Is The Goodreads Challenge Good For You?

This is my first year participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge.  A brief summary of this challenge is a plegde among the millions of Goodreads members to read a certain number of books throughout the year.  Set your goal and get to reading!

A little over a week into the third month of the year, and this is what Goodreads is saying to me.

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I’m on my sixth book and I can tell you nine times out of ten, Goodreads says I’m one book behind.  I have to be honest that I didn’t have a statistical calculation for the number thirty-five.  It’s just a number I yanked out of my head.  At first, I felt like two books a month would be a fair goal.  Something about twenty-four books in a year seemed pretty weak.  I needed to pledge more.  Twenty-four would be comfortable.  This is supposed to be a challenge!  I picked thirty-five even though I felt like a wuss compared to those pledging two hundred and up.

At times, I’m on track.  It doesn’t take much time at all for the Challenge to tell me I’m a slack-ass.  I almost want to start using my book comment space to give excuses.  “I’ve been sick.”  “I worked overtime today.”  “I can’t find my good reading glasses.”  “The dog is being obnoxious.”

I started to search the internet for opinions on the matter.  Is the Goodreads Challenge good for us?

A phrase that I read over and over again is that The Challenge takes the fun out of reading.  Some bloggers feel that having this pledge hanging over your head causes you to speed through books and not allow time for enjoyment.  How can you savor the words if you are reading a book a day?

Some readers feel that this makes reading too competitive.  I admit, I do check out the challenges of my friends and the community and I do size myself up to their promised reading load.  Did I pledge too little?  So and so has pledged seventy-five books and has already read twenty of them. 

I wonder about these members who have already cruised through four times the books that I have.  Are they super speedy readers?  Do they have a job?  Are they reading a hundred page novellas?  Maybe the Goodreads Challenge should be based on pages read instead of books.  Hell, my first book I knocked off the list was 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion.  It was almost six hundred pages long.  Should I get double points for that?

I could fall into a depressed slum of reader’s self-doubt, but I won’t allow that.  I’m going to remember why I committed to this in the first place.

1.  An Excuse To Read.  Adult life can be a vacuum at times.  You get sucked into jobs, housework, financial goals, etc.  At the end of the day, sometimes it’s hard to sneak in twenty minutes just to enjoy yourself.  This is my excuse to enjoy a book whether it be twenty minutes, forty minutes, or an hour every single day.

2.  Another Commitment To You Bought It, You Read It.  This adds another level of commitment to my own personal challenge to clear my bookshelf.  It makes me accountable to the books I have purchased and hoarded for years.

3.  A Good Writer Is A Good Reader.  Thousands of authors have said it.  Becoming a good writer means being a good reader.  It’s like constantly researching for your trade.  Yes.  I need to set aside time to write.  But what will I write if I don’t read?  Crap.

Are you part of the reading challenge?  Comment below and tell me about your pledge and progress.

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7 thoughts on “Is The Goodreads Challenge Good For You?

  1. I didn’t commit to the Goodreads Challenge. However, I do keep a log of every book I read (have done for 12 years) and at the end of each year* I total it up and work out what genres I have read more of than others. My average is about 120 per annum, but some years some more and some years a few less. Its not a contest with others, as in ‘I read more than you do’ nyah, nyah, nyah. Its just about my OWN reading habits; since I was young I have been a fast reader, and reading is my major relaxation/hobby. I don’t go to concerts, I don’t sing in a choir, I don’t play tennis – I read. Thats it. * that makes me sound such a nerd – oh lord, obviously I am…

    I think that the three reasons you list for why you committed to this Challenge are excellent ones, and the last (3rd) reason is obviously effective as you write very well yourself

    1. Hey, hey! Nothing wrong with being a nerd! You’re in good company here.

      I like your way for keeping track of your books. I love reasons to by new stationary and notebooks … plus it would give me something else to whip out when I have visitors. “Care to take a gander at my reading progress or my bird book.” At least they have options on which avenue of my nerdiness they have to endure!

      And thank you for the compliment! It made my day 🙂

  2. I’m 11 books behind in my challenge this year. Last year I was 2 months in and Goodreads suggested I increase the number because I was reading so fast. I’m not sure what is different other than the fact that my brain flits from one activity to the next and reading seems to be off the radar this year!

    1. Oh, I hear you sister. Some days I can curl up and read for hours. Other days, I notice the cob webs in the corner, something spilled in the fridge, cat hair on the couch, dog hair on the floor. And don’t get me started on trying to balance social media!

      It’s reassuring to hear the Goodreads isn’t just picking on me!

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