The Goodreads Challenge is something I’ve been aware of for a long time: after all, almost every book blogger I know of seems to do it. However, its only been this year that I’ve started taking part, and I really have no idea why it’s taken me this long.
I think the thing that finally made me decide to take part in 2017 was realising at the end of last year that I literally had no idea how many books I had read. Sure, I could take a look back at my book reviews, but I don’t always review everything I read, and often I review books way after the event, meaning I don’t know exactly when I read them. Therefore when I saw everyone else discussing what they’d achieved in terms of their 2016 Goodreads Challenges, I decided I would get in on the action, and properly keep track of my reading in 2017!
As I didn’t know the average number of books I read a year, I decided to play it relatively safe by choosing a target of 50 books, and so far I think its been going quite well! It’s only mid July and I’m on 30 books (so 60% of the way through), so I’m a little ahead of my target, which I’m very happy about.
However, despite my new found love of the Goodreads Challenge, I have also noticed a few problems with it too, so I thought I’d do a little pros and cons post (I do love writing those!). So here are my pros and cons of the Goodreads Challenge, and I’d love to know yours!
- It helps you keep track of your reading.
The main thing I love about the Goodreads Challenge is the simplest: just being able to keep track of how many books I’m reading, and what I’m reading. Goodreads in general can help you with this, but I like how when you open your Challenge page you can chronologically see what you’ve read that year, all nicely laid out in front of you!
I’ve been finding this especially useful for mixing up my reading, because I can look back at my recent reads and see when I’ve been reading a lot of a certain genre, and then I can try something different. So if I can see that I’ve been reading nothing but fantasy for ages (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), I can mix things up by reading that crime thriller that’s been on my TBR list since forever, just to get a bit of variety.
- It encourages you to read more.
I can be kind of a lazy person, even in regards to doing things I love, so I find that setting myself goals is a really great way to motivate me to get more done. So in the same way that NaNoWriMo always helps me make way more progress with my writing than I usually would, the Goodreads Challenge has helped me read more than I normally would, and I’m now rattling through my ever-growing TBR list at quite a pace!
- It keeps you updated on your friends progress.
I’m an incredibly nosey person, so one thing I love about the Goodreads Challenge is seeing how everyone else is doing! I like seeing people’s progress on their Goodreads Challenge widgets on their blogs, and I do like a good snoop every now and then on the ‘Friends Challenges’ page on the Goodreads app. Not that I have many Goodreads friends, seen as I’ve only started using it properly this year (so come and be my Goodreads friend! Then I can snoop at your challenge stats too!)!
- You can feel pressured to read.
Whilst the Goodreads Challenge has encouraged me to read even more, it can also have the unpleasant effect of making you feel pressured to read when you don’t really want to. We all have slumps, and it’s bad enough when you want to read, but can’t really be bothered, or can’t find a book you enjoy, without the added guilt of thinking ‘I’m falling behind!’
- You might find your reading is being guided by the challenge.
As I’ve previously discussed, I like big books and I cannot lie! However, I’ve found that the Goodreads Challenge is definitely pushing me towards shorter reads, and I really don’t like it!
I’ve heard a lot of people say this too, that when faced with a long book – even one they’re super excited to read – it can make them kind of nervous that they’ll fall behind on their challenge, and they tend to gravitate more towards shorter books that will bump their stats. For example, I know when I was reading Voyager by Diana Gabaldon a while back, I did start to feel a bit twitchy because it was just taking me so long, which took some of the enjoyment out of it.
- It keeps you updated on your friends progress.
Yes, this was also on my list of pros, but for me, being able to see other peoples’ progress is also a con. As fun as it can be to have a little friendly competition, it can also make you feel bad when you see people who are way ahead of you in their challenge, or are easily meeting a target that you consider to be way out of your league. For example, I see lots of people who have set targets of over 100 books, and I know I could never even hope to reach that number, yet they are well on there way to smashing that goal. The Goodreads Challenge turns reading into a competition, and that isn’t always a good thing.
Therefore I think it’s important to remember that we all read at our own pace, and as long as we’re enjoying what we’re reading, it really doesn’t matter if you read 15 books or 150 in 2017.
So what do you like/not like about the Goodreads Challenge? How long have you been taking part, and how has it effected your reading?