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My Struggle with my Goodreads Reading Challenge

I love Goodreads. I use it to record all of the books I’ve been reading, I share my reviews, I read reviews from others and nod along excitedly when I realise I am not the only person still feeling happily nostalgic when I think of the Twilight books. And when I find myself thinking of books from my childhood that I have long forgotten the name of, Goodreads will always be there with a list of ‘Kid Witch Books’ to help me rediscover the books that I loved.

In January, I saw a link to set up my Goodreads challenge for 2017. I had never taken part before but I could see everyone else setting their goals and I was like “Yes! I want to join in!”. I decided to be realistic and aim for around 50 books. At just under a book a week that challenge sounded easy enough!

As it turns out, it isn’t. Setting myself a goal taught me that quantitative reading challenges just aren’t for me!

The Reading Longer Books Dilemma
I have so many books on my bookshelves that I haven’t read yet and even more books on my wishlist. But every time I went to pick my next book to read I found myself considering how it was going to affect my reading goal. Would reading a longer book make me fall behind? Should I stick to shorter books for a while until I start to catch up with my target? Removing myself from my challenge means I can now pick up a longer book and not feel pressured to read it in a week.

Image result for gifs hermione light reading

Comparing Myself to Others

Last year I found myself down a Bookstagram rabbit hole. I really wanted to be a part of that community but I didn’t have the time to run a second Instagram account and I felt under a lot of pressure to read and own hundreds of books. Seeing that little list of “____ has read 40 of 100 books” on Goodreads had a similar effect and it was starting to make me feel a bit rubbish. How can I call myself a bookworm when I haven’t even reached 10 of 50? But also, why should it matter whether I can read 1 book or 1000 books as long as I’m having a good time?

Image result for gifs reading
Quality over Quantity
Setting myself a reading challenge made me feel like I had to read quickly to avoid falling behind on my reading. I am usually a pretty fast reader especially if the book I am reading is a mystery or full of action. But sometimes I just love to read slowly and get totally captivated by a book. Not focusing on a reading challenge has reminded me that quality and engagement is far more important than quantity.

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Not Enough Time in the Day
 Like so many others, I work 5 days a week. I come home and I have housework to do or dinner to make and in the back of my mind, there is always a whiny little voice that tells me I still need to find time to read. This voice was even louder when I had a reading challenge to catch up with. It felt like I never had enough time in the day to get everything done. Now I know that I can just read whenever I find the time, even if that’s just for 20 minutes on a bus or 2 minutes whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil.

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No Room for Guilt
When I was younger I spent most of my time reading because it was pretty much the only thing I ever wanted to be doing. Now I also love to listen to podcasts, play video games, bake cakes, watch movies and binge watch shows on Netflix. Falling behind on my reading challenge made me feel guilty for doing all of those things. Sometimes when I get home from work all I want to do is curl up in bed with a bowl of cereal and watch back-to-back episodes of Jane the Virgin and that is okay.

Image result for gifs netflix binge


I know setting a Goodreads challenge is supposed to be just a bit of fun and I am so amazed by people who can read so much in one year! But the challenge just isn’t for me and I feel so much more relaxed without it. Plus, it reminded me to read for enjoyment not because I feel I have to! I read because I like to and that is all that matters.


Have you set yourself any reading challenges this year? How is it going so far?
I hope you’re having a great week!

Shannon

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14 thoughts on “My Struggle with my Goodreads Reading Challenge”

  1. You make some good points! I’m doing my first Goodreads challenge this year, but I deliberately only set it a few books higher than the number I managed to read last year. It’s definitely encouraging me to keep up my reading momentum. I think if I set it impossibly high for myself (e.g. 20+ more than I would normally read), it would only have a negative impact on my reading choices. Glad to hear you chose to stop with the challenge when it didn’t suit you, though – reading should be a pleasant pastime!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad your reading challenge is working out for you! 😊 I totally agree that reading should be a pleasant pastime! I think I’ll go back to the challenges I used to set myself such as ‘Read more non fiction’ or ‘Read more classics’ – that definitely worked better for me!

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  2. I’ve also set my goodreads goal to 50 books and falling behind, due to a reading slump, but luckily I never really feel the pressure of it as goodreads isn’t my go to social media platform and only really go on it to update a finished book. I know a lot of people who set their yearly goal to one book though, which I might do next year ❤ xx

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    1. Ah that’s great that you’re not feeling any pressure! I started going on Goodreads all of the time and couldn’t avoid it 😂 Setting a goal for one book a year is such a great idea though! ❤️ xx

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      1. Haha I totally get where you are coming from though! I feel more pressure in a reading slump because I want to read but can’t 😂 yeah it is, because you should be proud that you’ve read one book in a year, a lot of people don’t even manage that and then as well the stress and pressure is gone 🙈 hope your goal doesn’t stress you out too much, if it is, you can always lower it? I know people higher it so I think it’s editable 💜

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      2. Reading slumps are so difficult and definitely don’t help when you’re trying to reach a reading goal! But that is so true, so many people don’t read at all so any number of books is probably better than none! I think I might aim for 12 books – 1 book a month is totally achievable and won’t be stressful 🙈

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  3. I can totally relate! I felt the exact same way about my challenge. I still set one for this year (also 50 I think), but I no longer care about meeting it, which is very freeing :). Im already a perfectionist in too many other areas of my life, I don’t need to be one in relation to reading too!!!

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    1. I completely agree! For me, reading needs to help me to relax and switch off from other areas of my life I definitely don’t want to be worrying about how many books I’m reading and if it’s enough! 😂 You’re right, once you decide to stop caring about meeting your reading target it’s so freeing!!! 🙂

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  4. I’m one of those 135/250 books read in 2017 kinds of people (don’t hate me) and I’m six books behind by challenge and I keep thinking who the hell set that goal in the first place 😀 My thing is that I don’t really sleep so I feel like there’s nothing else to do during the nights and I guess I read quite fast. Depending on the text of course.

    I think what is most important is reading. It doesn’t matter what or how much as long as your doing it .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely don’t hate you haha I think it’s amazing! And it’s such a good idea to read at night when there isn’t really anything else to do. And like you said the important thing is reading – whether that’s 1 book, 50 books or 250 books! 😊

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