Happy Friday everyone! So, we’re coming to that time of the year when everyone is setting New Year’s Resolutions, deciding their reading goals and getting ready for new reading challenges.
Which means it’s time for another session of RYANN MAKES A BAD BOOKWORM CONFESSION!!
studio audience cheers I didn’t reach my 2017 Goodreads goal. I was close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. And, given the year I’ve had, I’m definitely okay with that.
Over the summer, I tried to participate in a few reading challenges to try to help me meet my 2017 reading goal. And it made me realize, while I can definitely appreciate having a reading goal, I have some mixed feelings about reading challenges, and this sort of idea of competitive reading.
I love reading, but sometimes reading challenges really put me off. It’s great to have goals set up, and I definitely admire the people who can read 7000 books in a year
I couldn’t even get through 65. But I just couldn’t get into them, for a couple reasons.
The biggest reason is really simple: I’m a lazy reader. I like to take my time and read what I want, when I want. Reading challenges generally make me feel more stressed than I want to be, and, instead of making me feel more encouraged to read, make me want to put it off because it becomes less enjoyable.
A big part of this is that reading challenges are often competitive. A group of people all participate in a challenge, and then compare how many books everyone completed. For me, the worst is when these challenges offer a prize for the “winner.” Essentially, it turns reading into a competition. Now, I get that some people see reading challenges as an incentive to read more or get out of a slump, but it can be frustrating when people take something like reading, which encourages people to connect with each other and be open-minded, and turn it into a competition with people trying to “out-read” each other; pitting reader against reader.
Which can leave people feeling really inadequate. Some people just don’t read as fast as others, which should be okay, but reading challenges can make it seem like a fault. New bloggers can become discouraged when they see how many books one person gets through, when the new blogger has read far fewer. It can be hard as an adult to participate in reading challenges, because you know that when you’ve got a job, college classes, and a house to take care of, there’s just no way you can compete with a high school student on summer vacation.
I’m not saying that reading challenges are bad in and of themselves; I’ve seen many people participate in them and have a lot of fun! I’ve seen some great reading challenges that encourage people to read more diverse books. I’ve known people who were in a terrible reading slump get pulled back into reading by a well-planed reading challenge! But sometimes, at least in my experience, there have also been times where they seemed more discouraging than helpful.
So, as we head into the New Year, try to make sure your reading challenges are inclusive and encouraging. And if you participate in reading challenges, just remember that reading should never be a competition.
Thanks for reading!
What are your reading goals for 2018? What are your thoughts on reading challenges? Do you participate in them? Let me know in the comments below!