The Truth about Goodreads Challenges

dog-734689_1920For a bibliophile, Goodreads is awesome. It is a social media network designed to center on books and reading. Readers make lists and create bookshelves. Readers leave recommendations and reviews and connect with other readers around the world. I joined Goodreads late, 2011, but I’ve used it faithfully since then. My current status is 545 books read. Each year I have read more books, except for 2014 when I only read one. (I don’t really remember what was up with that year so I can’t even explain it.)

Each year Goodreads creates a yearly challenge asking their users to battle with their friends and themselves to see how many books they can read in a year.  As of today’s date (see the date of post) there are 2,681,633 participants who pledged to read 127,300,031 books, an average of 47 books. So far challengers have read 28,311,591 books, a little less than a quarter of the books. But hey, there are 96 days left. I’m sure we can stop everything that is going on in the world and observe SSR (silent sustained reading).

Most of the challenges I set for myself stress me out to the point where I become obsessed. I put my Fitbit away for a little bit because if I did not reach my daily steps goal, I got cranky. I don’t participate in any more biggest loser competitions because I hate the weekly weigh-ins. I even find that keeping track of every single crumb I eat, stresses me out. My Goodreads challenge doesn’t stress me out at all, though.

I rarely check to see how my friends are doing and I have never said, “Oh I’m beating Anastasia ( a name created out of the gray matter in my head)”.  I did joke about last year I wasn’t going to make it, but it was a joke. A few of my friends suggested I read kid’s books to help with that. Ummmm… NO. That’s not the point. I wouldn’t normally read kid’s books and I don’t see that as a challenge.

I was surprised when I found some people blogged about how stressful the challenges are and they have stopped them all together. I have to admit, I understand that, though. I think some people see the yearly reading challenge the way some people see Pinterest. Very few of my Pinterest projects turn out just like the pin. I used to freak out about making everything in my life Pinterest perfect. My family almost had an intervention when I tried to draw botanically correct flowers on the toilet paper with sensitive-area-safe paint.

Recreational reading must be fun. I went for ten years while in college through various degrees without opening many books for pleasure. Now reading relaxes me. It transports port me to other world and allows me to walk in other people’s shoes. I always have a book or my Kindle with me. I spend a lot of time waiting on my kids at practices, activities, and appointments. I don’t watch much tv. My husband is an early morning person and goes to be early. I am not. So I read a little bit most nights as a way to wind down and relax. So with all of that, I read a lot.

Right now I choose to not read heavy books that challenge me. I want to be entertained. I don’t want to savor each word right now. I want adventure, excitement, and romance. In my research, I came across a few people who struggled with not meeting their goal because they could not savor the book, read longer books, or listen to audio books. BFD! Some of the bloggers complained that they did not choose books of their “to-read” shelf because it would take too long. The point of these challenges is to push us to read more. Don’t take it seriously. Use it to motivate yourself and have fun.

In case you noticed my Goodreads widget on the side, I posted that more to encourage people to follow me, which you can do here, and also to promote the authors of the books I’m reading. If you want to see the artsy stuff I like on Pinterest you can find me here and my more professional pins are here.



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