Summer means watching the waves roll in at the beach, licking ice cream from your fingertips and sipping sun-kissed iced tea.
Most importantly, it means summer reading clubs.
Last summer, I boasted about my commitment to summer reading clubs and how it didn’t take time away from my writing.
This summer, I’m telling you that I’m not signing up.
Don’t worry. I didn’t become a hater of reading in the last 365 days. And I didn’t change my opinion about summer reading clubs going hand-in-hand with writing projects.
What changed was my location.
Why I Love Summer Reading Clubs
Last summer, I lived in a summer reading club wonderland. All my friends signed up. Actually, it seemed like the whole town was in the race.
We talked about how many books we’ve read over potluck dinners and dived into discussions about what we have read over card games.
After every five books read, I’d be entered into a raffle with high-stake prizes. And I got to take home a free book home just for signing up.
Since last summer, I was uprooted from that town and I moved 2,000 miles away.
Between moving old boxes, starting new jobs, learning new streets, shoveling new sidewalks and watching new plants grow—I was always reading.
And I was always visiting my local library. I dropped by weekly for new books and DVDs. Weekend excursions included exploring the other branches. All my friends were avid library readers and lunch breaks meant stopping by the downtown location.
Why I’m Not Signing Up For Summer Reading Club
As summertime rolled into my life, I took a peak at my library’s summer reading club. And I was severely disappointed.
For reading five books, you win $1 off at the library used bookstore. That’s right: I had the chance to win a coupon.
Comparing the two summer reading clubs side by side, this new club was like going to a rusted town fair after a weekend at Cedar Point.
As for my reading friends, they have all moved away from this city to grow their lives elsewhere. New adventures means new summer reading clubs that I can’t join.
So if the prize isn’t enticing and there isn’t any friendly competition within my social circles, then why even join?
My Summer Reading Club Substitution
Of course I love to read. I won’t stop reading because I don’t sign up for my local summer reading club.
I’ll just have to make my own competition.
If your local summer reading club doesn’t excite you—or doesn’t even exist—it doesn’t mean that the competition is over. It just means that you have to invent one worth joining.
Starting a summer reading club within your social group or your community isn’t too hard to do. All it takes is commitment, vision and a few phone calls to set it up.
As for me, I’m a pretty self-competitive person. For every five books, I’ll treat myself to a special dinner out.
And I’ll always update my Goodreads reading list.
Why (or why not) are you joining a summer reading club this year? Share your story below.