Whether to reading challenge or not

15 Dec

reading challenge

This has been my third year doing the Goodreads reading challenge, and it will most likely be my last.

I’ve always been a huge fan of lists. To-Do List, 500-best lists, Bucket Lists. So naturally a reading challenge seems right up my alley. The Goodreads reading challenge is as simple as they come. You pick a number of books that you’d like to read in a given year, and you try to read them. In 2013, I succeeded and read 52 after I had set a goal of 50. In 2014, I came up short reading only 49 when my goal was 55. And this year, I’m currently at 44 of 55 and will probably not reach my goal.

The arbitrary thing about this challenge is that I could go into my account and change my goal. A lot of the people I’m friends with have goals of 10 books, 15 books. I’ve surpassed those numbers, and 44 is nothing to scoff at. I like the idea of the challenge in that it pushes me to read more which is always worthwhile. But I’m afraid it was negatively affected my reading habits.

I don’t feel down or unaccomplished for not reaching these goals, because I know exactly why I didn’t make it. Last year, it was the fault of Game of Thrones. This year it’s the fault of Outlander. In their respective years, I decided to read through these series and the volumes are not small or quick. I loved them though, especially Outlander.

jamie fraser

But these series slowed me down. I’ve only read the first three books of the Outlander series, and each one took me about three weeks to get through. The reading challenge was looming over my head, though. So instead of savoring Gabaldon’s descriptions of Jamie Fraser’s fiery locks or the sweet tones of his Scottish accent, I kept thinking to myself, “read faster, get through this, you’re so behind on the challenge.”

At bookstores and at the library, I found myself running away from larger books and favoring large font, shorter books, knowing that I could get through them faster. And I’ve never found myself intimidated my large books before. So instead of the reading challenge pushing me to read more, it only pushed me to read faster, to pick quicker books and shy away from larger tomes. I became so concerned about my numbers and how they stack up. I want my annual number to be better than the last.

The challenge can be a great thing for the right reader, but next year, I’m giving myself permission to read whatever book I want at whatever pace I want. If I decide to swim in the literary lake that is a poetry book, I will do so and not be rushed to meet some number I forced upon myself. It’s all about quality as opposed to quantity after all. Every good reader knows that.



2 Responses to “Whether to reading challenge or not”

  1. kateprocyshyn December 16, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    I do not subscribe to the reading challenge. I do know that you can also do a reading challenge that focuses on pages read, versus keeping track of the number of books. Maybe that would be something that would interest you?

    • Chrissy December 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

      I do like that idea! I also saw that Book Riot has a great challenge by genre and different types of books which I love the idea of.

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