The day is upon us – the launch of my Super Summer Reading Program. Today, like a circus barker, I’m inviting one and all to join in as we try to replicate the summer reading programs of our youth.

If I could make you a motivational bulletin board, I would.

If I could make you a motivational bulletin board, I would.

If you are like me, summer indicates more time to read – or at least, we believe the myth that it does, one perpetuated by years of summers free from school.  On our first day off, Mom often took my brother and I to the library and let us load our tiny arms with books.  As we left, we picked up the map or ladder or whimsical chart. 

So it is with these memories in mind that I have created this program.  Sadly, I can’t offer you the chance to put your hand in a plastic pirate chest full of stickers and bouncy rubber balls, but I can give prizes and so I shall.  I will be offering prizes in two categories:

  • Most Books Read
  • Most Diverse Reading List

I’ve even borrowed this great chart from Homeschool Tools for you to track your progress.  Or you might keep a list going in Goodreads, as I do.  Perhaps, you want to jot down titles in a leather-bound journal that you will keep forever.  Any way you’d like is fine with me; you’ll just need a list to submit in late August to be eligible to win.

The winner in each category will receive a $25 gift certificate to Powell’s Books.

Here’s how this will work:

1. Read.

2. Keep track of your reading.

3. Send a list of your books to me – via a link-up here on Andilit – on Friday, August 30th.   

Most Books Read

Obviously, this category is wide open to all comers.  If you’d like to get your children involved, I’d love that. If you’d like to compete with your colleague, by all means.  If you’re going to use this competition to passive-aggressively prove your value as a former “English Major” and challenge your college classmates to a read-off, by all means.  Any book of any length is eligible.

Most Diverse Reading List

In this category, the prize will be awarded to the person whose reading includes the most categories listed below. (Ties will be broken by how many books a person might have read in multiple categories – i.e. if you read two collections of poetry and someone else only reads one, you win.) My hope is that by encouraging all of us to read more diversely we will become aware of how much great literature there is by people from all demographics, in all genres, and across all time periods.

The categories are:

  • Author Demographic
    • Female Writers
    • Male Writers
    • African American Writers
    • Asian Writers
    • European Writers
    • American Writers
    • Australian/New Zealand Writers
    • Pacific Islander Writers
    • Southeast Asian Writers
    • African Writers
    • Native American Writers
    • Latino/Hispanic Writers
    • Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Writers
    • Straight Writers
    • Writers from Any Specific Country in the World (each country is it’s own category.)
  • Genres
    • Fiction
      • Literary Fiction
      • Science Fiction
      • Fantasy
      • Romance
      • Western
      • Short Story Collections
      • Horror
      • Young Adult Fiction
    • Nonfiction
      • Memoir
      • Biography/Autobiography
      • Journalism
      • True Crime
      • Nature Books
      • Essay Collections
      • Self-Help
      • Business
      • Inspirational
      • History
      • Social Science
    • Poetry
      • Formal
      • Free Verse
      • Language Poetry
    • Drama
      • Screenplays
      • One-Acts
      • Scripts
  • Time Period of Original Publication
    • 17th Century
    • 18th Century
    • 19th Century
    • 20th Century
    • 21st Century
  • Language of Publication
    • English
    • Spanish
    • Swahili
    • Swedish
    • or any other language on the planet.
    • Books in translation
  • Books on Writing – I have set this as its own category since this is, well, a writing blog.

A book might count toward more than one category, and that’s fine.  Just note it for as many categories as apply.

Book Recommendations

Obviously, I could write the world’s longest blog post if I recommended a title for each category, but here are just a few that are on my summer list with the categories to which they apply.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud – female writer, American writer, literary novel

Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie – female writer, Nigerian writer, literary novel

Flight: A Novel by Sherman Alexie – male writer, Native American writer, literary novel

A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings by Eloise Klein Healy – female writer, lesbian writer, white writer, free verse poetry

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David W. Blight – male writer, history, social science

And my list could go on and on. But I’m eager to hear your reading list for the summer, so please share below and let me know if you’re going to be joining us this summer – I’ll be sure to give out lots of gold stars to keep you motivated, and each Friday, we’ll check in to see how it’s going.

So what will you be reading this summer?