Reading challenges are something many of us think about at the start of a new season—most commonly at the new year, summer, and the start of school. With spring in full swing and schools coming to a close in the next month or so, numerous reading challenges have popped onto my radar. This prompted me to think back on my own experience and I wanted to take some time today to discuss them.
I’ve come across three main types of reading challenges: a number goal; categories; and bingo.
The most basic of the three, this type of reading challenge is simply the number of books you would like to read within a given amount of time. You may set this type of goal personally, in your head or in your journal. For the past few years, I’ve used Goodreads annual reading challenge in this way. At the beginning of each year, I take some time to evaluate how much I read the previous year and what I think my life will look like for the upcoming year and then try to select a goal that is just within the range of reachable. I don’t set too much store in it, though, and at the end of the day I don’t think I’d do it on my own if Goodreads didn’t prompt me.
Many book bloggers and other websites produce this type of reading challenge. More often than not, they challenge readers to broaden their horizons (or at least think outside the box) by offering ideas of different types of books to read within the year. The number of categories varies, from one per month to one per week to any other number variation you can think of. A few years back, I participated in the Popsugar reading challenge, which fits into this category. It was a lot of fun at first as I enjoyed planning which books I wanted to read. But as the year progressed, I had to get more and more creative trying to fit what I was already reading into each prompt. I almost completed books in each of the 50 categories but my mood reading habits did not serve me in the end.
A variation of the categories type above, a bingo reading challenge lays out the reading categories in a bingo card. The goal is for the reader to cross categories off as they read to achieve bingo. I’ve never done one of these myself but I do like the idea of selecting the prompts I like most that will get a bingo and leave the rest that don’t serve me. I have considered these from time to time but keep stopping myself before following through.
Over time I’ve come to terms with my reading habits. As a book blogger, I have a pile of books for review that I like to read on something of a schedule so that I can review them before or just around their release date. The rest of the time, I like to fill in my reading with books from my shelves that I am in the mood for at that moment. Planning out any more than that only stresses me out.
So as things stand now, reading challenges don’t fit well into my (reading) lifestyle. But I’m curious, how do you feel about them? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!