In 2014, I did a reading challenge on Goodreads, and I hit my goal of 30 books in a year! I was stretched thin with work and graduate school, but I managed and it felt so great to accomplish a goal. (Visit my Book Reviews page to get a glimpse of the books I’ve read in the past few years)
However, I upped my goal to 40 books in 2015, and slid far behind. Through the summer, I was on track. Then I quit my job in Japan, went back home to America, signed a contract for a job in South Korea, moved, and started my new life with my fiancé. All in a few months, and my downtime has been reduced to almost zero most nights and many weekends.
I am the type of person who already feels stressed about everything, and I am bad at relaxing and just letting myself be. Reading has always been something that’s just for me. A time when I can get away from my problems and the rest of the world and become engulfed in another. I’ve always loved to read, and I thought giving myself a break would be okay because my reading challenge was to push myself to read more of the books I bought, not stress myself out about not getting yet another thing struck off my to-do list.
Therefore, I decided to only push myself to read about 35 books this year, and so far I’ve read 33. With one more day before the new year, I doubt I will make that goal, but I’m not too worried about it anymore. I read 33 books, most of them amazing and fun and informative.
In 2016, I don’t think I want to push myself too hard. I’m getting married, my future job situation is a little uncertain at the moment, and I have picked up a few hobbies that I put down for a while, like knitting and music and learning Korean. I have a lot on my plate, and in a few days a new graduate school course will begin, along with another work week, and I’m not about to stress myself out with resolutions.
I love using Goodreads to track my reading progress throughout the year, so I will probably set my goal for 2016 at around 20 so I can relax but still keep reminding myself to finish books. However, there is a blogger who I truly love who creates a yearly reading challenge, but in a slightly different way.
Modern Mrs. Darcy is a blog I read every day, and she recently posted her 2016 Reading Challenge, which is a list of categories to encourage people to read things they might not have otherwise. I’ve always read her posts about the books she’s reading to fulfill one of her categories, and I always thought it was a great idea, but now I’m going to participate and actually feel included.
In the past few years, I’ve stumbled upon a reading routine that works well for me. I read a fiction book, and then I pick up a nonfiction. I try to stay within that pattern, because it allows me to read fiction without comparing writing styles as much, and reading nonfiction is something I really enjoy as well, so by alternating, I get to read something I’ve been excited about for a while.
I just finished reading The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown, and I’m about to start Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I also finally reviewed The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which I read a few weeks ago.
Let me know if you’ve ever done a reading challenge, how it went, or if you are planning on doing one in 2016! I’d love to get book recommendations as well, and don’t forget to add me on Goodreads! You can also look back at my year in books. Happy reading and Happy New Year’s!