June 21st – September 21st (Solstice to Equinox)
Are you gearing up for the summer months eager to expand your reading horizons? In addition to diving into feel-good beach reads (those can be found interspersed throughout this list), I encourage adult patrons to read about topics that may challenge them and their worldviews. This summer’s Adult Summer Reading Bingo Challenge has been inspired at least in part by prominent Iranian-American writer and intellectual, Azar Nafisi’s recent manifesto Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times (2022). (You can request this from any library in the Minerva consortium; at the time of writing this blog post MML doesn’t own a copy).
While Nafisi’s argument is about the subversive power of reading fiction, especially by and about marginalized communities, MML’s bingo challenge includes nonfiction and memoir as well as novels. Nafisi compellingly writes that literature humanizes the enemy or “other”, combating our increasingly polarized society’s tendency to do the exact opposite: dehumanize anyone and everyone who thinks and lives differently from us. In her own words, “[w]ar, by nature, dehumanizes the enemy. Story gives the enemy a voice, forcing us to confront him as a human being, to look him in the eye. And through this process, we restore our own humanity” (Nafisi p. 101). Nonfiction and memoir also tell stories and have the capacity to humanize people who are all too often dehumanized and disempowered; hence this summer reading challenge.
If you, like me, the librarian writing this post, are a self-avowed “nerd,” feel free to watch Nafisi discussing her own book in this Youtube video recording of a talk she gave at the Newburyport Literary Festival a year ago. There are numerous other videos of her discussing her book available on Youtube; it is a rabbit hole that you may find yourself lost in much like our beloved Alice in Wonderland.
In any case, get ready to dive into our bingo challenge! As an extra incentive, we have prizes, including MML swag. The grand prize will be 1 free book and a $30 gift card to Royal River Books just down the street. To be eligible for this, as soon as you’ve completed the entire bingo sheet, enter your name in a raffle! For info about the other prizes, see the pamphlet available at the circ desk! (This info is also printed on the back of the bingo sheet itself).
You can view or print the Bingo Sheet here.
Too many books, too little time? No need to feel too overwhelmed! To lighten your reading load and make the challenge more manageable, here are some suggestions to hit the ground running when starting your Bingo Sheet:
- One square per row of five involves something other than reading a book!
- Partner up with someone and complete the challenge together. This could even lead to mini book discussions with a friend, partner or spouse, child, etc…
- Read 1 book for up to 2 categories. Several titles in the Banned/Challenged Books category also fall under the LGBTQ+ Memoirs square.
Pick up your bingo square at the circulation desk OR information desk at MML anytime this summer. For inspiration and reading suggestions, check out these lists.
Enjoy your reading, “dangerous” and otherwise!
-Courtney Kleftis (Adult Services Librarian)