Monday, January 6, 2014

This year I have decided to take an step back on something pretty common in the blogging community, Reading Challenges. Don't get me wrong, I think these are seriously AWESOME!!! They are fun to participate in! They bring you out of your reading comfort zone and get you into new and exciting books. I am all for that. But I have a very specific reason for deciding not to sign up for any challenges this time around.

Exhibit A: My Goodreads Challenges from the past two years

Congrats! You have completed your goal of reading 125 books for the 2012 Reading Challenge!
view books »
Congrats! You have completed your goal of reading 64 books for the 2013 Reading Challenge!

Upon examination we see that 2012 was a fantastic reading year for me! 131 books! Holy CRAP! It still boggles my mind. But then if we look at the 2013 reading challenge there is a significant difference there. 64 books. SIXTY-FOUR. That's a 67 book difference, and not in the best way.

I know why that happened too. I spent a few months barely reading anything. I had slumps that made me not want to read. The first half of the year was just not very strong as far as reading goes. But my reading world took off that last half of the year, sure there were still mini-slumps but I was still READING and loving a lot of the things I read. And most importantly I was reading what I WANTED to read.

But half a year can mess things up quite a bit. The most important thing I learned from my 2013 reading year was not to stress about the books to read! Yes there are ARCs and tours to get ready for, but plan ahead and do it when you feel like it so it's not horrible. Read what you WANT!! It's so awesome to come away from a book feeling empowered and happy because you just loved it!

Now, how does this work in regard to reading challenges? Well, what's a reading challenge? Usually a goal centered around a certain topic/theme in the book world. Yes? It could be a sequels challenge, or a debut author challenge, or a paranormal creature challenge. ANYTHING. And while these are fine...they can be hard. Say you're reading what you want and December comes and what you want hasn't met any of those challenges?! (Okay that's a long shot but roll with it) Well sucks for you! Now to accomplish them you have to push yourself to read books you may or may not want to read with a time limit.

That's kind of a worst-case scenario, but for me, after my rough reading year in 2013 it all comes down to the fact that I really want to just step back and read. I want to read books that have been sitting on my shelves FOREVER. I want to read new books that I am super psyched for! I DO want to branch out into more genres of fiction! But I don't want to commit to anything that might come back to haunt me later. For 2014 at least I want to enjoy reading and blow myself out of the water by reading so many awesome books.

For that reason, I AM participating in the Goodreads challenge. I hope to read 100 books this year. But the difference with this challenge? I can read whatever I want, and still push myself to a challenge. And then throughout the year if I want, I can set mini-challenges for myself based on circumstance and whatnot. It's a personal win-win!

So I hope you all have your own fantastic reading year! If you're doing challenges YOU ROCK! Have fun with them. XOXO,


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