Goodreads challenge crisis! is a fun place to keep track of which books you've read and how much you like them, and also to get suggestions for new books to read based on what your virtual buddies enjoy. But I've ruined it by joining the Goodreads Challenge every year and making reading into a numbers game rather than a fun thing to do! It's harder and harder to enjoy the hell out of a book when you're thinking "I need to read x this month to make my goal" or "I am x books behind." Then we go into "Do audiobooks count? What if I read most of a book, but not all?"

Bibliomancy, I need your wise counsel. I am so caught up in reading more books than everyone else I know IRL (I know you guys kill it reading-wise) that I want to work up to 100 a year when I'm steadying out at 50-60 and beating their pants off anyway. Now my favorite pasttime is just a way to feel inadequate! And what if I want to read 1 Lorrie Moore short story one day and switch the next day to a couple of Flannerys, then read a stupid thriller, then try (and put down) a popular book that doesn't cut it for me? Also, seriously, I have to finish Les Mis for it to count?! I read half that mofo and it's 2000 pages in all and I deserve some credit but under my self-imposed rules I get none and it languishes on the "couldnt-finish" shelf.

Does anyone else participate in this challenge and find it stressful? Have any of you found a way to make it enjoyable or productive? Am I insane?



PS this guy knows what's up:


"The Reading Challenge encourages me to meet a yearly reading goal. Yes, thanks to Goodreads, I have totally turned my own reading into some kind of perverse commodity. I think twice about reading anything if it doesn't contribute to my abstract and totally meaningless Reading Challenge goal. Beta read your manuscript? That's valuable time I could be putting toward collecting more Goodreads brownie points! Disappear into that thousand-page epic novel? We can't do that, dude, it messes up the averages. I could fall behind schedule, committing to a long book like that. Are you crazy? Go outside? See people? I'M IN THE GOODREADS CHALLENGE HERE PEOPLE."