Summer Book Bingo: Square One

Summer Book Bingo is designed to provide free summer reading fun for both adults and kids. Last summer, participants read a total of 8717 books, and we received a whopping 248 blackout cards and 227 bingo cards—let’s do it again! Swing by one of SAL’s partner bookstores this year to grab an Adult or Kid Bingo Card or download it here and spend the summer of ’17 reading great books.

Looking to get started? In Sonder’s first Book Bingo post of 2017, the SAL office is at square one. Below, read about which books and squares the SAL staff has chosen for their very first bingo accomplishment. . .


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Ruth Dickey, SAL Executive Director

I’m half way through Truth Like the Sun, by Jim Lynch, which I’d been saving for Bingo, and plan to follow that with The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, by Nina Riggs. Nina was an amazing poet and a dear friend, who died at the end of February just shy of her 40th birthday. Her gorgeous Modern Love essay “When a Couch is More Than a Couch” gives a sense of why I am eagerly awaiting the book, which promises to be funny, clear-eyed, and heartbreaking. I loved this essay by Tita Ramirez about the book, which I’m planning to read with at least three boxes of tissues.

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Christina Gould, Patron Services Manager

I packed Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward into my suitcase the night before leaving for vacation and started it on my last day while in Paris. I enjoyed falling for the characters (especially the narrator, a passionate precocious 14-year-old named Esch) on the plane ride home and am happy to complete my first Summer Book Bingo square “by an author of color” with this smart, poetic novel that has been on my list to read for quite some time.

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Leanne Skooglund, Development Director

I’m reading No god but God by Reza Aslan, which could be my “SAL speaker” book or my “set in another country” book or my “author of color” book. We’ll see where it needs to go on my board. It’s fascinating so far. I hope it will give me a deeper understanding of the conflicts within Islam today and its relationship to the Western world.

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Amelia Peacock, Community Engagement Coordinator

I was anxious to read The Handmaid’s Tale, as it has been on my list for quite some time (and seemingly on everyone else’s as well with the release of the new Hulu series based on the story). It offers a terrifying look into a too-easily-imagined future for this country, and I know I was not the only one that was both surprised and not at all surprised by the horrific breakdowns in humanity Atwood describes. This book is a tour-de-force of dystopian storytelling. Atwood bravely crosses the line again and again to stab at the heart of truth and expose the outcomes of an extremist culture, while simultaneously creating a compelling (if, in my mind, sometimes incomplete) world for her vivid characters. A nightmare-inducing and relevant read for my “been meaning to read” square that kept me thinking long after I turned the last page.

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Rebecca Hoogs, SAL Associate Director

The first book I completed for Book Bingo was Jeffrey Tambor’s memoir, Are You Anybody? I admit, I love a good memoir and this one was especially charming. I’ve always loved the roles Tambor has created, and I enjoyed getting a behind the scenes peek at his artistry, love of books, and cold coffee for my “biography or memoir” square.
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Alison Stagner, Events & Development Coordinator

I’ve finally read The Underground Railroad for my “you’ve been meaning to read” bingo square, and was so swept up by this ferocious adventure tale about Cora, a teenage slave who runs away from a Georgia cotton plantation, that this almost became my “read in a day” square. Whitehead comes at the historical novel genre sideways, using magical realism to interpret the most brutal sins in American history—everything in it, from the cornfields of Indiana to the sanitized exhibits in South Carolina’s Museum of Natural Wonders, is uncanny: strange and familiar and terrible. It’s a book that will stay with me for a long time.   

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Amanda Carrubba, Finance & Operations Director

Aria and I read And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell for our “based on true events/non-fiction” square on the Kids Bingo Board. It is an absolutely heartwarming story about how families, even non-human ones, can come in many different forms and that the key ingredient is love. 🙂

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Alicia Craven, WITS Program Director

For my “biography or memoir” square, I’m looking forward to reading David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding, which is a collection of his diary entries from 1977-2002. In public readings, Sedaris often closes with unpublished excerpts from his daily diaries that take the mundane and strange happenings of daily life and infuse them with wit, hilarity, and a gloriously bent perspective that give new meaning to the little details and moments of life that are easy to let slide by.

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