22, 2020 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    I love this challenge, although I had forgotten about it until mid July so I had to go back through my list of books to see if I had any that qualified. I did!

    Here is my list:

    A Biography: The Last Goodnight by Howard Blum – its about a female spy in WWII that worked for both MI-6 and the OSS (precursor to the CIA). What a woman of loose morals, however she did manage to get lots of sensitive information for our side of the war.

    A book for professional Development (VERY – loosely defined): Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple by Seth Gillihan – I have had cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) before, but I needed a refresher with the COVID crisis. I liked this book even better than other books i have ready about it, because this author included mindfulness as part of the therapy lessons.

    A book with a verb in the title: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, this is an Urban Fantasy novel and a fun read as the main character has conversations with his dog and the author includes lots of funny dialog between the dog and his owner.

    A Classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – my husband has been asking me to read this for years so I finally did. I found it interesting and I am glad I read it.

    A novel: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – very good.

    A book less than 100 pages: Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews – another Urban Fantasy (great escapist books for me with the COVID isolation).

    A book I want to discuss with others: Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker – this is a book about a family with 12 kids and 6 of them are diagnosed with schizophrenia. The author puts in chapters about how schizophrenia has been researched over the last 150 years and that this family has been a huge part of the last 40-50 years by allowing their DNA to be used Also this family lived in Colorado Springs.

    Thanks to your contest I have read more non fiction than I usually do and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for having the contest every year. Its great fun!

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      Mabel!! I love hearing what you’re reading and the snippets into the books. CBT is a great form of therapy and a wonderful tool to refresh in these stressful times. I can see why you’d like to discuss “Hidden Valley Road” — now I’m intriqued! Maybe we can discuss it :)

      • Mabel August 23, 2020 at 7:39 am - Reply

        Amy,
        I would love to discuss it! :o) If you read it let me know.
        I didn’t think the writing was the best I have ever read, however the information I gleaned from the book was fascinating. I have a cousin who has schizophrenia and so it was interesting to find out more about it. I also loved finding out how the study of schizophrenia has evolved over the years.

  26. Paulette August 22, 2020 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for the encouragement to read more books for this fun “summer” reading challenge, Amy! (It’s winter here in southern Brasil, though, haha – 8 degrees Celsius right now. But I still enjoy calling it a summer reading challenge, and remembering July and August afternoons last year during home assignment sprawled on the grass under the big pine tree in my parents lawn…).

    Anyway, I finished just in time, Tuesday evening! Besides meeting the reading challenge goal, it was a perfect time to work on a long-standing personal goal of reading more in Portuguese, so three of the books reflect that.

    • A book I already own – Hunger for God, by John Piper
    • A book a friend recommended – O Monge e o Executivo (The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, by James C. Hunter). Unfortunately, I lost this book on August 16th, with only about 30 pages left to read. Even though the only places I have been are the house, the car, and my brothers’ workplace, we can’t find it anywhere. So my quick “what book can I read in one day?” solution is the next one on the list, haha.
    • A book with a great cover – A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri J. M. Nouwen.
    Link so you can see the cover, which I think is pretty cool
    https://www.amazon.com/Spirituality-Fundraising-Henri-J-M-Nouwen-ebook/dp/B004LRP7CO/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=spirituality+of+fundraising&qid=1598105264&s=digital-text&sr=1-2
    • A book for professional development (loosely defined) – Tradução Bíblica, by Katherine Barnwell (Bible Translation: An Introductory Course in Translation Principles)
    • A book with a verb in the title – Descobrindo Seus Pontos Fortes (Discovering your Strengths), by
    • A book about a country or culture you have never visited – God Spoke Tibetan
    • A book that won an award – Crazy Love, by Francis Chan
    • A book less than 100 pages – Founded, the Heritage of Ethnos360 (originally New Tribes Mission) link to the free pdf version: https://ethnos360.org/Uploads/downloads/books/Founded%20-%20The%20Heritage%20of%20Ethnos360%20eBook.pdf

    It was so fun to see what everyone else has been reading the last couple months. Might have to add some of these books to a future reading list. Thank you for sharing!

