I love a good reading challenge.
They take me back, I think, to my favorite part of elementary school, which entailed reading through a list of books and getting an award (remember those Pizza Hut free pizza coupons?) or getting to try out for the Battle of the Books team (which I made, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had competing.)
They also work so well with my personality. I love lists. List all the things! And then check them off and get that little hit of dopamine that comes with accomplishing something.
I’m already participating in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, so some of the books in this list will cross over with books I’m reading for that challenge, and I’ll make a note of it when they do.
This summer, I’ll be joining along with Cathy at 746 Books for her #20BooksofSummer21 Challenge! Part of the fun of challenges like this is in the preparation, in finally taking a good, long look at my TBR lists and actually choosing which ones to read. After a few days of deliberation, I think I have a good list for this summer’s 20 books. I wanted a mix: genre and literary fiction, poetry, nonfiction, YA and middle grade books, graphic novels… and I wanted to make sure I was reading a portion of those books written by #OwnVoices authors.
So without further ado, here’s what I’m reading this summer.
- Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver: I love Mary Oliver’s work and it’s been too long since I savored a book of poetry. Very much looking forward to this one.
- Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson: This YA novel also crosses over with one of my Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge books, which is a book I chose for its cover. Plus, my oldest daughter highly recommends this series.
- Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson: I’m currently reading the first book in this series, Mistborn, which crosses over with the MMD challenge in that it was a book that I originally abandoned. I gave Mistborn a chance again and am enjoying it so much I decided to read the next book this summer.
- Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Hahneman: Another MMD crossover, this one fulfills the category of “book recommended by a local librarian or bookseller.” This book is a staff favorite at my local indie bookstore, Brilliant Books, so I’m going to give it a try.
- Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
- Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: These three books really could fulfill 2 of the MMD Challenge categories: three books by the same author and book recommended by a family member of friend. My older daughters love this series.
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: This, again, has been on my TBR list for a while, and it fulfills the MMD challenge category “memoir, biography, or work of creative nonfiction.”
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Fulfills MMD category “a book from your childhood.” I loved this series growing up and we bought all of them for our kids as well. I truly believe this is why I always wanted to live in the middle of nowhere. I’m old enough now to recognize some of the outdated themes in these books, and it’ll be a good source of discussions with my kids, most of whom have read or are reading this series now.
- Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland: My youngest daughter recommended this middle grade novel (and really the entire series) so I’m counting this as fulfilling the MMD challenge category “book rec from a spouse, partner, sibling, child, or bff.”
- The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo: This novel has been on my TBR for a while, and I was happy to see it available on the Libby app, so this is the time to finally read it.
- Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
- Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi: We have this entire series in paperback, and my kids have all read and loved it. I honestly don’t know what’s taken me so long, but I plan to start reading it this summer.
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: Another book that has been on my TBR forever.
- Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi: I honestly just saw this book when I was scrolling through the Libby app and had to read it.
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: I’ve had this book on my Kindle forever.
- The Bees by Laline Paull: This has also been on my Kindle forever.
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: This has been on my TBR for a while.
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward: Another TBR book I’m finally reading.
- An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo: And my final book is another book of poetry, this one by the current US Poet Laureate, who is also the first Native American poet in that post. I’m looking forward to reading this.
So, there they are. I think it’s a good mix, with plenty to keep me reading all summer long. I’ll make some progress toward my Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge and finally read some books from my TBR list as well. I’m excited!
Do you enjoy reading challenges? Are you doing any this year?