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Where has the time gone? It really flies when you’re sitting in your house all day, and it sometimes feels like I’ve been living the same day over and over again. In terms of reading, there’s been some ups and downs. Today we’re going to talk about whether I’ve been keeping up with my Goodreads challenge for 2020 at roughly the halfway point.
I decided to skip my post about my reading goals that I wrote at the beginning of the year. It’s not super relevant now by the time I’ve finally launched my blog, so let’s jump right into where I am now. I set my Goodreads goal for 20 books this year, which is seemed like an appropriate number to pick for 2020. It’s a challenge compared to how much I read last year, but it’s something that I thought (and still think!) is totally achievable. I didn’t have any goals specific to genres, page counts, or anything like that. To me, any reading is good reading, and I want to be more consistent. I have a wrap-up of my 2019 reading too, in case you’re interested in how that went.
How my challenge has gone so far
I had to cut myself off in terms of this post at some point, so I’ve decided that today’s the day. As of June 10th, I’ve read seven books. According to Goodreads, that puts me one book behind on my challenge. Woo! I do admit it’s not always great having to see that I’m one or two books behind, but that’s also a matter of perspective. I’ve read seven books this year already, which of course is a lot better than nothing! I enjoy all the time I spend reading; it’s exactly the joy that I was hoping to find again after losing it for a few years.
When I chose 20 books for this year, I had no idea whether or not this was a reasonable goal. Obviously, no one could have predicted what this year has turned into, and it is more than okay if you’ve had to adjust your plans in pretty much every area of your life. As of right now, I am still sticking with my 20 book goal, but I’m not going to disappointed if I don’t get there.
For me, it’s more about reforming the habit of reading and enjoying some great books than some statistics for a challenge. After all, this is my first year where reading is purely for enjoyment and not for homework! I’ve realized there are a lot of factors that have been affecting my whole reading mood. Some things have made it easier to keep pace with my goal, and some things have made it a lot harder!
What has helped
There are a few common themes that I’ve picked up on that I think have helped me to be successful with reading so far. Some of them are unique to my situation and I know everyone is different. Consider these as some ideas for getting started. Maybe this is the exact opposite of what’s helpful for you!
- Making books a priority. This means that I sometimes have to prioritize reading over watching YouTube videos. There will always be more videos to watch, so at some point, I just have to choose. That is how I spend a lot of my downtime, but reading can be a relaxing activity for me too. If you’re trying to get more reading in, try swapping an hour of your usual activity of choice for a few chapters of your current book.
- Early-morning reading on the weekends. Lately, I’ve been having trouble sleeping in on the weekends no matter how badly I may want to. Thanks to anxious, racing thoughts and other fun things, it can be hard to fall back asleep once I’m up. I check my phone for a few minutes, and then I get some peaceful reading time. At some point, my boyfriend wakes up, and we start the day.
- Picking books I enjoy! Screw the plans! Sometimes I just have to go with what seems most exciting at the time. If I’m really interested, it’s much easier for me to choose reading over some other self-care activities.
- Mixing it up. I’m not going with any specific theme here. I go back and forth between fiction and non-fiction. I feel like I’m still in the process of figuring out my ~reading taste as an adult~ so I’m not holding myself to any standards. If you’re in a rut, maybe it’d be helpful to try something totally new just to see if you like it.
- Reading outside! I made my balcony cute for a reason – so I’d want to spend more time outside. I’m taking full advantage of the weather between ‘warm enough to sit outside comfortably’ and ‘break a sweat by just sitting there’. Our balcony gets a lot of direct sun in the afternoon, so on really sunny days, it’s hard to use my laptop because of the glare. This basically forces me to read, because there’s no glare in a book!
- Watching more booktube videos. Contrary to the other point, I’ve been finding more reading channels. It helps me to find new books to add to my TBR, and it’s fun to hear about what other people are enjoying. Plus a lot of these people are really prolific readers! If they can finish 10 books in a month, surely I can manage two.