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      Amy August 22, 2020 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Paulette — you go girl reading in Portugese! And isn’t it maddening when you can’t find a book? But I loved your solution :). Several years ago I challenged myself to read a certain number of books in a year and found myself in December reading every short book I could get my hands on. HA! But you know what? From that year the only book I remember that I read is one of the short books about a woman who was ill and documented the snail on the plant in her window. To this day, I can tell you facts about snails simply because I was desperate to get my hands on short books :)! I hadn’t heard of that Nouwen book, but now I want to read it! I love his writing. And I love the memory of you laying in the grass reading even though it is COLD for you right now! Thanks for joining in!

      • Mary Raikes August 23, 2020 at 1:11 am - Reply

        Amy, I read that snail book last year I think! It was so random but also oddly calming and reflective. I think it’s called The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.

  27. KimmyC August 22, 2020 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Penalty book- Tale of Two Cities
    Book with a teacher, student or classroom- This Tender Land
    YA book- Piecing Me Together
    A book with a great cover- Restoration House
    A book for professional development- Let it Go
    Book with a verb in the title- Adore
    A novel- Clover
    A book with an animal- The Bear
    A book less than 100 pages- How Reading Changed my Life

    • KimmyC August 22, 2020 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for the challenge. I have participated in it the last three years and it always gets me excited to read again. I read a lot, but by the summer I sometimes run out of energy and this gets me excited again.

  28. Sarah Schmidt August 24, 2020 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Did I miss the deadline? With two littles underfoot I managed to read but not get this posted.

    1. A book with either something old, something new, something borrowed or something blue: Jubilee: Recipes from two centuries of African-American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin (the something old is the recipes but recommend for commentary on foodways and a perspective on how we consider what belongs to whom)

    2. A book with a nurse, doctor or other medical personnel: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

    3. A book with a teacher, student or classroom: Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery

    4. A book about a pandemic or outbreak: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner (1918 flu pandemic)

    5. A biography: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

    6. A book a friend recommended: In Five Years – Rebecca Serle

    7. A young adult book: (this one may actually not be YA per se) One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

    8. A book with a great cover: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (black Madonna on the cover)

    9. A memoir or autobiography: Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

    10. A book with a verb in the title: The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

    11. A book about a country or culture you have never visited: The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen (Vietnam)

    12. A book about history: Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (this one is also a stretch to fit a category – historical fiction about the blitz in London but the author artfully entwines reflections on the meaning of histories both personal and broadscale ;) )

    13. A book that won an award: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Hugo award for best novel; Nebula award for best novel)

    14. A classic: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

    15. A novel: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    16. An audiobook: Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer (my first audiobook! I’m now a fan, although wish they came with warnings for graphic language :( )

    17. A book with an animal: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

    18. A book less than 100 pages: Psalms: The Prayerbook of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (also my penalty book)

    19. A book you want to discuss with others: Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein (historical fiction about the rise of the third reich in Germany written from the perspective of a young German girl, lots to chew on when thinking about how did something like the holocaust happen)

    This was a lot of fun. My library also had a challenge this summer which got me reading more outside my usual genres. Also reading more fiction than usual as it gave me a nice break while still having good substance. Race, empathy, expectations around gender roles, learning lessons from history and considering how we live in times of uncertainty were themes across all these reads.
    Thanks for hosting, Amy!

  29. Kathleen Towner August 24, 2020 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Yes, I’m a week late and a dollar short! Enjoyed seeing so many people reading this summer. Reading the list of books that people read is a GREAT READ in itself! Look forward to your recommendations.

    Thanks Amy for your challenge!

    2020 Summer Reading Challenge

    Initiated by Amy Young

    Accepted by Kathleen Towner and many others!

    1) A book about a pandemic – The Plague & I (published in 1948) by Betty MacDonald (Book 2 of 4: Betty MacDonald Memoirs Series; She also wrote the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series of children’s books.) “Getting tuberculosis in the middle of your life is like starting downtown to do a lot of urgent errands and being hit by a bus. When you regain consciousness you remember nothing about the urgent errands. You can’t even remember where you were going.”

    Thus begins Betty MacDonald’s memoir of her year in a sanatorium just outside Seattle battling the “White Plague.” MacDonald uses her offbeat humor to make the most of her time in the TB sanatorium—making all of us laugh in the process.” – amazon

    Yes, it’s true – TB and humor!

    2) A book with a great cover – Nothing to See Here (published in 2019) by Kevin Wilson. Link to view cover: https://www.wilsonkevin.com/books/

    A funny and heart-warming novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with a remarkable ability (the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a starling but beautiful way)!

