Take the 5-in-10 Challenge!

Think you can’t read 5 books in 10 days? If more than 2.7 million people can attempt the 30-day Ab Challenge, then a goal that only challenges you to find leisure time rather than workout time should be no sweat.

ICPL’s Adult Summer Reading Program asks you to either read 5 books between June and August or read 3 books and attend 2 SRP events. Why take this challenge? Not only can you meet the first SRP goal and get a free book and lunch on us, you can experience books you never would have thought to read otherwise. And you can mix and match!

Find the 5-in-10 crib sheet that follows. The idea is that you books in each category shouldn’t take you longer than a day or two to read. These books are also easy to pick up and jump right in whenever, so if you have downtime with coffee in the morning, or a 10-minute bus ride home, you can squeeze some reading time in.

Category 1: The Comic Book

I am not ashamed to admit I have both a comic book and graphic novel memoir on my SRP list this year. Estimated reading time for a comic book is about an hour. For a graphic novel memoir—some of which have achieved literary renown—it can take up to 4 engrossing hours.

Criminal Recommended comic books for adults who don’t normally read comics:

Category 2: The Young Adult Fic

Even newspapers like the New York Times are written at an Eighth Grade reading level. The reading level doesn’t indicate dumbed down writing; it tells you how smooth the storytelling is. Some YA reads just fly by. Anything by Rainbow Rowell, for instance.

Category 3: The Classic Beach Read

the-spellman-files Breezy, binge-readable page-turners. These books aren’t always high-brow and some make you roll your eyes over the writing. But best-selling authors know how to tell a story, and you may be surprised at what stories draw you in. So take a chance on some ge
nre fiction. Mystery is a good place to start, if romance or sci-fi scare you off. You could try a classic whodunit or a modern psychological thr
iller. Recommended authors/books: Greg Iles, Lisa Lutz's The Spellman Files, Laurell K. Hamilton's earlier works.

Category 4: The Audiobook

Ever wish somebody would read you a bedtime story? Our Overdrive audiobooks are great for enjoying books on the go, while multitasking, or settling in at the end of the day. I bookmark the audiobooks that I fall asleep to so that I can pick up where I left off during a run or while doing chores the next day.

Browse Fiction Audiobooks

Browse Nonfiction Audiobooks

Category 5: Contemporary Poetry

petrosino-hymn-large Many books by new poets clock in under 100 pages, and if you didn’t get your yearly poetry reading in during National Poetry Month, the 5-book Summer Reading Program goal is another good opportunity to get it in. Look for locally workshopped poets like Kiki Petrosino, Kristin Hatch, or just browse the green New Shelf in the 811's.

Category 6: Short Stories

B.J. Novak's One More Thing was one of my favorite books this spring. His jokes keep popping into my head--like the story about the Duke of Earl visiting the U.S. in 1962, and everyone he meets starts humming the same song. Short stories don't guilt-trip you when you put the book down, and if you get into them, they make it even easier to pick the book back up again. Suggested authors: George Saunders, David Sedaris, and David Rakoff.

Category 7: Immersive Fic

These are the books that you just can’t put down, but you may want to save them for a weekend. Try Rebecca Rotert's Last Night at the Blue Angel or Sue Townsend's Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

Category 8: Slim Nonfiction

Look for literary nonfiction prizewinners. Young Widower young-widower-a-memoir , the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize winner, is definitely on my too-read list. A 29-year-old Peace Corps volunteer watches a bear maul his wife to death right before his eyes. The memoir is about his grieving process. I got to read a little bit of it and his writing and emotional force compels the reader to keep turning pages. Or find some parenting humor in books like  I Love My Little A-H*les.


Your Summer Reading list doesn’t have to have Ulysses, Infinite Jest, War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, and Les Miserables. Giving yourself a break to escape into a book is what counts.

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