I’ve seen a few different blog posts and articles over the past few days that question whether or not one should set a yearly reading goal so I thought I’d weigh in with my two cents. Or maybe four cents depending on how long-winded I decide to be.
I admit it, I’m a big fan of Goodreads. I’ve been a member since 2007 and I have shelved every book I’ve read since then by the year I read it. I’ve also participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge every year since 2012 by setting a goal of how many books I want to try to read. I also participate in other reading challenges such as the Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge which sets out parameters for books to read. For example, in the 2017 Popsugar challenge, I am supposed to read a book with a red spine, listen to an audiobook, and read a book written by more than one author, among other things.
My goals vary from year to year and sometimes I even change them throughout the year. Some years, if I’m particularly busy or going through a depression that causes me to be unable to focus on reading, I read far fewer books than in other years. If Goodreads lets me know that I’m behind in my goal reading, I don’t let it bother me. If I catch up, great. If I don’t, maybe I need to lower my goal.
In 2016 my original goal was 100 books. I haven’t read that many books in the past couple of years and I wanted to read more this year. When I hit 100 books, I upped my goal. No stress. Some books I read in a day or two. Some books I read in a week. Some books I’ve started months ago and not finished yet. I’ll pick them back up later. Reading is my relief from stress not a source of stress!
I’m sure there are other people out there who feel pressured by the goal but for me it’s just fun for myself. Sure, I can always use how many books I’ve read in a meeting where we’re forced to tell some ice breaking fact about ourselves and, yes, it’s always fun to see the look on people’s faces when I say I’ve read 317 books so far this year, but the fact is, I read for my own personal enjoyment so I track what I read for my own personal enjoyment too.
I also don’t stress out about the length of the books I read or the seriousness of the topic or whether or not I read only classics or great literature. I read mass market paperbacks and I’m proud of it! I even occasionally buy books at the grocery store or the drug store. (I’ll post more on book snobs at a later date.)
I like to try to read more this year than I read last year. I like to read a variety of different genres. I like to read about different topics, people, events. I just flat-out like to read. I read paperback books, hardback books, and e-books. I read YA books, kids books, adult books, novels, anthologies, short stories, books published by major publishing houses, and self published kindle books. I read good books, average books, amazing books, terrible books, and books I don’t finish (because life is too short to read a book you hate).
If setting a goal stresses you out and making reading less enjoyable for you, don’t set a goal. But if you can set a goal and have fun with it, do it. Just read!