A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Summer Book Bingo Made Me Do It: A Comment Round-Up

In the SAL offices, perched on top of our kitchen table, is a little wire basket which only gets filled in the summer months—it’s our Summer Book Bingo mailbox, where an entrant’s board goes to await the prize drawings.

What’s just as fascinating as the squares is each board’s reverse side, where bingo players talk about their months-long endeavor to expand their reading habits: Which squares intimidated players? What surprised them? Who did they connect with? What categories do they want to see next year? And, most importantly, which books came out on top?

Find out what a few of our bingo players said in the round-up below.

Editor’s note: Summer Book Bingo now has its own dedicated page on You can download boards from previous years and learn more about the program by clicking here


First time playing? No.

Favorite Reading Experience: I had a lot of fun deciding on which line of Book Bingo squares to choose for my summer reading. After deciding on the bottom horizontal line, I experienced some difficulty with finding a suitable book “set in summer.” By chance, I noticed The Secret Life of Bees on a friend’s bookshelf. I did remember reading it way back when it was first published. I decided on rereading it all the same. I have to say that there is a special kind of joy that comes from reading a great book, no matter how many times you have read it in the past.

Ideas for future categories: Biography or memoir.




First time playing? Yes!

Favorite Reading Experience: I felt so expanded by reading different experiences and perspectives. I was shaken by The Wall and The Uninhabitable Earth, and these have changed my sense of the world. Not only is the urgency of action against climate change newly apparent to me, but I am seeing our current condition as precious and fleeting. Thanks for causing me to stretch in this way!

Ideas for future categories: Spiritual, from an animal’s perspective, translated from another language.



First time playing? Yes!

Favorite Reading Experience: This has been such a rewarding experience! I probably wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t passed this out at Tayari Jones’ event. Bingo forced me to read outside of my usual genres, and as a result, I am now heavily into graphic novels! I also used the BIG square as an opportunity to tackle a long book that I’ve been wanting to read but was always intimidated by. This was such a fun and enriching experience that I plan to do again! Thank you!

Ideas for future categories: A book in translation, a book set in a place you’ve always wanted to visit, a book over 400 pages.



First time playing? Not my first time playing, but my first time submitting a board—and my first blackout!

Favorite Reading Experience: I was not expecting to love reading a science book, but the joy and energy of River of Consciousness jumped off the page and I couldn’t put it down. Thank you for expanding my reading horizons.

Ideas for future categories: Recommended by a colleague, title longer than 7 words, noir, written the year you were born.




First time playing? No.

Favorite Reading Experience: Connecting with a younger acquaintance for the “suggested by young person” category. She was so interested and recommended several books. A lovely by-product of Book Bingo was writing across the miles and bonding with her!




First time playing? No.

Favorite Reading Experience: The categories this year were great! I felt challenged in really positive ways, especially by science. Also, my bestie and I are reading-obsessed and made our own Winter Book Bingo this year. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ideas for future categories: Badass female main character.




First time playing? No.

Favorite Reading Experience: These Truths by Jill Lepore is truly impressive. I learned about figures behind well-known events and other famous leaders that I had never known about. As a high school librarian and history teacher, I have studied our country’s history and feel knowledgeable about the topic, so this was a real experience to have so much more information relayed in an interesting way.

Ideas for future categories: Literary fiction or historical fiction.




First time playing? No.

Favorite Reading Experience: I love Book Bingo because it ensures my summer reads cover a variety of topics and genres. It’s impossible to get in a rut or be bored!

Ideas for future categories: Book about ethics, book about a country or people you know little about.




First time playing? Yes!

Favorite Reading Experience: Reading books I never would’ve encountered is the best part of Book Bingo. Education was the prize from books like Why We Sleep, Petey, The White Tiger, North River, Code Girls, and Astrophysics. History was another, especially about the women of the west. I will do this annually.

Ideas for future categories: A subject you don’t like, biography, history of a foreign country.




First time playing? No.

Favorite Reading Experience: The one-word title—Hausfran has been interesting! I’m learning German, which is my heritage. I would’ve never gave this a chance normally! Thanks for expanding my horizon.

Ideas for future categories: Dark fairytale or haunted.

Posted in Summer Book Bingo