Facts of Life,  Reading

Reading Challenge Graveyard

I started doing Goodreads Reading Challenges in 2015. In 2014, I read probably 7 books. I don’t remember exactly, but I mention this because in 2015, I set what I thought was a super conservative, easy to reach goal of 13 books. I read two. TWO books. So embarrassing. What kind of bookworm was I?!! I was finally forced to confront my reading issues face to face, which was why I’d dragged on signing up for the challenge in the first place. I didn’t want to know how bad it was.

Since then, however, I’ve met the goal every year, even if it was just barely.

2016, I set a goal of 16 books. I read 17, though one of the books I marked as finished I had only skimmed though – a nonfiction book – but that book was repetitive and terrible. In addition to that, I read 9 other non-fiction books, a few of which could almost qualify as pamphlets, 3 Dr. Seuss books, which is how I met my goal, 1 comic book that was pretty dense, and 3 fiction books, though one of them was a short story.

Still, I considered that year to be a success, though I desperately wanted to read more fiction the next year. Non-fiction books are fine, but they aren’t going to inspire me in a creative sense, except Big Magic, which I read that year. I was told picture books count by multiple people, so I do count them the first time I read them because they still take time to read, but I still wanted more substance, you know. Of course, graphic novels and comics count, no problem. ^_^

2017, I raised my goal to 23 books. Now I’m really challenging myself! Lol! But seriously, baby steps, people. 😛 I read 23 books, broken down in the following ways: 4 picture books, 4 novellas, 7 graphic novels and comic books, 2 non-fiction books, 1 play, and 5 fiction books, two of which were anthologies. That’s pretty good, right? I mean, for someone who was barely reading a couple of years before? ^_^

In 2018, I raised my reading goal to 26 books. Again, baby steps. I barely scrapped by with 23 the year before. However, in 2018, I’d read 26 books by the end of February! Broken down as 7 picture books, 5 graphic novels, 1 short story, 5 non-fiction books (three of which were audiobooks), 1 poetry book, and 7 fiction books. I wasn’t trying to get ahead of my goal or anything, I just wanted to read, so I did. I tentatively raised the goal to 36, I think. And later to 52. I ended up with 57 reads for the year, which I felt really good about!

In 2019, I set a goal to read 60 books, and I read exactly 60 books in the form of 12 poetry books, 24 fiction books, 4 non-fiction reads, 4 picture books, and 16 books that are a combination of graphic novels, manga, and comic books. I wanted to read one more, but I ran out of steam in December.

My longterm goal used to be to read two books a week, putting me over 100 for the year. However, I got a taste of what that might entail last year. To meet that goal of 60 books, I needed to average 5 a month. I know there are people who read like 15+ books a month, and I’m so jealous, but like, 60 was way ambitious for me. So ambitious I decided to keep my future reading goals around 52 to 60 books a year. I no longer feel the need to try and reach 100.

Namely because last year, I almost felt like I had a part time job as a reader. My payment: super exciting mental rollercoaster rides, of course! But still, it was a lot.

The reason I wanted to work on my reading 5 years ago is because I feel the most my level of normal when I’m reading. The only thing that makes me just as happy is writing, but only when it’s going well.

In any case, I am a smidge behind right now, by like 7 books, I think, but that’s okay. I think the fact that I’m only 7 books behind and I’ve only finished one thing in the last three months is amazing. And the point of having a reading goal is to make sure I’m making time to read, and I am, so it’s a win-win situation, and I’m still way ahead of where I was 5 years ago. That said, I can totally still hit 53 books this year. I’m pretty confident. ^_^


  • Michelle Athy

    Lol! I’m a few books behind this year–I’m technically in the middle of a few books, but between pandemics and online grad school, I’d rather read fanfiction than a proper book right now.

  • Jodi Perkins (@Perkjo)

    I’ve considered participating in reading challenges in the past but have decided against it for two reasons:
    1. I love reading so much, and I worry that participating in a challenge will now turn reading into a “job” (the way NaNoWriMo has always crippled me with writing).
    2. I actually feel guilty when I read a lot. For me, reading is my way of shirking off other responsibilities, and it’s also an excuse to not write, especially when I’m struggling with that ‘next scene’.

    For you, on the other hand, a reading challenge was just what the [proverbial] doctor ordered! Going from two books in 2015 to sixty in 2019? That’s AMAZING.

    • Krystal Jane

      What?? Don’t feel guilty!! Reading is necessary for writers! It’s fuel. It’s life! It’s fun! I feel guilty for watching a lot of Netflix sometimes because I feel like I should be reading. Or writing. But I still maintain that Netflix is necessary for sanity, so that’s what I tell myself when the guilt creeps up. Haha. But yes, challenging myself is definitely proverbial doctor’s orders. ^_^

      Although I totally the NaNo sentiment. It’s 100% crippled me far more than it’s helped.

  • Tonja Drecker

    60 books is a lot! And I had to giggle at the part-time reader feeling. I get that. It doesn’t matter how much you read, as long as you enjoy reading what you do. Sometimes it’s more; sometimes it’s less. Plus, you’ve been so busy lately!

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