Why I Set My Goodreads Challenge to One Book

Hey peeps! It’s that time of year (the very beginning) where everyone (or a lot of people) are wondering what to set their Goodreads Reading Challenge goal to for 2017. A lot of people want to exceed last year’s goal by X amount of books, and some just want to read the same amount they did – or even less. I was thinking about my own challenge and I was going to set it to 30 books again this year, but as I thought more and more about it I realized how much I crave a stress free year.

So I set my goal to one book. And I’ve already accomplished it.

I want to do more than just be a book blogger this year, so I want to do a lot more of my other passions this year than just reading. That’s one of the major reasons why I set my goal to one book. I have more passions than just reading and they’ve been thrown to the wayside these past couple of years.

The other major reason is that by setting it to one book, no matter how many books I’ve read, that feeling of accomplishment will still be there. I don’t feel that pressure that everyone feels when they set that goal. It always seem like we have to reach it, like we have no choice in that matter. But we do.

I don’t think reading, or any passion/hobby/activity should be stressful. We’re doing this for fun, right? We’re doing this for ourselves, to have a voice in the reading world, to share our love of books. So why stress about how many we read?

If you want to set your goal to 100 books, go for it! If you want to set it to 10, go for it! Do whatever you think will make you happy and just set out to achieve that goal! I hope you all have a stressless reading year and that you read the books you want.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What did you set your challenge to, if you did set it? Do you think it’s a good idea to just have one book as your goal, or do you think having a larger number to reach for is better? Tell me your thoughts!

My Currently Reading Shelf & Why It’s a Lie

If you use Goodreads then you know about the three “shelves” that they give you upon signing up: read, currently reading, and want to read. These three shelves really define a bookworm’s real shelves, but of course the option to add more shelves is always there and people come up with really creative names for what they want to shelve their books on.

Me? I’m lazy and just use the three.

BUT. If you take a look at my currently reading shelf…

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-9-45-39-pm

THIRTY. SIX. BOOKS. What the hell is that number about? I can barely focus on the one book I’m currently reading at the moment, let alone thirty-six!

See now, I have this bad habit. Do you want to know what it is? (of course you do, why else are you here?)

I start books and don’t finish them.

I KNOW. HEATHEN. But, let me explain.

It’s like I’ve talked about before a few times on my blog about how I want to read certain books during certain times of the year, or I’m just not in the mood to read, etc. These factors are huge in determining on whether or not I finish a book. If I’m super into it, don’t have a crap ton of stress in my life, or am just not super tired like I’ve been lately, then I can read a bunch of books in any given month. I find them enjoyable and I can fly through them sometimes.

But then there are times when I just… can’t.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I generally DO enjoy the books I’m reading at that given moment they’re sitting in my currently reading shelf, but more often than not my mood changes and I just don’t want to read it anymore.

My earliest book on that shelf is A Game of Thrones. I started reading it back on December 23, 2013. Almost three YEARS ago, people. Three. Years.

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-9-54-16-pm

And then I have a few books I started two years ago or last year and I’m just sitting here like, “Why haven’t I finished reading them?”

I know a couple of them I’m probably definitely not going to read anytime soon, so I can remove those if I wanted, but the others? I actually AM interested in reading them, but I just haven’t because… why?

Laziness? Lack of interest? More interesting books on my shelf?

I think yes to all three.

I also enjoy using the currently reading shelf to constantly update my reading progress on the book I’m currently reading at that moment. I like seeing my progress and how close I am to finishing and seeing if I can finish it in a certain time frame and stuff like that. It’s like a competition with myself.

I find that the shelves on Goodreads are super useful and awesome, for sure, but I think it’s just my mind’s constant flow of wanting to read ALL THE THINGS that so many books get pushed aside for just one book I’m super interested in at the time.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Do you abuse your currently reading shelf like I do? How many books are you actually currently reading? Are your shelves on Goodreads accurate representations of what you’ve actually read/are currently reading? Share your insights! I must know!

How I Rate Books

This has been a topic going around the Booktube stratosphere for a few weeks now and I figured I’d chime in on the subject.

The way I rate books is one of two ways, either I:

  1. Rate it based on how much I enjoyed it, plus how I thought each character, plot, etc fit with each other.
  2. Rate it based on the literary context behind it and critically analyze it.

It really depends on the book and what I’m looking to get out of it.

Oftentimes, YA books that I pick up, or any fiction book I pick up, really, are rated based on my level of enjoyment. I oftentimes also look deeper into whether or not the main character was well developed, if I connected with any characters, if I found that the setting was appropriate and well used for what was being discussed, etc.

Now this might mean that a lot of books I read get high ratings – and that’s fine. Why would I purposefully read something that I have no interest in? Throughout school years we are often forced to read books we oftentimes hate because they’re boring, whether in content or character or language. But when we read for pleasure, we find that we gravitate toward a certain genre or toward a certain direction. And that’s perfectly fine.

The other times that I critically analyze books, such as reading them for hidden messages, research backgrounds, history, contexts, etc, is generally only when I am researching in a classroom setting or for my own personal interest. Generally I critically analyze a book when it has great literary standing, such as many novels before the modern era (generally before the 20th century). These books have had thousands upon thousands of papers written about them from the time they are written and well beyond, and so there is much detail and theories out there to research and take a look at.

Whether books are rated simply for pure enjoyment or whether they’re rated with a critical outlook, just remember that the way you rate them is your choice. You don’t have to rate it one way or another. If you think a book deserves five stars just because, then go for it. But if someone asks you why you did so, just try to have an answer ready for them.

Also, the question that might come up is: where do you rate them? I use Goodreads as a way to find books, add them to “shelves” on the site, and also rate them as I finish them. There are thousands upon thousands of reviews to look at, so check them out! I try to not take them too much to heart unless a book is rated below 3.5 stars. But that’s to each their own!

Accompanying video: Discussion | How I Rate Books

How do you rate books? Let me know in the comments below!