In 2016, I set a GoodReads reading goal of 60 books. In 2017, I thought 52 would be more reasonable. This year I chose 12.
For those who are unaware of the annual reading challenge I’m referring to, the social media platform “GoodReads” allows its users to participate in an online reading challenge every year. Users set their own goal of how many books they’ll read in the year based on what they believe they can accomplish (or, more realistically, what they’re hoping they will).
While I think that this reading challenge is a great way for readers to encourage themselves to read more, I’ve also seen it evolve into an over-competitive reading environment. This is a concept similar to public new years resolutions: If we were to put all of our new years resolutions online for our friends and family to see, would we be more motivated to accomplish those goals? Or would our actions become a compulsory show for our social media following?
In addition to this, the platform hosts countless book reviews, recommendations and discussions, possibly leaving the GoodReads user conflicted on what to read next.
While my opinion stems from my own observations, I’ve found that others in the book community seem to be on board. Members of “Booktube,” a YouTube community centered around books, specifically have voiced their concerns over this issue, many beginning at the start of 2017. In her video titled “2017 Reading Goals | Why I’m not doing a GoodReads Challenge,” booktuber Mrs Hembry Reads says “I felt that having the GoodReads challenge… I felt this pressure. Completely unnecessary pressure.“ The video received 86 likes and 0 dislikes.
Mrs Hembry Reads later makes a comment about how she isn’t attacking GoodReads as a platform, which I stand by. The only issue with the reading challenge is the possible strain that readers put on themselves to adamantly stick to an optimistic reading goal.
When reading becomes a chore people, stop reading. Don’t let that be you in 2018.
Mrs Hembry Reads’ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iuqrYdfM_I
By: Jordan Sickon, Red Cedar Review Staff