It’s an annual tradition for anyone who ever reads anything: the Goodreads reading challenge.
For the uninitiated, first off- go follow me on Goodreads right now.
second- where have you been?
third- let me explain. Every year, Goodreads prompts its users to answer a simple question: how many books do you want to read this year? Then, as the year progresses, it tracks your progress and lets you know how many books ahead or behind schedule you are.
For those of us who have any sense of competitiveness, this question is always a tough one to answer. You want to make sure you hit your goal, and that it’s a realistic goal for you to hit, but you also don’t want to put the number so low that you’re embarrassed for your friends to see it. That’s right, not only do you get to keep track of your reading progress, all of your Goodreads friends and followers do too. This means that you have to strike a careful balance. Your number must be low enough to be achievable but high enough to inspire envy among those who don’t prioritize reading like you do.
In an ideal world, that would mean you want to read exactly one book more than your Goodreads goal. That makes it clear that you set an accurate goal, but also that you didn’t struggle to hit it. The last thing you want is for December to roll around and you need to switch to reading 13 graphic novels or middle grade books in order to get close to your goal. Not only will that make you go a little bit crazy reading a dozen books you don’t care about, but as a book reviewer, you’ll then have to go back and review all 13 of those books that you don’t care about, doubly increasing your pain.
Maybe you’re all reading this and thinking “it’s not that deep jocelyn”. Well, now you know how much of an overthinker I am in every aspect of my life. I am hyper competitive, and I love both the act of goal setting and achieving my goal. It makes me feel alive, and it gives me something to work towards. I take my Goodreads challenge very seriously.
I’ve been using the same Goodreads account regularly since I started this blog in 2016. I had a different account in 2015, and that’s the first year I started tracking my books. Even though it’s not attached to the same account, and thus I don’t see my failure every time I log into Goodreads, I still think it’s the right place to start for this personal history.
In 2015, I was just a mere 15 years old, a mere Sophomore in high school, and I set out to read 20 books. Unfortunately, I fell short of this goal, and I only read 18. A 90% is still an A, but it most certainly left a bitter taste in my mouth.
The next year I was determined to do better. I started my book blog early in this year, and so I set my goal not really knowing any book bloggers or how much they read. I thought I set a pretty easy goal for myself, mostly looking for redemption from the year before. I did end up hitting the goal exactly without a lot of fluff books added on to hit it.
This was the year where I started feeling bad about how much I read. Book bloggers I followed on Goodreads were all reading upwards of 100 books a year, and I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t want to be that girl that had a sad goal, but like I said, I needed to make a goal that was realistic for me, and I was not going to be capable of reading over 100 books in a year. As a compromise to myself, I set my goal at 30 books, and I ended up reading a whole 35! Nearly all of these books happened in the first half of the year, because in the fall I went to college and then it was pretty much over for me and my reading. But 35! Exceeding goal! It was a good year for sure and, not coincidentally, the peak of my blogging.
In 2018 I knew I was going to be in college, so I dropped my goal back down to 20 books. Even so, I ended up failing yet again, reading just 17 books. This was pretty tragic, especially considering most of the books I read were for classes I was taking in school. I wish I could say I did better, but I did not, and I finished 2018 disappointed in myself.
If you were disappointed in me for 2018, wait until you hear about 2019. Words cannot describe. I remember initially setting a goal of 15, and having my mother heckle me for not reading more. In an act of spite, I raised my goal to 25 to prove that I could read a whole two books a month! It turned out, a whole 2 books in six months was more accurate, because I finished the year with a total of 4 books read. The collection of books was erratic, read at random times throughout the year. I had basically given up as a reader at this point.
Year of the pandemic and year of my comeback to reading!! Knowing how much I sucked the year before, I stayed true to my very conservative reading estimates and opted to read 15 books. That seemed like an overall reasonable number when I set it on January 1st. After all, I was still doing college full time and wouldn’t have thatttt much time to read. Or so I thought.
In March when the pandemic hit, I started reading! Throughout the whole rest of that year, I put genuine time into reading again (although I still had school) because I had no basketball or social events to take up my time. I ended up reading 17 books that year, surpassing my goal and reading just as many books as I read in 2018.
In 2021, I was fully graduated and had 8 months off before I started my job, so it was the optimal time for reading. I was still going to be travelling and hanging out with friends the entire time, so I wouldn’t be completely free, but I would definitely have more time than I ever had or ever would again. Knowing this, I set my goal to 25 books, a goal I thought was perfectly reasonable. By the end of the year, I smashed that goal through the roof, reading a whole 41 books.
To my surprise, most of these books actually came when I was working full time after August, because I started getting back into audiobooks on my commute, and just generally reading every day. I really came back around to reading, and read the most books I ever have in a year since before 2015.
That brings me to my grand announcement for this year! I thought long and hard about what I wanted to set my Goodreads goal to, referring to all the rules that I outlined for you at the top of this article. In the end I decided to go with… **drumroll pleaseeee**
This is an insane amount of reading to do, and will mean blowing any previous reading goals out of the water. I am not sure if it will be possible, but I think in setting the goal, I am setting myself up for success. As you guys know, I’m trying to publish one book review every Saturday, and that means reading at least one book a week forever. This goal will just barely enable me to do that.
Besides that, I think it’s a 100% reasonable goal for me. I listen to audiobooks going into work every day, and on my way home, and most books I can finish in a week period if I put in a little extra listening on the weekends. That means that any book I physically read is just extra, and will fill in for the times when I don’t feel like listening. I think I can genuinely do this, and I’m so excited at the perspective of reading so many books.
So, let me know! Do you think I can hit this goal? What’s your Goodreads reading challenge goal? Comment Below!