Reading For Pleasure, Not Numbers

In January I gave up on a book, in February I unhauled over 60 books, and now I’ve come to a further momentous decision.

In 2015, my reading was largely dictated by the 2015 Reading Challenge. I attempted to read 52 books in 50 categories but ultimately failed, completing 40/50 criteria despite reading 57 books.

I’m conflicted over this fact. On one hand I read books I would otherwise may never have read: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and Grey by E.L. James to name but a few. Whilst I could have quite happily lived without reading Grey – and probably should have done – and A Clash of Kings, which fulfilled the criteria for A book at the bottom of your to-read list (not exactly the reason I want to read a 900 page book for), it also meant I discovered books that hopefully will have a lifelong impact on me.

On reflection, my main failure last year wasn’t in the numbers, it was in the reasoning: I was so consumed with reading to tick off categories – who wants to read A book with bad reviews or A book more than 100 years old if neither prompt interests you? – that I largely neglected reading for pleasure.

Sometimes there is method in the madness
Sometimes there is method in the madness

I primarily enjoyed participating in the 2015 challenge, but the motive for my change of heart is the restrictiveness of the 2016 Reading Challenge: there are just too many similar criteria that I couldn’t be less interested in – A book written by a celebrity, A political memoir and A book written by a comedian are all incredibly narrow, yet overlapping categories.

I don’t want to spend 2016 in the same manner as I spent large parts of 2015, worrying about which book is going to tick off which category. That’s an additional stress in my life that I can do without. It is for that reason that I am no longer going to attempt to plan my year of reading on the basis of fulfilling categories, but instead I’m going to read what I want when I want (with the odd university book thrown in here and there), and if my chosen novels/autobiographies/comics/picture books happen to tick off a criteria then it’s a bonus.

Let the reading for pleasure commence!

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4 thoughts on “Reading For Pleasure, Not Numbers

  1. I always wanted to try a reading challenge where you have categories you need to check off, but I’m afraid of that happening to me, I’m not reading what I want to read anymore. The positive that came out of it was that you got to read things you wouldn’t have otherwise, which is good! 🙂

    1. I don’t regret doing it last year (i.e. once) but I think since then it’s been warping my mindset somewhat, and restricting my reading. Maybe do a Summer Reading Challenge, with say 10 categories over 3 months – short and sweet 🙂

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