Most of you who are active in the book community–and by active I mean, you talk to other book lovers and participate in reading groups and what not–are already familiar with reading challenges. They are a fun way to read more books and to step out of your comfort zone and read more widely as well. But they can also be stressful and daunting, especially if you have a busy schedule (or if you have terrible time management skills like me).
As a master procrastinator and an overall incredibly lazy young adult, any thing that has the word “challenge” in it always had me running the other way or making a few thousand lame excuses for not participating. Until recently, that is. After two and a half year of trying to maturely deal with one personal tragedy after another (and failing miserably) and learning to balance my own personal needs with life duties, a few months ago I finally decided that what I really needed was to feel rewarded for at least trying–and the best way to do that was to give myself small challenges that steadily grew into bigger, harder challenges. Kind of like a video game–complete level one and get ____bonuses, complete level two and get _______x2 bonuses.
Initially they were all personal challenges but at one point, I decided to try reading challenges as well, because…well, reading is as vital as eating isn’t it?
It turned out to be a really good decision, and it paid off well: before, I could never read more than 12 books a year. My highest record was 24 books last year. This year, in the space of two months, (as of today) I have read 42 books out of my GoodReads Reading Challenge of 50 books. And dayam does it feel good!
Anywho, here are the reasons why I love reading challenges, besides the obvious feeling of gratification I get when I complete a challenge.
Fun, Creative Challenges Are Fun
Seriously. They are. The more creative the challenge task is, the more fun and exciting it is to look for a book that will match the description, because you have to browse through all the amazing books waiting to be read and that alone is a fun activity in itself (after all, if we didn’t enjoy looking up new books, our to-reads list wouldn’t be constantly growing larger by the minute).
What constitutes as fun depends totally on you–I personally enjoy team challenges as they involve discussing books with other similar minded readers–and there are many, many types of challenges you can choose from. All you need is an internet connection and Google skills to find out what reading challenges are taking place and when–and let me tell you, reading challenges are always happening.
The Mighty, Daunting TBR List Is Not So Daunting
Speaking of the TBR List earlier…reading challenges are a great way to tackle that monster called The TBR List. This is usually because most reading challenges require you to read a certain number of books during a certain time–and many of them allow you to choose how many books you want to read in a given time. Either way, you end up picking up you reading pace or you adjust your schedule to squeeze in more books, and thus end up making that huge TBR list just a tad bit smaller.
The Discovery Of Undiscovered Gems
This is probably my favorite part of reading challenges. Many of my favorite books this year are those that I picked up only because a reading challenge required me to do so. So for me, those books were the undiscovered gems–and boy am I happy that discovered them.
There are many reading challenges out there that also push you to read underrated books and that, in my opinion, is brilliant. You see, more often than not, really well-written books end up missing the limelight because of bad marketing strategies and what not–or maybe simply because there are so many books being written and published all the time, that they sort of get lost among them. I can’t speak for others, but when I was not participating in reading challenges, I ended up mostly reading the popular titles. Only now do I realize all the amazing, not-so-famous titles I have missed out on.
The Forging of Unexpected Friendships
And here comes my second favorite part of reading challenges. As I said earlier, I prefer team challenges as they involve interacting with people, and the best thing about those challenges are the friendships you end up making. Like my best friend always says: “nothing builds true friendship like a shared love for reading”.
Do you enjoy reading challenges? If so, why? Share your thoughts in the comments below!