    3) A Young Adult Book (and Graphic Novel (Amy’s summer reading challenge years ago challenged me to read a graphic novel. There are some great graphic novels being published and you can’t skim them!)
    When Stars are Scattered (published in April 2020) by Victoria Jamieson (Author, Illustrator), and Omar Mohamed (Author).

    Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp (Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya; it is the site of a UNHCR base hosting 211,365 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of May 2019) as told by a Somali refugee, Omar Mohamed.

    Omar Mohamed spent his childhood at the Dadaab camp, after his father was killed and he was separated from his mother in Somalia. He devoted everything to taking care of his younger brother, Hassan, and to pursuing his education. He now lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with his wife and five children, and works at a center to help resettle other refugees. He is the founder of Refugee Strong, a non-profit organization that empowers students living in refugee camps.

    (see also: City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp (published in 2016) by Ben Rawlence)

    4) A book about history (and another pandemic book) – The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World (published in 2006) by Steven Johnson.

    The summer of 1854, CHOLERA! The predominant thought of the day was that it was caused by “bad air”, not unclean/contaminated (feces!) water. This book reads like a medical thriller and detective story – a physician and a local curate are spurred to action and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.

    Cholera – It was classified as a pandemic as of 2010, it is rare in the developed world. In 2010, Haiti experienced an outbreak of cholera after the major earthquake (which killed about 100,000 > 160,000).

    (I also read Pandemics: A Very Short Introduction. The series: Very Short Introductions are nifty reads!)

    5) A book that won an award – One of Ours (won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1923) by Willa Cather. Selected by my book group. It’s a story about a young man growing up in a Nebraska farm and joining the army to fight in WWI. It was a good read. Also, I would recommend seeing the movie, 1917 and also Peter Jackson’s documentary film, They Shall Not Grow Old, about soldiers in WWI.

    6) A novel – Dear Edward (published in January 2020) by Ann Napolitano.
    The premise is stark: the aftermath of a plane crash (in Colorado) that killed 191 souls on board except a young boy named Edward.

    7) A book with a verb in the title (interesting category) and a book that I owned (bought it in September 7, 2019) – Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Church Massacre (June 17, 2005) and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness (published in 2019) by Jennifer Berry Hawes.

    Of course, I knew the headlines and news coverage. Very good to read and learn about the individual victims and families. Truly unimaginable to be sitting in a Bible study group and then having a young white-supremacist male shooter murder nine people (3 men and 6 women; the oldest 87 years old) and wounding three – all African-Americans. The reason: ”blacks were taking over the world”.

    8) An audiobook – Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous

    @duchessgoldblat 43.5K followers on Twitter

    Her tweet on August 20 – “I wonder if there are any undecideds wandering around this year.”

    The Book People Store in Austin, TX on July 21, 2020 – I watched via zoom and heard/watched Lyle Lovett interview Your Grace (Duchess Goldblatt)(she does not disclose herself. A bit like Elena Ferrante, but Elena does not use Twitter!)

    Who is Duchess Goldblatt?

    SEE – The painting that became the author’s Twitter avatar, Frans Hals’s “Portrait of an Elderly Lady,” Anonymous (Duchess Goldblatt) writes: “Her mouth is closed, but she’s smiling gently. You can see there’s a twinkle in her eye, a slight sauciness in her gaze.”

    My future read – A book you want to discuss with others:

    Stamped from the Beginning and How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The New York Diocese (Episcopal Church) will interview the author in October.

    THANKS AMY and others for posting your summer reading!

  30. Mike August 25, 2020 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    My intent was to fully embrace your Summer Reading Challenge this year. Alas! Other things took up far too much of my time, so I wasn’t able to read nearly as many books as I was hoping. Anyway, here are my abbreviated results (with the first book counting in three categories :-) ):

    1. A book with a nurse/a biography/a book a friend recommended – Charlie: A Man After God’s Own Heart, by Jim Usher (Do I get extra points because I knew Charlie well? He was one of my profs in undergrad)

    2. An autobiography – A Missionary in the Making, by Mabel Tyrrell (I should get extra points for this one, too, because I knew Mabel well)

    3. A book about a country or culture I’ve never visited – To Russia With God’s Love, by Mark Shaner (Once again, I should get extra points because I not only know the author, he was one of my best friends in undergrad!)

    4. A book with a verb in the title – The Running Man, by Orville Rogers

    5. A novel – A Quest of Heroes, by Morgan Rice

    Maybe next summer you could add a new category of a book whose author you know, not just know about. :-)

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