Beyond the Blurb | Why Goodreads Reading Challenge Doesn’t Work for Me

Morning, readers!

Ever since I started blogging full-time, I always pledged fifty books to my annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. For two years straight, I countlessly set my challenge high. Sure, reading fifty books a year isn’t a lot to some people who read more than a hundred. But since I signed up for Goodreads, I completed each annual challenge.

But last year, I realized something. I don’t want to pledge fifty books anymore. Instead, I want to pledge lower. Yes, you read that right. Even though I’m a full-time blogger and reader, I cannot set my challenge high. For my next discussion post, I want to talk about the reasons why I’ve decided to set my Goodreads challenge at thirty, not fifty.

I Read for the Challenge, not for the Thrill of Reading

I fell out of love of reading because I was reading for the challenge, not for me. I hated how I wasn’t reading for the thrill of it. I started to hate going from one book to the next because I had to, not because I wanted to. Was I reading for myself? No. I was reading for the challenge.


The Pressure Got too High

I hated the pressure. Reading a minimum of four books a month isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s rather easy for me. But a timeline for each book was always in my mind. And it dictated what I read, when I read it, and how long I had to read. So you can see why I hated the pressure of reading for the challenge.


I Nose Dived Into a Difficult Reading Slump, Which I’m Just Getting Out of

In December, I completed my 2019 reading challenge, then I fell into a month-long reading slump. I’m just getting out of it. But now, I’m reading slower, and the only books interesting to me is rereads, not new titles. I’ve never been in this kind of slump before. Nothing helped. Nothing worked. And nothing got me out of it, but time.


I Hated How I Evolved as a Reader

My reading habits have changed over the years. But I noticed how the challenge evolved me as a reader. I was interested in only new releases, not older titles I’ve been wanting to read. I wanted to read only the hotly anticipated books, not the lesser-known titles. I hated how I turned out. I became superficial as a reader. But no more. I’ll read what I want to read, whether or not my followers are intrigued by what I finish.


Are you planning on reading fifty books this year? Do you think the Goodreads Reading Challenge helps or hinders you as a reader? Do you feel pressured when you’re behind?

9 thoughts on “Beyond the Blurb | Why Goodreads Reading Challenge Doesn’t Work for Me

  1. This year I set mine to 60 but I’m kinda just gonna see where it goes. I have definitely been reading more new books since I started blogging so I’m not sure what to do 😂


  2. I totally understand where you’re coming from with this! I’m glad you’re focusing this year on titles YOU want to read when YOU want to read them. I can’t wait to see the reviews/posts that come from that kind of freedom! Happy reading, love!


  3. I think you’re right. I’ve seen other readers & bloggers get so caught up in the challenge that they lose their own reading interests and preferences. For example, they panic-read tonnes of short stories / graphic novels just to say they’ve achieved their Goodreads target before the end of the year.

    Personally, I enjoy using Goodreads and its Reading Challenge, and don’t feel that pressure you’re describing – although I can completely see why others might. I do read a lot, anyway, so I feel I might as well log my progress. For the last week, however, I’ve been “behind” on my Challenge, as I’ve only finished 1 book. So what! I will either “catch it up ” later in the year, or I’ll not complete my target, but my head isn’t going to explode or anything if I don’t manage it. Great blog post 🙂


  4. I like the record keeping that Goodreads does but I do know what you mean about the pressure… especially when it starts telling you things like “you’re one book behind” or whatever. Lol. But I decided since mid last year that I’m happier reading for my mood or pushing myself to read something for my own education/ knowledge etc. Reading that way means I continue to enjoy it and maintain books as my escape, so my goal is never really too far away.


  5. Siobhan! No matter what your Goodreads challenge is, I hope you read a lot of books in 2020 that inspire you and make you happy/excited to read~ I’ve set my Goodreads goal at 75 for the last 2 or 3 years. I upped it to 85 for 2020 just to see if that added ten books on the countdown makes a difference. It’s kind of a double edged sword. The number of books is nice to hit but as I get older I get really bogged down by reading books for the sake of hitting the number. So I started using the edit challenge button liberally and if I’m running behind and in a slump I allow myself to lower the challenge goal. Then when I hit the new goal if I want to I can make it higher or just surpass it if I want. Life is too short for reading books that aren’t enjoyable or won’t grow me as a reader.


  6. Yes – Sibby this post is everything I’ve been feeling and more! When I joined my first Goodreads challenge I started with 50 books. The next year I aimed for 60. Then 70. Followed by last year’s 80 which I altered after I realized the was no freaking way I was going to finish it.

    I’ve never had this issue until last year but I felt like I was drowning in the pressure to read a certain amount of books a month. Suddenly I, like you, was reading for the challenge and not because I wanted too. Sometimes I just didn’t want to read every single day and the more pressure I felt the less I wanted to read. Hello last minuet reading slump!

    This year my New Years Resolution is basically to start axing unnecessary stress.The first step was to cut down my Reading Challenge a peg or five. So this year I’m back to aiming for 50 books. If I read more? Great! If I read less? Hakuna Matata!

    I think we’re starting to forget that we blog because reading is our passion. We shouldn’t be making it into a chore. Good luck! ❤


  7. I use the GR challenge as a way to keep track of what I’ve read. If I fall behind, I don’t particularly care as no one is forcing me to hit that number. I also feel free with the GR challenge as I can read whatever I want so it suits my mood reading. Old books, new books, re-reads… All good.

    I understand that the pressure to reach the GR goal is immense and they feel like they’re ‘failing’ if they fall behind but I’m lucky in that I’m not one of them. I think you’ve got to do what works for you always with blogging or it becomes a job and a chore rather than something you do because you enjoy it.


  8. I feel your reasons are the same as my reasons interestingly enough. In previous years I set myself a goal of 52 books a year because I thought averaging out 1 per week was realistic. After slumping massively several times last year I realised that I was never going to make my target. But was oddly ok with that.

    In the end I decided to choose a goal of 35 because I felt that was more realistic *to me*.


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