Summer Reading Challenges for Adults

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Summer Reading may bring to mind memories of childhood, fun prizes, and incentives for reading. At the library, we think adults should get the same level of inspiration as kids when it comes to their books, so we have some reading challenges for you to complete! Be sure to sign up for Summer Reading here to log your reading hours and share book reviews.

1. Take a walk in one of our city’s parks. 

Here in the City of University Park we have no shortage of beautiful parks where you can walk, lounge, or read! One way to help foster a love of nature is to read books that focus on the natural world. Robbin Wall Kimmerer, Annie Dillard, and Walt Whitman are great writers who celebrate the outdoors. Check out their books at the library and take a stroll through one of our stunning local parks.

Recommended Reads: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

2. Go to lunch with a friend to talk about the last book you read.

When you’re going to lunch with a friend, it’s essential to pick something trendy and juicy that will give you a lot of fun things to talk about. Even if your friend hasn’t read the book, picking a hot title will keep the conversation relevant! Contemporary Fiction, Romance, and Mystery are great genres to browse for this reading challenge.

Recommended Reads: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

3. Read about a place you’d like to visit.

Does planning a summer vacation count as reading? We think so! Check out the nonfiction section for travel guides and insider info on your next destination. Alternatively, find a fictional book that is set in a famous city and enjoy!

Recommended Reads: Fodor’s Paris, One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle, and Olympus Texas by Stacy Swann

4. Read a biography about someone you admire.

One of the best ways to get out of a reading slump is to find a biography on someone you are really interested in. From musicians to athletes, politicians, and activists, there are so many people with inspiring life stories. The UP Library has a whole biography section that is organized by the last name of the biography’s subject, so stop by to browse for the perfect book.

Recommended Reads: Robin by Dave Itzkoff, Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois W. Banner, and Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell

5. Read about gardening.

What is it about gardening and reading that are just good for the soul? Head over to the “635.9” section of non-fiction to check out our array of books on gardening.

Recommended Reads: Growing Flowers by Niki Irving, Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening, and Cut Flower Garden by Benzakein Chai

6. Read a book by a Texas author.

Over the last year, the library has had many local authors come and give presentations about there books. Below are some great local reads!

Recommended Reads: The Forger’s Forgery by Clay Small, Snow Globe by Jeanne Skartsiaris, One Million Daffodils by Rebecca Winn

7. Try a new recipe from a cookbook checked out from the library.

There’s only one thing you need to know when browsing for cookbooks at the library: the number 641.5. If you head over to the non-fiction section 641s, we have books on baking, cooking, crock-pots, you name it! Cooking is integral to gatherings and culture, so make sure you spend some time cooking what you love this summer.

Recommended Reads: Eat Clean, Live Well by Terry Walters, Eat for Life by Joel Fuhrman, and Happiness is Baking by Maida Heatter

8. Learn a new craft or skill from a book checked out from the library.

In case you didn’t pick up enough hobbies in 2020, we’ve got creative and DIY books of all sorts. There’s never a better time to live out your wildest Pinterest or Etsy dreams by picking up macrame, miniatures, embroidery, or my latest personal goal – homemade kombucha brewing!

Recommended Reads: The Encyclopedia of Stitches by Karen Hemingway, The Urban Homesteading Cookbook by Michelle Nelson, and The Handbook of Quilting by Judy Poulos

9. Read two books by the same author.

There’s nothing like finishing an amazing book and then picking up another amazing book by the same author. If you know you love an author’s style and can’t get enough, how could you go wrong? One of my favorite reads of the summer so far is Sirens of Titan, my seventh Kurt Vonnegut book. My connection to Vonnegut’s voice and the cannon of characters that appear throughout his novels has given me a reading experience like no other! There are many prolific authors out there that have developed remarkable catalogs of books that go best when read together. Some of my favorite all-star writers include Toni Morrison, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, and James McBride. It’s all about finding a body of work you can connect with and dig into!

Recommended Reads: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Five-Carat Soul by James McBride, and Pet Sematary by Stephen King

10. Read two books from a new genre.

Step out of your comfort zone by picking up a genre you have never read before. Magical Realism, Sci-fi, and Graphic Novels are all great picks if you haven’t yet tried one of them. Go for a shorter length book or an author’s most acclaimed work if you want to make the transition easier. Maybe you’ll learn that you love a new style this summer!

Recommended Reads: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow, Exhalation by Ted Chiang, and Watchmen by Alan Moore

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