Why I don’t participate in reading challenges

I have come across many reading challenges my fellow bloggers joining in over the past years. Come January it’s time to hit the reset button and set a reading goal along with participating in a number of reading challenges to help reach the goal. It is a healthy and effective way to participate in a reading challenge to read more books and reach the goal. Challenges definitely bring in a lot of fun to the otherwise solo activities like reading and writing.

Reading Challenges

I don’t talk much about my reading conquests here. One reason being, I don’t have much to share. I have never participated in any reading challenges yet. It’s only last year I thought of setting a reading goal and all I wanted was to read one book every month, totaling a humble number of 12 at the end of 2018. To my surprise, I read 25 books in total. Now to be fair, 14 of them were Nancy Drew Mysteries which were so easy to read.

My aim was to just read – read at least a page a day. I used to be the person who wouldn’t budge from the seat until I was ready to put the book down. I had got many earfuls from my mom because of this nature as I preferred to hold off eating while I was reading a book. I read Harry Potter during the first year of our marriage, and I used to sneak in reading the book after my husband went to sleep because I just couldn’t put the book down and go to sleep when there were pages waiting to be devoured.

A good book always had my attention than anyone or anything.

Hence, when I had my first baby, I cut down on reading. Well, that’s the sensible thing to do when you care for a little person, right? It’s not fair to be immersed in a book when a tiny baby needs you.

And over time I read fewer books. I did read, but there were days, weeks and months with no book reading. Some years I read as low as one book, while some years I read as high as five books. So, setting 12 as a target last year was to ensure that I indulge in some reading.

Now, for me, the worst part of reading is that it is an endless vortex that sucks me in and never let me go. See, I ended up reading double the target number last year. Once I start reading a book, it’s not easy to come back to the real world. You voracious readers out there know what I mean, don’t you? 🙂

Why I don’t participate in reading challenges

When this year began, I saw so many bloggers sharing their reading goals and reading challenges they are taking part in. But it was a no-brainer for me to NOT to sign up for any of the challenges. Not even the Goodreads reading challenge. I skipped Write Tribe reading challenge, too, despite the tempting prompts.

My reasons are:

  • It will make me greedy. I will want to read more and end up doing nothing else.
  • I am afraid that I won’t reach the target number, and I will lose faith.
  • I don’t believe in numbers, and it extends to reading, too.
  • I am not sure that I will be able to have fun reading when I have numbers to keep up with.
  • Honestly, I don’t like the idea of a reading challenge because that threatens me.
  • Often, I read aloud. I read and imagine. I read and think. I become a character in the book at times, and I don’t like to rush that process. When I read, I enjoy reading as if there is no tomorrow, as if there is no other book. Numbers would thwart my process.
  • I am a simple person, and I believe numbers would complicate my reading.
  • I don’t want to start comparing myself with others in reading, too. I’m trying to let go of comparisons and achieve inner peace. 😀
  • And most importantly, I will forget to keep track of the number of books. Have you any idea how difficult it was to figure out the number of books I read last year? Took me two days to figure that out.

I’m keeping the same reading goal as last year – one book per month. If I read more, that’s nice. If I don’t finish a book one month, that’s good too, as long as I’m enjoying it. There is no pressure, no challenges to race after, and definitely, no trophies awaiting.

That being said, I truly admire those who participate in reading challenges. It takes commitment and dedication to finish one.

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14 thoughts on “Why I don’t participate in reading challenges

  1. I signed up for the Write Tribe reading challenge and dropped out within a couple of weeks. For me, books need to be read and savoured not read to make up a number. I also found I was reading with a review in mind and I lost the pleasure of reading. Good luck with your reading.

  2. My thoughts exactly Vineeta. I too get pressured into completing challenges and sometimes find they completely take over my life. On the other hand a reading challenge pushes me to read more than just the obligatory mail that I have to read 😉

  3. Oh you said it, Vinitha! I’m so scared of reading challenges because I think I might feel greedy or even worse, fail in it. But, the Goodreads challenge is the only one I take up, as it helps me keep track of what books I read and what books I’d want to read.

    I think what you are doing is amazing. Reading should be a passion, not a compulsion.

  4. I don’t participate in reading challenges, either, Vini, for the same reason. It would give me too much anxiety, which I really don’t need in my life. For me, reading is unwinding, it is going off to the place in the book, the story in the book, and if I have a deadline to complete reading that book, then I am not going to be enjoying a single line of the story! My reading has also reduced drastically since some time now. And, although I love books, I am not thinking about how miserable I feel as I can’t find time to read. I manage to read the newspapers and I am happy with that! 😛

  5. I rarely take part in reading challenges either. But I really liked Write Tribe’s challenge this year, and it fit in with my goal of reading 2 books a month, so I signed up for it. More than chasing a number, though, I like challenges that make me choose a combination of books that I would love reading and a few that are a little out of my comfort zone. And sometimes, challenge prompts are what helps with that!

  6. Hi five, Vinitha. You could as well be writing about me. Sometimes I read voraciously and at other times, I don’t pick up a book for . months. I just don’t want to add any pressure to my reading by having goals. Like you I would like to read 12 books a year. Of not that’s fine too. 😊

  7. There there. You speak for me as well. Except for the goodreads challenge of reading 12 books a year in the last 2 years, I could never gear up myself to sign up for any reading challenge. When Write Tribe launched its launching challenge, it was like a family event. The kind which you want to join in because it is family but yet you can’t for many reasons, as the ones same as yours. Reading should be for the soul then why attach number and speed to it. I am a slow reader so it takes me ages to complete a book unless it is damn gripping. I am having my own small reading challenge this year which I will talk about around the mid of this year if I stay stuck to it.

  8. I love your honesty about this. You should always read because you want to, not because of a challenge. For me this year the only reason I’ve set the challenge is so I’ll commit to myself to get back to reading despite all my work commitments And so far it has worked. I’m enjoying the books I’ve read so far and savour the art of reading. Your post reminds me of the way Gy reads. Out loud, with expression 🙂 So cute!

  9. This sounds a little like me. The way I read is similar to enjoying a yummy dish. If I have to hurry through it just to attain a certain number I would not be able to savor it at the pace I’d love to. Honestly I have never participated in a reading challenge for this reason and I doubt if I ever will.

  10. I think we should each do what works for us. I like your reasons, and your honesty with them. I try and do challenges because they help me keep track of how much I’m reading.

  11. I don’t participate in reading challenges for the same reasons. I love Nancy Drew, and after reading your post I’m tempted to pick up one from my daughter’s bookshelf. 🙂

  12. For me, it’s only Goodreads reading challenge. I do not participate in any other challenge because I like to read at my own pace. To read books of my own choice. Goodreads helps me to keep track of my reading. I like to share mini reviews there. But, it doesn’t bother me if I cannot complete the challenge. I usually read 3 books a month and keep the challenge accordingly —36 to 40 books. It amazes me when someone says that they read 100-150 books!

  13. You speak for me. I don’t participate in any reading challenges. I keep a goal of 12 a year and read. That works for me. Having a number and feeling the pressure is something that I would not like. I do track on Goodreads though. I like that app for its simplicity.

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