I’ve spoken a lot about my ~resolutions~ to read less books, so I can give myself more time for other hobbies. This was something I resolved to do for 2016 and again in 2017. Book blogging has done a wonderful job of introducing me to countless friends, new authors, and books I never would have thought to pick up. It’s also wildly increased my reading numbers. This is really great and makes me feel super accomplished! I love reading. But lately, I’ve hated the pressure to read.
I was often 13 books ahead on my reading challenge this year. This was mostly because I binge-listened to a series with thirteen short books. But still! I was ahead! Then, I hit my slow reading month in October and ended up catching up to be just “on track” by the end of December. I found myself on December 15th needing to finish 6 more books in order to complete my challenge. What happened?! Instead of saying “oh well” and just reading as much as I genuinely wanted to read, I pushed myself to finish it off. It ended up working out well because I squeezed in more holiday reads than expected.
Because of the unnecessary pressure to read, I’ve actually ended up reducing my Goodreads challenge each year. I see most of my friends reading more and setting a higher goal each year since I started blogging, but mine has gone down. You can see from the picture that I blew my 2014 challenge out of the water because that was before I started blogging. I ended up reading 91 books instead of 20… LOL. In 2015, I read 180 books when I set my goal to 175. I did so much analyzing for that challenge number because it was the first “real” year I was blogging and participating. I wanted it to be challenging but not too difficult to achieve. I went with 175 because I figured I would average 3 audiobooks and month and 3-4 books a week. 175 was a happy medium because I thought 180 would be overdoing it. (Looks like I achieved that anyways!) I decided to move down to 160 for 2016 because I figured I’d read between 12-14 books per month in one way or another. This is how my reading was broken down throughout most of 2016. (No December because I captured this when I hadn’t finished yet.)
As you can see, I definitely had some great months and some not-so-great months. I was consistently stuck around 11-12 books each month in the latter part of the year because I was so burned out. All of those rereads in March and April were from the series binge I did with short audiobooks. Without those, I wouldn’t have even been close to my challenge unless I forced it. I was able to read 20 books or more because of them. Again, those were challenge-savers that are probably never happening again.
So why am I continually reducing my challenge?
I’d like to start remembering the books I read.
When I read too much, too quickly… I have no idea what I read. I look back on the year and I’m like “woah, I read THAT this year? I thought it was last year?” and say other things like “what the fuck even happened in that book? I don’t remember anything.” Yeah, it’s not fun. It’s also a very good thing I write my reviews ASAP after reading instead of waiting until the release date and/or generally procrastinating. I’m lucky if I even remember character names a few weeks after reading the book. Seriously.
Book blogging has opened me up to more fandoms and hobbies
than just books… and those things take up some time.
I’ve expanded my horizons quite a bit beyond just reading, thanks to all the passionate and creative people I chat with on a regular basis. A group of bloggers got me obsessed with Sailor Moon for a while. I took podcast recs from people on Twitter and started getting a bit addicted instead of listening to audiobooks. I followed the screeching toward new TV shows like Stranger Things. I got fulllllly into the Marvel universe (mostly from Chris but definitely from blogger enthusiasm too). I started planning and then bullet journaling. There are so many other shows, movies, and activities I could list on here because bloggers brought something shiny and new to my attention. The thing is though, I LOVE THIS. I like having new hobbies to take up time! But if my Goodreads challenge is too high, I won’t feel like I can actually give them attention.
I would rather kick the goal’s ass than not meet it.
I know there’s a big huge chance I’ll become addicted to reading and read anywhere between 150 and 180 books. I’ve done it before so I know I CAN. I would much rather have a slightly smaller goal and actually meet it than feeling the constant pressure to read more more more. I don’t want to rely on rereading a childhood book series to get ahead this year. I just want to read a normal amount of books and be happy with it.
My interest in audiobooks has waned.
I alluded to this already but I just don’t have the same obsession with audiobooks anymore. In 2015, I was pretty addicted. I always had an audiobook going and pretty much never listened to anything else. Now? I have quite a few podcasts I enjoy keeping up with, plus many more on the docket hopefully. I also have turned back to listening to music more often when I just don’t want to focus on anything. I have Apple Music and am trying to get my money’s worth. Instead of finishing around 3-4 audiobooks per month, I’d rather stretch out 1-2. I can’t count on those same numbers to beef up my challenge anymore.
My reading time has also dwindled a bit more.
I already mentioned that other hobbies have come into play here, so that’s a big part of this. Chris and I like to watch shows together after work or go hiking or skiing on the weekend. Actually, ya know, DOING THINGS with him and other people really stomps on my reading time. I used to always settle in with a book on weeknights or read all morning on the weekend. Doing other things instead means less reading time. And I’m totally fine with it! I enjoy reading in the morning before work or right before bed, but I also enjoy watching my shows when I have alone time.
What number did I settle on this year?
If you haven’t already seen it already somewhere on the interwebs, I decided to go down by 10 books and am aiming to read 150 books in 2017. First of all, it was the number that kind of popped into my head right away. It just had that RIGHT feeling for me. Second, I did some math out (of course I did) and figured out it was the average of my “worst case scenario” and “most likely/best case scenario” numbers. If my reading is on the lower side (like 2 books per week and 2 audiobooks per month), I’d finish 120 books. If it’s on the higher side (3 books per week and 3 audiobooks per month), I’d finish 180. Because I know myself and realize I’ll probably fall somewhere in the middle, the actual average between those two is 150 books. I’ll probably be somewhere between 10-15 books per month, which is fine by me! I also assume I’ll read more graphic novels this year and those are pretty darn quick to read. I started the year with three Harry Potter novellas too, so I can already feel the success within reach!