This year was my first year attempting to complete a reading challenge. I’ve always had some kind of idea of how many books i’d like to read in a year, and have always tried my best to beat last years achievements. However, 2017 is the first year in which i have added a challenge to my Goodreads and properly tracked my progress.
I was very late to the Goodreads party. A long time ago, i’d made an account and barely used it, being very uninterested in how it ran. However after a little forceful push later on in the year, i made myself a new account and actually started to use it as it should be used. For a new person using it, Goodreads feels like a very overwhelming place that’s quite complicated to use. I was determined to solely use it for the purposes of tracking my end of year target and pushing myself forward to complete it.
Goodreads has led me to have very mixed opinions of book challenges. Whereas i think Goodreads is pushing more people to read more on average because they are trying to achieve a target, there is a lot of pressure put on these targets. Particularly within the online book community.
Personally for me, the reading challenge and being able to see a representation in a percentage of what i’ve read so far in the year spurred me on to read more. I wanted to achieve the challenge and possibly read more than i set myself. My target this year was fifty-two books, averaging one a week for the year. This is the amount i figured i was reading usually, so this target felt pretty accurate and achievable. After a few dips in reading throughout 2017, i did quickly realise i’d need to make up for lost time at some point. Which brings me on to what i dislike about Goodreads challenges…
They’re a very public thing. Chances are if you’re a fellow blogger, we all have each other as friends on Goodreads, which also means we have access to how well other people are doing with their challenges. There’s a lot of pressure within the book community online regarding how much you read in a certain amount of time i think. You’re constantly thinking “oh they’ve read more than me, i need to do better.” This isn’t a healthy way to read, and over anything else it makes you fly through books so quickly that you lose track of what you actually enjoyed and what the stories were actually about.
I tended to panic towards the end of this year that i would not get everything read that i wanted to. I started reading shorter books in order to just achieve my end of year target, cramming in whatever i could. That meant that books that i genuinely wanted to read over three-hundred pages were being left at least until next year when i thought i’d be able to get around to it. Numerous times i thought to myself “why am i not just reading what i want to read?” or “is this too short to count as an actual book towards the challenge?” Yes it got me to read more, but it also made me read in what i definitely class as an unhealthy way.
So far i’m on track for finishing my reading challenge for the year, and even in the last few weeks it has forced me in to reading more, which is always a good thing when your TBR pile is getting ridiculously out of hand. At the point of writing this i have three more books to read to hit my target, and i think i’ll do it.
I was debating for next year to up my target by one or two, but maybe sticking to the one book a week is good for me right now. Fifty-two books in a year still seems incredibly low to me, and i think that’s due to the amount of bloggers i surround myself with who read very quickly. The pressure to perform is undeniable, but also the joy of having completed a challenge (or almost completely a challenge) is pretty great too.
What are your opinions on Goodreads challenges, and have you achieved yours this year?