4 Things I’ve Learned From Trying Out Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge

This year is the first time I participated in Goodreads Reading Challenge. I remember I was pretty determined to read more books after reading how beneficial reading is to you and how successful people always make reading their habit. I’ve always loved reading since I was little but somehow I started to read less and less books in college, must be because those soul-sucking text books we are required to read left us so little time to read for pleasure. But like what I said, I was pretty determined, so I stop making excuses and make time for reading instead.

Fortunately, I found out about 2015 Reading Challenge shortly (after logging in to my neglected goodreads account). This reading challenge is about setting a goal about how many books we want to read for 2015. And I thought, what a coincidence, I can use this event to motivate me to read more. Participating in Goodreads Reading Challenge is a really good experience for me and even I learned a thing or two from trying out this challenge. Here are things that I learned from participating in 2015 Reading Challenge :

  1. Reading E-book is more comfortable than reading real books for me. I used to be one of those guys who believe that real, physical books are superior than e-books. I thought the sensation of feeling the paper on your hand and the smell of books have intrinsic value that can’t be replicated by e-book. Well, maybe that’s true, but e-books have their own upsides as well. It was much practical to have e-books, you don’t have to carry heavy books everywhere as you can read books on a device as small as your smartphone, having e-books on your laptop is convenient as well. Years of staring into screens also somehow help me to be a much more productive e-books reader. It’s just yesterday that I read Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen in one sitting on my laptop, something I don’t think I can do if I read on physical book.
  2. Setting realistic expectation is a key to get things done. When I started 2015 Reading Challenge, I knew it has been a while since I read books so I didn’t set my goal too high and thought 22 books for a year might be a good start. I ended up finishing that goal around July and now I’m on my 32nd book. I think what helps me is how I didn’t set a goal that can overwhelm me. More often than not, it’s our perception that it’s hard to achieve our goal that made us unable to start. Reading around 2 books a month is not hard for me so I don’t have this big pressure to read in order to finish my goal. And when I got to finish my goal, it made me feel good that I read even more books after that.
  3. Reading fiction before sleep is one of the worst ideas I’ve tried. I have read somewhere that reading fiction before sleeping can help you sleep. Naturally, I tried that out since the prospect of having a better sleep cycle and getting to read more books is an appealing one for me. Well, I did get to read more books because once I start the book I can’t put it down despite the fact that it’s 4 in the morning and I have class at 8. Reading fiction before sleep might work for others but it clearly doesn’t work for me. But I finished Graceling and it was awesome, so I guess I got that going for me which is nice.
  4. This focus on quantity rather than quality hurts my reading a bit. One of the problem I have in this challenge is the emphasis on the number. It deters me to read great books that have a lot of pages. Fields of Blood : Religion and History of Violence by Karen Armstrong is a really great book, but I need a lot of time processing the information there (there’s a lot of names and ideas there!) and the book has more than 500 pages. It was embarrassing to admit, but I dropped that book because I prefer to read ‘easier books’ so I can finish my 2015 reading challenge. It was such a pity right, I take on this challenge to read more books to expand my knowledge and immerse myself in the joy of reading but instead I abandon a good book for that. It will be great if I turn my focus into what’s really important when I joined 2016 Reading Challenge next year.

So, that’s 4 things I’ve learned from trying out 2015 Reading Challenge. Do you participate in this reading challenge as well? If you do, do you have any notable experience there? Share it in your comment!

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14 thoughts on “4 Things I’ve Learned From Trying Out Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge

      1. I’m not likely to and that’s ok….I’m in a funny kind of place right now when it comes to reading in that I have no real desire to tie myself to a book right now…..I know it will pass, so in the meantime, I will continue to add to my want to read list!!!’ :))))

  1. I really enjoyed Graceling too. Have you read Fire or Bitterblue yet? They share some of the same characters. I also participate in the Goodreads challenge. I love that I can keep track of what I’ve read so easily. I’ve tried keeping track in notebooks and journals in the past and never stuck with it. But since I’m on an electronic device so often now, it’s easy to update my reading progress.

    1. I haven’t read any of them. Right now I actually have a hard time finishing Fire. I don’t really know what but there’s something with Fire that put me off 😐 It’s a pity since Bitterblue actually seems interesting but I’m afraid not reading it in right order would somehow ruin the fun or something so I haven’t read it yet.

  2. Great post! I relate to all 4 points, especially the third one. Now, I’ve started reading interesting fiction only on weekends and non-fiction or slow-paced books on week nights.

    You are on the nail about focusing on quantity over quality. I find myself avoiding big books and taking up smaller ones to complete the challenge. Maybe next year, I’ll focus better.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! Yes, now I also only read good books when I’m sure I have nothing important to do. Sometimes I violate my own rule though, like how yesterday I read Ramsay’s biography when was supposed to study for exams… 😐

  3. I enjoyed this post. “…soul sucking textbooks….” made me grin. Like you, I find that reading an enthralling fiction at bedtime DOES NOT lull me to sleep; and, with regard to number four, after doing goodreads book challenges a couple of years in a row, I opted to NOT focus on quantity for 2015, and my reading life is saner for that choice. Happy reading!

  4. I definitely agree with the fourth point. I think reading challenges that require setting a total number of books to read in a year can definitely destroy the quality of your reading habit. Take my experience, for instance.
    I just began reading A Song of Ice & Fire last month and I was really glad I found this book. It was an innovative, out-of-the-tolkien-esque fantasy. Now, when I peeked at the total number of pages of A Clash of Kings (ASOIAF, book 2), I had second thoughts reading it. I feared that it might affect my reading challenge because I’m one book behind. In conclusion, unfortunately, I chose not to read it and picked Mistborn instead because it has 500 or so pages and it’s a fast-paced novel. Yeah, it’s dreary indeed; though I plan to read it later this year if I can manage to read my reading challenge. The only solution I can think for now is to improve my reading skills—that is to become a faster, better reader without sacrificing my ability to enjoy a book—so that I’ll be bale to read longer and more epic novels like G.R.R.M.’s.

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