Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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Reading Challenges. Are They Good for You?

It's 2016, and we're all dreaming about the best in terms of setting goals and resolutions. But what about our reading challenges? What can we do about them?

I'll be frank. Before Goodreads came out, I was used to reading approximately 30 books per year. I'm not saying I was displeased with the number of books I was completing; it was just possibly not the best performance I was looking for. In my case, the yearly Goodreads challenge was a good way to stick to my reading goals and keep tabs on what my friends were reading as well.

Are reading challenges that good for readers?

I recently came across an article published by the Guardian at the beginning of 2014, that got me thinking: are reading challenges that good for us?

On the one hand, there's nothing better than setting a number and constantly telling yourself: this year, I'm going to read 50 books. After all, 50 books are feasible enough, so you needn't toss and turn about how many novels, graphic novels, or non-fiction pieces you go through. 50 books are enough to allow you to read a book every 10 days or so. Let's face it, although we're all pretty busy here, with our jobs, children, and any other responsibilities we may have, the bottom line is that we can get through a book in 10 days. Just reading 20 pages per day means you'll be able to finish a 200-page novel in a third of a month. Sure, that might mean that it will take you over a month to wrap up a George R.R. Martin book, but it all boils down to how motivated you are.

Are you willing to invest some time into reading or are you likely to waste it on Facebook and the likes?

Most literary aficionados are already committed to finding out about new releases, reading interviews with authors, and checking out new titles according to their preferences. Some, including the author of the formerly mentioned article, claim that these challenges have been specially designed for booksellers and not for book readers. I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that there's no greatest pleasure than reaching a reading goal, and exceeding it fills you up with the thrill of all the lovely books you're going to read in the years to come.
I'm pretty lousy when it comes to readathons, but that's because I have a job, and I actually enjoy living in an apartment and being able to pay for expenses. Buying new books definitely adds up to my monthly expenses, so acquiring the titles might be the wrong thing about reading challenges instead of reading the books that I already own.

On the other hand, competing isn't all that good for reading in general. Nobody's being graded on the number of books they're reading. There's no pressure and everyone's human. The only ones that may have enough time on their hands to stick to their reading goals are teenagers, but we should all be glad that youngsters nowadays are reading anything at all, even though it might be Young Adult. Not that Young Adult isn't all that good, anyway.

Cut yourself some slack if you weren't able to complete your reading challenge in 2015  because nobody is going to kill you for failing. Very few people in the world do reading for a living, and if you're not among the lucky ones, just enjoy your literary explorations as they are. If you had the time to go through several books that you liked this year, you should consider yourself fortunate enough.

If you aren't yet aware of the yearly reading challenge organized by the biggest, baddest website there is... check it out here: Goodreads Reading Challenge.
Here are some of the memorable books that were released in 2015 and that you might not have had the chance to read up until now:

Images via Pixabay

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