We are just a few weeks away from the year 2022. It is a time to take account of the year that has been. A time to start planning for the new year, setting up new goals.
If you are a bibliophile like me, it is also a time to check out how your reading has been over the year. And of course, scouting for the new reading challenges.
It is often argued that reading challenges kill the joy of reading. That it becomes all one big race or competition with little to do with the joy of reading. I completely disagree with that school of thought. Done right, reading challenges are an excellent way to push your boundaries. To grow as a reader.
How do I balance the reading challenges with the joy of reading? I share my tips and experiences that can help you make them more enjoyable.
Reading is not a race
First things first. A book is not a number. You are doing a great disservice to both the author and you as a reader for treating it as one.
Reading a book should bring you joy, it should be an enriching experience. If all it boils down to is adding a number to the list, is it really worth it? The need to read x number of books even if it means skimming through most of them? Is that reading for pleasure?
Reading is not a chore
I read every day. Belonging to a family of voracious readers, it is a habit inculcated in me as a child. Even if my day ends beyond midnight, I need to read at least a few pages to wind down. But it is not a chore for me.
We all read for different reasons. If you are picking up a book just because you need to and not because you want to, it is best to take a step back.
Setting a reasonable target
As much as I would like to curl up with a book all day, I am well aware that I have other responsibilities too. Setting up a target to read 100 books in a year is all too tempting. But is it worth the stress that comes with it?
Trust me, I am all up for challenges. But one needs to pick one’s battles. Setting up a huge target and spending stressful hours mulling over it is not my cup of tea. I rather choose a challenge that pushes me out of my comfort zone, and one that helps me to pick up diverse reads.
Another advantage is that I don’t feel the need to pick up shorter books all the time to amp up the score. I have nothing against short reads and in fact, enjoy them. Lately, I have shared quite a few recommendations too.
Setting up a reasonable target just makes the reading experience more enjoyable. And who says I only need to limit myself to it.
Choosing the right book
There are books and there are books. We all have our favorite genres. And there is always a right time to pick a book. The Holiday season is in full swing these days and my reading time is pretty limited. A saturated brain cannot process non-fiction and I often pick up light books during these months.
We all want to read that latest bestseller everyone is talking about. Pick it up by all means. But don’t do so because you feel pressured to. Always pick the books you actually want to read.
Choosing the right reading challenge
There are different types of reading challenges, each to suit the type of reader. I particularly enjoy the Reading Women Challenge. Blogchatter’s #TBRChallenge is a given.
Pick a challenge that works for you. By all means, create your own reading challenge. Decide on the type of books you want to read. That is something I do each year, cherry-picking from challenges on offer.
If you are new to reading challenges, start small. Every month has a reading challenge going on. Black History Month in February, women authors in March, and so on.
Focusing on diverse reads instead
Instead of reading x number of books, I focus on making my reading more diverse. Trying out new genres. This year, I picked up middle-grade books that I often avoid and truly enjoyed them.
DNF books that are not working
A golden rule I follow is to put a book on the backburner if it is not working for me. As much as it is tempting to strike off another book on the list, it is not worth reading a book I am struggling with. Not to mention the reader’s block that often results due to it. Been there, done that.
Taking a break
Life happens. Sometimes it is not possible to pick a book with all that is going on around you. Stop feeling guilty for taking a break.
And have you ever felt guilty for catching up on the Netflix series, when you should have been reading instead? If you have, it is time to stop and decide… has reading become a chore?
It is okay to not reach your goal
Hear me out on this. As much as we all hate failing, it is perfectly okay to fall back on or not reach the reading challenge goal. It is okay to let other things take priority. Just treat it as a lesson to set up wiser goals next time.
A few years back, I went all out signing up for reading challenges. Some I completed successfully, and some I failed spectacularly. Not to mention the stress that came with it before I decided to chuck it all. Lesson learned.
Reading Challenges Vs The Joy Of Reading: Finding The Right Balance #BookChatter #TBRChallenge @blogchatter #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Did you sign up for reading challenge(s) this year? How do you balance them with the joy of reading? Do share in the comments below.
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