10 Books for the July/August 2020 #WotNReadingChallenge

2020 WOTN Reading Challenge


The #WotNReadingChallenge Prompt for July/August 2020 Is…

This has been a rough month, even though social progress has been made by protest. It just feels like everything is on fire all of the time. I don’t really have a pithy intro this month, though I should remind you that this prompt is meant to hold you for both July and August. A summer shakeup to the usual format, if you will. Since it doesn’t look like anyone is going anywhere in the foreseeable future, there will probably be a bonus list. Your summer #WotNReadingChallenge prompt is: “a book by both halves of a writing couple”. That’s meant to be one book each, and don’t think I didn’t agonize about the phrasing (you’ll see why further down the list).

10 Books by 5 Writing Couples, for Your Summer 2020 #WotNReadingChallenge

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

This couple needs no introduction, honestly. If you need an introduction to this couple, please tell me what rock you are living under so I can move there with my Kindle.

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

July/August 2020 #WotNReadingChallengeThis book is an exception to the (usually great) assertion that young people shouldn’t write memoirs. Far before he was famous, Barack Obama considers his family history and what effect that left on him.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama - BecomingThis is the memoir Michelle Obama wrote after their time in the White House. It looks back with some warmth on how Michelle Obama got to the White House, and how she tried to help. Additionally, it’s been out long enough that the hold list at your library is probably normal-sized now.

Nick Laird and Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is probably an author you’ve heard of. Nick Laird (if you’re American, at least) is somewhat less well known. Both of these authors have collections called Feel Free, so I couldn’t really resist recommending both of them.

Feel Free by Nick Laird

July/August 2020 #WotNReadingChallengeThis is a quick volume of poetry. The poetry contained within this slim volume (as indicated by the title) considers the nature of freedom, as well as what limits it.

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith - Feel FreeFeel Free by Zadie Smith is an essay/article collection. Smith’s essays ask big questions, ranging from “how do we deal with change in our communities?” to “what is Facebook really about?”

Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon is a literary writer you’re likely to have heard of. Ayelet Waldman is less pigeonholed, writing everything from non-fiction to cozy mysteries.

Nursery Crimes by Ayelet Waldman

July/August 2020 #WotNReadingChallengeJuliet Applebaum used to be a public defender, but now she’s a stay-at-home mom, and incredibly bored! She manages to alleviate that boredom by getting caught up in the murder of a preschool principal. This book is the first in a light-hearted mystery series.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayIn the early-mid 20th century, cousins Kavalier and Clay come together for a common cause. That cause? Writing comic-books and new legendary superheroes.

Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky

Not all writers could get married to their loves. Some still can’t. Ginsburg and Orlovsky were poets from the Beat Generation. While they couldn’t get married, they stayed together until Ginsburg’s death.

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

July/August 2020 #WotNReadingChallengeIf you know anything about 20th-century poetry, you probably have heard of Howl. You might even be able to visualize the small black and white book described here. The visuals in the eponymous poem are utterly gutting, and may make you wonder who else has been lost to the oppressive wave of proper society, but weren’t known enough to get written down.

Peter Orlovsky, A Life in Words by Peter Orlovsky

Peter Orlovsky - Peter Orlovsky A Life in Words
EBook edition cover
Original cover is NSFW

Peter Orlovsky wasn’t a particularly well-known writer from the Beat Generation, thoroughly overshadowed by Ginsberg. This collection of his writings serves as a cohesive introduction.

Clive Thompson and Emily Nussbaum

He’s a tech writer. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning TV writer. Reading interesting nonfiction during summer is always fun!

Coders by Clive Thompson

Clive Thompson - CodersThis collection of essays establishes the personage of the coder. Not that long ago, there wasn’t such a thing. Now, it looks like they’re likely to take over the world. How did we get here?

I Like to Watch by Emily Nussbaum

Emily Nussbaum - I Like to WatchI Like to Watch is a collection of Nussbaum’s essays on television shows from her time at The New Yorker. She covers a variety of shows in this collection, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Sopranos. Additionally, she wrote another essay that is only found in this volume.

Which pair are you going to read books by for our summer #WotNReadingChallenge? Did I miss your favorite writing/celebrity couple (probably)? Catch up with us on social media and discuss!

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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan needs books to function, and therefore can infodump quite a lot about them, particularly when they're either science fiction or fantasy.

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