As bookish kids, Bas Bleu’s editors tackled summer reading with gusto! We were big fans of our public libraries’ summer reading programs, accruing points and vying for prizes as we devoured story after story. Rainy days stuck indoors were often spent working our way through the stacks we carted home from our weekly library trips. We spent hours perched in shady trees or hammocks, immersing ourselves in books.

Most of us aged out of those reading programs long ago, so why does the thought of “summer reading” still hold us in thrall? Devoted bibliophiles read year-round, yet somehow our intake during the summer months feels different. Perhaps it’s the extra reading time we earn from longer days, the suffocating heat and humidity that lends itself to lounging in the hammock with a book, the vacations from home, work, and our normal harried routines. Whatever the reason, summer reading is officially a good thing, celebrated in our upcoming Summer edition (due in mailboxes next week!) with a special collection of “beach reads” we think you’ll love.

The Challenge

To get you inspired for the new season (and to feed your fond memories of those childhood library reading programs), we’ve put together a list of fourteen summer reading “challenges.” Give yourself one point for every challenge met—some even include opportunities to earn bonus points! It’s not really a competition, just a way to add an extra dash of fun and variety to your summer reading routine.

  1. Pack so many books for vacation that you require an extra suitcase.
  2. Read an entire book series (minimum three books) from start to finish.
  3. Re-read a summer reading assignment from high school. Award yourself two bonus points if your opinion of it has improved since the first reading.
  4. Lose a point if you drop your book in the water at the pool, beach, or lake.
  5. Fall in love with a fictional character you meet for the first time this summer.
  6. Lend a book you choose to a friend who lends you a book s/he chooses. Actually read it.
  7. Go the library and offer to clear the overdue book fines for a kid you don’t know.
  8. Climb a tree. Read there.
  9. Read the same book as someone you’re vacationing with: a spouse, a grandchild, a girlfriend. Host a mini book-club meeting. Award yourself a bonus point if your meeting is at an ice-cream shop.
  10. Read an entire book in a single day.
  11. Read a novel, biography, or history set in the city, state, or country where you’re vacationing this summer.
  12. Identify your literary “guilty pleasure” genre. Indulge it for a week.
  13. Watch a film or television adaptation of a book. Award yourself one bonus point if you’ve already read the book.
  14. Sort through your shelves and remove any books you can bear to part with. Donate them to your local library sale, hospitals or nursing homes, homeless shelters, non-profit thrift stores or anywhere else they could be enjoyed by another reader.

Your Results:

12-18 points: If this was a competition, you’d be at the front of the pack! Reading is your #1 summer pastime, and you make the most of every day. You deserve a prize; you should probably go buy yourself a new book.

7-12 points: You’ve made a good dent in your T(o) B(e) R(ead) Pile and rocked that reading hammock on more than one weekend. Unfortunately, you never have as many vacation days as you need to devote to all the books you want to read. Thank goodness you can read all year long!

0-6 points: Maybe you’re a rogue reader who likes to read her own way. Or maybe the demands of life don’t give you as much time for reading as you’d like. Either way, you cherish each book you do read and believe that quality > quantity.


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