As much as I love GoodReads and reading and setting myself a goal, I cannot stand their yearly reading challenges. Don’t get me wrong, I found it useful back in 2014 when I was a fulltime bookstagramer (if you can call it that) and I could keep track of alllllll the books I was reading, but after awhile, it became this constant nag that if I didn’t read for two days I would be behind on the schedule. I would be in constant pressure to not fall behind as I felt like people on the internet would judge me for not reading fast enough or having the time. There was one time when I was 16 that I even left school to go back home to read.
Since when has reading become a challenge? Isn’t it supposed to be fun?
I found that on bookstagram it has become this thing to let your followers know how many books you’ve read so far in the year, i.e I found that half way through January someone has already read ten books. How???? I wish I had your time. I wish.
Now being in university, I have to be constantly planning my time with projects, work, social life, and reading is my relaxation. Why should I be stressed out for falling behind on my reading schedule? When you see that you’re 2 or 3 books behind on your challenge its kinda nerve wracking. And then you feel guilty. And then you leave projects to pile up so you can get back on track with your reading challenge. And then you again, you start falling behind on school work. And so the cycle repeats. It was so draining and I legit do not understand how people stick to it. I commend you for actually having the will and stamina to stick with it. I on the other hand I can’t and won’t participate in these challenges anymore.
In 2015 I read 12 books.
I was also studying a Foundation Degree and I had to be in school from 9am to 5pm everyday with work during the weekends and on top of that I had school work. So try fitting reading time in there. I felt constantly guilty that I wasn’t reading and I had to complete my work for my deadline and it actually got me really depressed. There was so much pressure on me to read and do work and go to work that I felt like my head was going to explode.
So the year after that (2016) I didn’t set myself a goal. I just read, even if I didn’t have the time, I read when I could. I found that so much more relaxing. I also wasn’t constantly worried about my Instagram presence as I took a break. I just felt like it became this ‘who has the best photos and most followers’ kinda thing and it just wasn’t for me (maybe I’ll make a blog post about that another time). Throughout 2016 I read about 20 books. Even more than the year before when I was taking part in the challenge. Reading is supposed to be fun and relaxing, its really not a competition. I like to take my time with books, if I’m just reading them for the sake of it then I absorb nothing of the story, and thats the whole point of reading.
There are so many other challenges you could set yourself, and they don’t have to be based on numbers. You could plan on only reading fiction, or adding some non-fiction books into your reading schedule. Or start reading poetry this year, or read more books by female/male authors. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its a bad thing to have a yearly goal, I personally just think its pointless since you’d only be reading for the sake of it.
What challenges have you set yourself for this year?