There are nine categories in this year’s This is Tucson’s Summer Reading Challenge.

If you're on a hold list for a book on our 2020 Summer Reading Challenge for Grown-Ups, the library wants to help. 

Pima County Public Library staff have created book lists inspired by each of the categories in our summer reading challenge to give you something to read while you wait for that hold. 

For example, if you're waiting to get Nancy Turner's "Light Changes Everything," the library has suggestions ranging from a love story set in the Catalina Foothills to a biography of Catherine the Great. 

(If you missed it, here is the link to our list of 18 books on the 2020 #ThisIsTucson Summer Reading Challenge for Grown-Ups.)

Some of the books recommended have a local connection and others will help you travel vicariously to lands (both fictional and real) outside of our region.

"Jessica Pryde, online resources and learning librarian, and I selected the books," writes Holly Schaffer, Pima County Public Library's community relations manager, in an email. "We used our knowledge as library professionals and avid readers in selecting the books. Our ongoing goal is to further not only our reading, but to help people discover new books, authors and genres." 

Most Pima County branch libraries are open with limited services, including holds pickup. So even though you can't browse the shelves right now, you can still get library books you reserve. Visit library.pima.gov for more information. 

Mostly Books and Antigone Books also sell many of the titles from our summer reading challenge and can order most of what they don't have in store. 

Links to the library's expanded lists are below. If something calls to you, we suggest making that hold ASAP. 

Prickly plates: Food

Our picks: "Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities" by Gary Paul Nabhan and "Taste of Tucson: Sonoran-Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona" by Jackie Alpers 

SPF 20 and under: Middle grade / YA

Our picks: "Race to the Sun" by Rebecca Roanhorse and "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli

Hot hot hot: Bestsellers

Our picks: "Such a Fun Age" by Kiley Reid and "Inland" by Téa Obreht

It came from the swamp (cooler): Dystopian / Post-apocalyptic

Our picks: "The Lightest Object in the Universe" by Kimi Eisele and "The Water Knife" by Paolo Bacigalupi

Sun and games: Sports

Our picks: "Canyon Dreams: A Basketball Season on the Navajo Nation" by Michael Powell and "The Cactus League" by Emily Nemens

Tumble(weed)ing back in time: History 

Our picks: "El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America" by Carrie Gibson and "Light Changes Everything" by Nancy Turner

Wide open pages: Nature / garden

Our picks: "The Tucson Garden Handbook" by the Pima County Master Gardeners and "The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History" by David Yetman, Alberto Búrquez, Kevin Hultine and Michael Sanderson

Spilling the sun tea: Memoir

Our picks: "The Road to Mount Lemmon: A Father, a Family and the Making of Summerhaven" by Mary Ellen Barnes and "In the Shadows of the Freeway: Growing Up Brown and Queer" by Lydia Otero

Throwing shade: True crime

Our picks: "The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd" by Jana Bommersbach and "I, a Squealer: The Insider's Account of the 'Pied Piper of Tucson Murders'" by Richard Bruns


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