What hasn’t helped
I realized that some small things were slowing me down, in addition to the one big, scary thing. But slowing down isn’t always a bad thing. It gave me time to reflect, adapt, process, and grieve (and watch hours of TikTok compilations when I needed to laugh). From a purely ‘completing my Goodreads challenge’ perspective, they were obstacles that slowed me down. My life doesn’t revolve around that challenge, so these things don’t indicate that I’m failing. They’re me, living as a person, going through some shit, and just trying to deal with it in the best way that I can.
- Super long books. I started two series where all the books are 500+ pages. That’s great when they’re on their own but it’s not ideal when you’re also trying to hit a goal for the number of books read. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on them entirely, but I am alternating them with some shorter books so I don’t completely fall behind on my challenge.
- Quarantine! There was a time when everything was so fresh. I was just shocked for about a month. I was learning how to function in this new situation, so any reading consistency went out the window. But that’s okay. I didn’t get discouraged by seeing people with stacks of finished books. I focused on my mood every day and what sounded best at the time. If I felt like reading that day, great! If not, there are plenty of other fun things to do. I knew that it would take a while to adjust, but my desire to read would come back. And it has! I finished Wow, no thank you. by Samantha Irby in about a week, and that’s probably the fastest I’ve read a book all year. Things are happening in waves, and as much as I want to resist that, I’ve learned it’s easier if I just go with the flow.
- Animal Crossing! While it’s been a great thing for my mental health (I’m sure I’m not alone in that), it does suck up a lot of time that could be spent reading. Would I go back and change all those hours? Hell no! I love my island and there’s room for both activities in my ample free time.
The books I’ve finished so far
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – 4 stars
This one really kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m not well-versed in YA sci-fi, but I thought it was good! I was genuinely creeped out at some points, and I didn’t see any of the plot twists coming. There was a good amount of world building, and I’m interested to see how that comes into play for the rest of the series.
The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff – 3 stars
Not gonna lie, this was a bit of a disappointment. I remember the first book, The Tao of Pooh, being so sweet and one of my favorites in high school. This seemed like a way to push the author’s beliefs under a thin veil of Pooh-isms. I was downright offended when Hoff suggested that people who are ‘Eeyores’ are bad! No Eeyore hate will be tolerated here.
Recursion by Blake Crouch – 5 stars
Of all the books I’ve read so far this year, this is the one I want to reread the most. It had so many twists and turns, and I think I would definitely understand it a lot better the second time around.
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson – 5 stars
The start of a beautiful saga. Red Mars is full of intricate descriptions of the journey to and life on Mars. It chronicles The First Hundreds’ trip, colonization, and the start of society on Mars. I love all of the characters, and I know the technology is probably a bit dated at this point, but I loved it so much.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe – 5 stars
If you like the Headspace app, you’re going to love this book. Andy mixes meditation techniques and explanations with stories from his time as a monk in various monasteries. It felt very familiar since I’ve been using Headspace for almost two years, but I still got a lot out of this new format for meditation lessons.
Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby – 5 stars
The number of times I cackled reading this book. While I can’t relate (yet) to some of the various bodily decay that Samantha describes, I relate immensely to her desire to avoid going out in social situations. She keeps things very real and her honesty was both refreshing and hilarious.
The One by John Marrs – 4 stars
I wasn’t sure about my expectations for reading this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. In an alternate universe where a DNA test can match you with your ultimate soul mate, The One follows five people in the time after being Matched. It was a thrilling read that constantly offered new surprises.
So that’s the status of my Goodreads Challenge for 2020 halfway through the year! Considering all that’s happened so far, I really can’t complain. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. To keep up to date with my current books, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads!
How is your Goodreads challenge going? Maybe that’s not how you measure your reading progress, or maybe you don’t measure it at all! Let me know how your reading has been going in 2020, I’d love to hear about it!