The Goodreads Reading Challenge – Playing by My Own Rules

Every year on January 1st one of the first things Goodreads members do is set their reading challenge. The amount you want to read that year. My whole feed is full of these kinds of update on that day. And honestly, I am right there with them. There is just something so great about setting that number and starting right away with your first book of the year.

There has been a lot of comments in recent years against the goodreads reading challenge however. How it sparks a certain competitiveness amongst bloggers and readers about wanting to read more than others or how it puts a lot of pressure on you. I can’t deny that those things do play a part with a lot of people. There is always going to be envy among groups of people and some will always set too high goals.

But is that really the fault of the Goodreads reading challenge? I think not.

Lowering My Goal

Last year I choose to create a lower Goodreads reading challenge than I usually would have done. I like to try and go for at least a 100 each year but I decided to go for 60. I just didn’t know how things would be with Merijn and I didn’t want to add extra pressure on myself. I made the choice to create less expectations. Because 60 books a year is a great number too.

As you might have seen, I easily doubled the amount last year. But why was that?

I think the biggest reason for this was that I went easy on myself. And I don’t mean just creating a lower number.


Creating My Own Rules

Normally I would only count full books. I would not count short stories under 80 pages or count any comics. It is almost an unspoken rule amongst a lot of goodreads reading challengers to do this I feel. It isn’t said but it is often insinuated. As if when you do add comics or shorter stories to your challenge it means your number means less.

As the year went on though, I slowly let these things go. I counted short stories under 80 pages and slowly started counting comics. Because why not? Why should I go by other people’s rules? This is a challenge for ME. Comics, short stories, children’s books all are books and stories you read and therefor count. I haven’t seen anything you could not count towards your reading challenge that is on Goodreads. As long as you add in the ending date, it will be counted. So it counts.

Do you read a lot of picture books for your kids? They count. Do you cook a lot and use cooking books? They count.

For Ourselves

These things made the presure to complete my reading challenge lower and there was no last minute scramble to complete my challenge or to get to a certain number. There was so much more ease in my year. Most of the time I didn’t even know what my number was and only checked for my monthly wrap up.

What I am trying to say is that we make our own rules. Just because the Goodreads Reading Challenge is a widely known and used way to set a yearly reading goal doesn’t mean you have to do it the way others do or that you should feel pressured into only adding certain things.

In the end we make these goals for ourselves. What works for me doesn’t have to work for you. Play by your own rules.

24 thoughts on “The Goodreads Reading Challenge – Playing by My Own Rules

  1. I think it’s more important to be satisfied with the books being read, instead of setting quantity as the goal. Sometimes we read things we’re excited about and blaze through them, other times we like to savour the experience, then there are books which we throw in the junk pile. I’ve been on goodreads for about 4 years now; the challenge has never been something I participated in. My reading habits are far too erratic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is great that works for you. A friend of mine also didn’t put a number in hers this year.

      I do think that for some setting a number goals does work to motivate them to read, and if they feel they need that then that is great. To each their own, right? And I like the feature of Goodreads that just shows the overview of what you have read that year. πŸ™‚


  2. Some people go crazy with shoving their number read in your face when you know they read a lot of fluffy YA romance and there are probably very few books over 200 pages on their list. Then there are the people who read 50 picture books in December to meet their goal. Ha ha. I don’t care when they are only using it for themselves, but when it is a bragging point. Ugh. That’s why I always ask them for their page count. Heh heh. πŸ˜‚

    I am glad I have set mine to zero these last two years because for me, seeing those “you are behind” notifications bogged my reading down instead of motivating me. I use it more for a page counter now. I read 14 more books, by count, in 2017 than I did in 2016 but only 600 more pages, so that was really only about two books more. I think the page number should be the challenge goal, or have a way to set which one you want for your challenge. πŸ™Œ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think sometimes people don’t set realistic numbers for their goodreads goals and so they have to scramble they feel (as it is a public challenge). I’ve never felt the need to do that in the last month.

      For me the amount of pages someone read doesn’t mean a whole lot either to me. As long as they have fun and enjoy reading, right?

      I know people who read 200 books and a portion of that is comics. I don’t think that matters. As long as it seems to be a reflection of their reading habits you know.


      1. I’m only talking about page count when they are bragging about how many books they have read. I think it would help for new bloggers who get to feeling down by their totals if they could see page totals, too. I think in many instances it would let them know they are not that far off track.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. *standing ovation* Yes! Let’s read for OURSELVES. I don’t understand why everyone feels the need to passive-aggressively compete through the Goodreads reading challenge. And GOOD FOR YOU to take a stand here!

    I have stepped back my challenge numbers for this year, as well. I recognize my life is about to get a bit crazy, and I want to ensure I don’t put too much undue pressure on myself. I also record everything I read on Goodreads. Comic, short story, whatever– it’s in there. I use GR as my own way to keep track of what I’ve read. I don’t need other people putting their silly standards on me. πŸ˜‰

    I cannot wait to see what you do this year, Annemeike! I know it will be amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? Me neither.

      Yes the challenge is just a great way to see what you read over the year. And making shelves for a year just does not work the right way (I tend to forget to add books to those shelves). It is good that you can take a step back from the numbers too. It is so important.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. I am with you on forgetting to add books to the right shelves. Only once I started blogging for over a year did I start to get better about Year-specific shelves. I found that I wanted to review books I’d read the previous year, and this is a good way for me to keep track of when I’ve read books. It’s not perfect, but what is?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hier kan ik mezelf in terugvinden. De competitie ontstaat niet door Goodreads maar door mensen die lezen als een wedstrijd gaan beschouwen. Natuurlijk mag je jezelf elk jaar uitdagen door de lat wat hoger te leggen maar daar doe ik zelf niet aan mee. Ik hoef niet persΓ© meer te lezen. Behalve natuurlijk wanneer we het over eigen boeken hebben. Nee, ik wil gewoon nadien kunnen terugblikken naar wat ik juist gelezen heb op een jaar tijd Γ©n daar is Goodreads erg handig voor. Zelf geef ik kookboeken in wanneer ik ze echt gelezen heb en eigenlijk zou ik dat met vrijwel alles kunnen doen dat ik lees maar ik geef eerlijk toe dat ik ook geen zin heb om boeken te gaan invoeren die er nog niet instaan. Als een boek er niet tussenstaat zal het dus ook niet snel geregistreerd worden als gelezen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helemaal waar! Ik heb een tijdje geprobeerd de lat hoger te leggen maar juist toen ik vorig jaar minder had ingesteld ging ik over de 130 heen. Met gemak. Dus ook dit jaar weer een lage goal.
      Ja een boek invoeren zal ik ook niet snel doen.

      Liked by 1 person

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