Shadin Al-Dossari ‘18/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Editor
For any reader, even those who read a couple of books a year, reading challenges exist. They have always been around. Summer reading challenges were present in kids’ lives as early as elementary school (in large part thanks to libraries). They may even participate in the most popular reading challenge: the yearly Goodreads’s reading challenge. Goodreads is essentially Facebook for book lovers and anyone who reads. It allows you to follow other people’s reviews, see what’s on their to-read list, create your own to-read list and update what you’re currently reading. Goodreads keeps the statistics for the number of books you read each year, including the longest book you read. For some people this is exciting as it lets you look back on your achievements.
The goal of reading challenges is exactly what you’d think; to challenge you to read more! Many people love reading, but just can’t find time in their busy lives. Reading challenges are supposed to motivate people to make time. Setting realistic goals will remind you that you want to read and that you need to set aside time. Understandably it can be daunting: it’s halfway through the year, but you’ve only read 12 out of your goal of 75 books.
The key is to set realistic goals. The average number of books pledged for the 2017 Goodreads challenge is 46. It’s true that it can turn into a bit of a competition when you see how many books your friends have pledged, and you want to be on par with them; but remember reading challenges are supposed to be fun, reading is fun. If you’re someone who would feel pressured by that looming number, don’t worry! A nice feature of Goodreads is that you don’t have to set a reading goal. It’s only there if you choose to create a goal. You can go about using the site and happily reading without the pressure of reaching that goal.
A different kind of reading challenge is PopSugar’s reading challenge. Theirs is different in that they provide prompts for different kind of books that you read in order to complete the challenge. For their 2017 challenge there are 40 prompts with an advanced section for those who finish the 40 prompts. The goal of the prompts is to diversify and expand the books that people are reading. The idea is to have fun with the books you choose to read. PopSugar’s challenge is a creative way to get out of a reading slump too. With prompts like “A book set in a hotel” or “A book with a cat on the cover”, this challenge will force you to pick up books you wouldn’t normally read.
Reading challenges are a fun way to delve into becoming a book fanatic. The feeling you get when you surpass your goal is pure joy. Be proud of yourself. But, don’t feel too bad if you don’t make your goal. Reading one book is better than none.
In a world that is increasingly turning to digital formats for entertainment, reading challenges remind everyone that books are just as entertaining and insightful.