The 20 Books Of Summer Challenge Wrap Up

When I first started the 20 Books of Summer Challenge at the beginning of June, I knew I had my work cut out for me.

It wasn’t the number of books I was concerned about, but the challenge of reading books from a pre-selected list.

And I tried, I really did. Each time I finished a book, I’d return to the shelf where my challenge books are lined up. Several times I grabbed one and went for it, but more often than not, my heart wasn’t in it and I wanted to read something else.

About half way through, I gave up on forcing myself to read my challenge books. A couple more appealed to me naturally, but the challenge officially ends today and I’ve read 11 of the 20 I’d pre-selected. I started two that I didn’t finish, and am currently reading one more. I also chose 5 alternates but didn’t touch any of them all summer.

Here are the books I chose: 


The books I read are:

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

I’m currently reading The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead.

There are two books I started but discarded: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

Reading is a visceral experience for me, and this challenge wasn’t conducive to that style of book selection.

For example, one of the first challenge books I read was Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. When I finished, I was bowled over by everything I’d learned about Hurricane Katrina and I needed to know more. So the next book I read was Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink.

While I like the idea for this challenge and the fact that it got me through several books on my shelves, it’s not a great fit for me.  I read 28 books between June 1 and today (the Challenge time frame,) 16 of which I already owned. I think if my challenge had simply been to read 20 books I already owned, I may have been able to complete it.

What do you think about reading challenges? Did you participate in this one or any others?


  1. Rachel

    September 6, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I am too defiant to do a list- as soon as it is a “you must read”, I don’t want to. Give me a forbidden list…I am on board!!

  2. Lea

    September 6, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    My Labor Day reading marathon brought my total to 10, started the 11th. I like the idea of reading my shelves but as you know, I’ll probably not do another pre selection. The surprising part for me was not caring that I failed. 🙂 I usually put undue pressure on myself to complete things.

  3. Ramona Mead

    September 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I agree! I was surprised I didn’t want to force myself through the list books. It was a great learning experience for me, for sure. In the future, I think a challenge to get through X number on my shelf would be worth trying.

  4. Ramona Mead

    September 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I also struggle to be interested in some books once it’s all the craze. Too much hype often leads to disappointment. And just because a book sells a ton of copies doesn’t mean it’s good!

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