Publication Date

May 9, 2022

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities, Perspectives Daily

In our busy lives, it can be difficult to find time to read for fun—or to read at all! Yet one of the most enjoyable parts of our work as historians is reading scholarship about the past and discussing that work with others.

That’s why the AHA has created the 2022 Summer Reading Challenge. To complete the challenge, participants complete three (or more) of the following tasks in the months of June, July, and August. These tasks encourage you to read widely—outside your field, your areas of expertise, and your personal experiences—and define “history” as nonfiction at any length (a book, an article, a chapter).

  • Read a “classic” of your field that you’ve never read before.
  • Read a history published in the past 2 years.
  • Read a piece of historical fiction (novel, story, poem, play) set in the time or place you study.
  • Read a history of the place you know the most about that takes place at least a century before or after your time period of expertise.
  • Read a history written by a historian who works in a day job different from your own.
  • Read a history of an identity group you don’t belong to.

You can fulfill these tasks however you’d like. You define for yourself the parameters of a classic, a day job different from your own, or your identity group.

These tasks define “history” as nonfiction at any length.

We’re hoping you’ll talk about how you’re fulfilling the challenge. We encourage participants to post about what they’re reading for this challenge on the AHA Member Forum or on social media using the hashtag #AHAReads. And for those that complete the challenge by Labor Day, there will be a small reward at the end. You can find full details and a PDF checklist of the tasks at

So get reading!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.

Laura Ansley
Laura Ansley

American Historical Association