Reading challenges get a lot of criticism. I frequently see and hear the question, “Isn’t the joy of reading enough?” For many readers, it is, but sometimes readers struggle or need a change in their reading life. Even if you’re happy with what you’re reading, there are still a lot of good of good reasons to do a reading challenge.
I started taking part in the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge several years ago and found that I loved it. This year I’m actually doing two. One is kind of a DIY challenge, where I put together my favorite categories from past MMD challenges. The other is from a Facebook group I’m part of, called Eating Our Words. I also set a yearly book goal on Goodreads. These challenges have been great for me!
Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking part in a reading challenge.
1. Expand your horizons
Sometimes I get stuck in a reading rut. Maybe it’s too many books in one genre. Maybe it’s tons of light reading instead of deep books, or maybe it’s reading mediocre books instead of great books. Reading challenges expand my horizons and point me to genres or authors I might never consider otherwise.
2. Set goals
I’m a goal setter when it comes to reading. I find that it keeps me motivated and makes me read more. Some of my goals for this year are to read more classics, catch up on the backlist of some favorite authors, and read more nonfiction. You’ll see those picks filling a lot of my reading challenge categories.
3. Help choosing your next book
My TBR list is overwhelming—300+ books on Goodreads, to be exact, and it’s growing all the time. I read an average of 55-65 books a year, so picking books from my list can be a little overwhelming. Sometimes filling a slot in a reading challenge is the perfect motivation to finally pick up a book from my TBR pile.
4. The feeing of accomplishment
Y’all, I am a planner and a list maker. Yes, I’m that person who will add something I’ve already done to my list just so I can check it off. I love the satisfaction I get when I check off another category from my list.
Do you ever look at back at your reading and realize you’re losing focus? Maybe you want to read more classics, but you’ve been reading mostly new releases. Or maybe you’re reading serious books when you really love humor. When you read widely, it gets even more difficult to focus because there’s just so much to choose from. A reading challenge helps me focus in on what I need or want to read most.
6. Tracking your reading
If you don’t already track your reading, a challenge is a great way to start. For me, looking back at my trends each year is fun. Seeing what I’ve read also helps me plan and make changes to my reading life, if needed.
Have you ever done a reading challenge? Do you like them? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!