July Reading Challenge: Celebrate Reading this Summer


Celebrate reading this summer by joining our July Reading Challenge. Each week, we have a different topic and some book suggestions just for you!

Wow, where has time gone? This year is already halfway over!

If you’re participating in our 2019 Reading Challenge, that means you should have already read 26 books so far this year. Not too shabby.

Don’t fret if you’ve fallen behind. You’ve gotten plenty of time to catch up. Just be sure to take a few books with you on your summer vacation this year.

Not sure where to start on the full 52 categories? We’ve got you covered. Each month, we’re breaking the challenge down into smaller segments – like these 5 topics of the July Reading Challenge.

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July Reading Challenge

1. Audiobook

If you haven’t experience the joy of audiobooks yet, now is a time to give one a try. For the July Reading Challenge, spend some time listening to an audiobook instead of reading it. You might even find yourself falling in love with audiobooks. They make commutes, laundry and doing dishes so much easier.

For those of you just dipping your toe into the audiobook world, a great place to start would be your local library. No, I don’t mean books on CD, though those would certainly count. Many public libraries have audiobooks available for patrons. I use the app OverDrive to access thousands of titles through my local public library. Another favorite app is Libby.

If you want the latest titles, try an Audible subscription. They seem to have anything you could ever want, and when you sign up for a free 30-day trial of Audible, you get two free audiobooks!

Book Suggestions

There There by Tommy Orange
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell
Imperium by Robert Harris (Cicero Trilogy #1)


2. Book Set in Your Home State

While preparing the 2019 Reading Challenge, we researched tons of other reading challenges to see what we liked and didn’t like. Let me share one of my pet peeves when I read other challenges: the category book set in your hometown.

I can’t tell you how much it irks me when people just assume everyone grows up in a major city. I’m sorry, but our tiny little hometown in Ohio is not often mentioned in books. Since I liked the general concept of reading locally, I decided to broaden the topic out to a book set in your home state. Which yes, can still be a bit of a challenge if you are from Wyoming. But definitely possible.

For all our international readers, feel free to set this how you will. You could do a book set in your home country, or in a specific region of your country. The goal is to read something set close to home, whatever that might mean to you.


3. You Started But Never Finished

Let’s be frank, even the most “I must finish every book I begin” person like me usually has at least some books that they started and never finished. For the July Reading Challenge, pick that book back up, dust off the cover and give it a second chance.

Actually, I have recently embraced the idea that I don’t need to finish every book. So instead of staring up a book you hated, try to find one that you just didn’t give a proper chance. Mayb eyou just couldn’t get past the first few pages, or it became overdue at the library so you just took it back. Give it a second go round and see if you are ready for it now.

And for those of you who absolutely never DNF a book. Congratulations, you get the week off.


4. One Word Title

Creating 52 categories for a reading challenge is not quite as easy as it sounds. You want to have a mix of specific genres, types of books, and  random categories all mixed together to make the whole list feel a bit more fun.

This week in the July reading challenge, we’ve got a completely random category for you – a book with a one-word title. As Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” so pick a title that keep is short and sweet. Don’t worry, subtitles don’t count!

Book Suggestions

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Maid by Stephanie Land
Caraval by Stephanie Garber


5. A Fairy Tale Retelling

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a short story that told of witches/princesses/magic and had a somewhat questionable moral at the end.

All of us grew up on fairy tales. They are a great way to share literature with children. However classic the stories may be, it’s always fun to take your own spin on the telling. I don’t usually read my kids the original fairy tales; I tell them my own version, which usually ends up being the Disney version.

This week, choose a book that is a new take on a classic fairy tale or folk tale. Whether it be a modern telling or an altered view of a myth or legend, enjoy a new interpretation of a classic.

Book Suggestions

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Circe by Madeline Miller
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

What books will you choose for the July Reading Challenge?

July Reading Challenge 2019 // Read a book a week this year by starting with these categories for your July Reading Challenge

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  • Reply Terra W June 30, 2019 at 8:13 am

    27. Audiobook – “Frog Music” by Emma Donoghue – First Audiobook ever and I found all the voices she was using for characters annoying.
    28. Set in Your Home State – “The Outlander” by Gil Adamsom (Alberta)
    29. Started but never finished – “Ghost Island” by Jan O’donnell Klaveness- I pick this up as a child at a school book fair. Found it exciting that it takes place near where my grandma lives – been carrying this around for 30 ish years and after multiple attempts never did make it passed first chapter – glad I finally finished it lol 🙂
    30. One word Title – “Ruby” by Cynthia Bond
    31. Fairy Tale Retelling – “After Alice” by Gregory Maguire

    • Reply Rachael July 6, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      I feel so honored that I got you to read a book that’s been on your to-read list for 30 years. Was it any good?

      • Reply Terra W July 8, 2019 at 6:01 pm

        ya it was pretty good! I’m sure it definitely would have been a little scarier/more suspenseful for a 10 yr old 🙂 But I did enjoy it and I am glad it’s finally on the read shelf! 😀

  • Reply Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins July 4, 2019 at 12:09 am

    This is JUST the reminder I needed to get to the “audiobook” item on my to-do list! I’ve been meaning to contact my library and set myself up with their audiobook service, but kept putting it off (too many podcasts to keep me entertained in the meantime hahaha). And now I see there’s an audiobook of Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am, I Am (which I’ve been meaning to read for a loooong time now), I must see if they have it. Thank you!

    • Reply Rachael July 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, listen to I Am, I Am, I Am. The narrator is amazing!

  • Reply Melissa Cushman July 16, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    –Audiobook – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (I could listen to his voice read the phone book!)
    –Set in Your Home State – Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (California)
    –Started but never finished – The Star Side of Bird Hill (started in 2017 when I was flying home from a Caribbean vacation, picked it up and finished it right before going on another Caribbean vacation this summer)
    –One word Title – Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
    –Fairy Tale Retelling — Kissing the Witch by Emma Donaghue

    • Reply Rachael July 16, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      I really want to read Inheritance. Did you like it?

      • Reply Melissa July 17, 2019 at 12:42 pm

        Yes, Inheritance was very good! A very interesting, well written exploration of family, identity, DNA, religion, and what happens when she finds out she’s not who she always thought she was. Definitely recommend!

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