For Love of Books and Story

Quitting my Goodreads reading challenge, and what else I’m saying NO and YES to for 2018 reading.

Quitting my Goodreads reading challenge, and what else I’m saying NO and YES to for 2018 reading.

I can’t believe I did it, but I actually just canceled my Goodreads reading challenge. I already was sort of skittish of reading challenges in general (you’re not the boss of me, reading challenges!), but I always participated in the simple numbers challenge in Goodreads because I LOVED seeing that number grow throughout the year. And honestly, it wasn’t hard to do. I read a lot anyways, so it was fun to be able to do something with that high number of books and say, “Look, I conquered this challenge!”

But then something funny happened. Even though I didn’t really have to do anything extra to complete the Goodreads reading challenge, I still found myself being a little bit too focused on that climbing number. I found myself giving priority to shorter books and spending WAY too much time debating whether I should count the middle grade books I read to my son towards my number (this is always a fun discussion to have with other readers, but the point is EVERYBODY CHILL). I already knew that I wanted to go out of my way to really sink my teeth into those juicy longer novels in 2018, and listening to episode 153 from From the Front Porch (one of my favorite bookish podcasts) really gave me the final nudge I needed to opt out of the GR challenge.

So I’m saying no to the numbers. I love tracking my reading on Goodreads, so I’m sure I’ll still see how many books I’m reading and feel happy about it, but I’m saying no to focusing on a destination rather than enjoying a journey. In fact, where I end up isn’t important at all. This is not to say that anyone who has a number goal is being overly focused on that number. I’ve enjoyed participating in the GR reading challenge in the past and might do it again in the future. But for this year, I’m saying no to the numbers so I can say yes to other things.


So what is the definitive list of what I’m saying no and yes to for my reading in 2018? Well, since you asked (I’m pretending someone actually asked me)…

  • Yes to reading rich, longer books and being okay if it takes me a week or more to finish.
  • No to choosing a set number of books that I HAVE to finish by the end of the year.
  • Yes to reading more physical books and plopping myself down on the couch to read in the middle of the day with my kids running around (and they’ll know I’m actually reading because I’ll be holding a real book).
  • No to feeling guilty about still mostly being a diehard Kindle Paperwhite reader.
  • Yes to not being afraid to try new genres and formats.
  • No to feeling any guilt whatsoever over dropping a book.
  • Yes to reading more international authors and translated works.
  • No to doing any sort of reading challenge that bosses me around.
  • Yes to less time on Facebook and the internet in general, which cuts into my reading time more than anything else.

Ummmmm, now my perfect blog post symmetry is about to be ruined because I have more yeses

  • Yes to more audiobooks.
  • Yes to a thoughtful pause once the last page is turned, a long exhale that says, “Ahhh, what a story,” and then writing about it just for the fun of figuring out what it all meant. That’s why I started this blog, so I can train my brain to think more deeply about all these books I’m reading. So far I’ve just been shoving all these beautiful stories through the sieve of my brain, but the holes (put there by my young children) are too big and none of the good stuff is sticking. I need something that makes me stop to think and chew a bit more. Basically, I’m writing about books on a blog so I can become a better reader. Yes to that!

I’m not sure if this list is complete, but this feels right for now. What are you saying no and yes to for your 2018 reading?

American expat in Taiwan, book lover, wannabe writer and Mandarin language learner, homeschooling mom to two boys.

5 thoughts on “Quitting my Goodreads reading challenge, and what else I’m saying NO and YES to for 2018 reading.”

  • Ah, we do have some similar goals. I am hoping to allow myself quantity over quality this year and pick up some of those heavier titles and also explore more genres 🙂 Although, I admit, I enjoy my Goodreads challenge. But I did lower it significantly . That is a start I suppose 😉

  • I loooove posts like these, where the writer is talking about process of reading and reading life. I am in a similar state this year, only I’ve just reduced my Goodreads number down to one I know I can complete. But like you, I am skittish about reading challenges in general (I don’t like being told what to do, even in my reading!) Although that doesn’t stop me from trying occasionally (I just joined The Classics Club, but I have FIVE years to complete the challenge, which is why I decided to try!) Anyway, I am also wanting to take more time with my books, and be able to watch TV and movies too, and not feel pressure about getting through a book quickly or having to choose shorter books.

    Last year I set my goal number higher than normal and it made me feel rushed at the end of the year, and I slammed through some less than stellar books in December just because they were short. Oh well. Lesson learned!

    • I love book discussion posts, too! And I’m so bad about doing them because I really only have time to do a weekly wrap-up and one other post, which is usually a review. I can’t seem to manage more than 2 posts a week! Anyway, I’m glad you found your way here! And good for you for still trying challenges from time to time. Five years sounds like my kind of pace!

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