My Goodreads Challenge is Inaccurate, and That’s Okay

I set a Goodreads goal this year to read 60 books. In 2014 and 2015, I had a goal of 50 and exceeded it by a few, so last year it was truly a challenge, by not an unreachable one. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it because when I went to college my reading dropped off because I wasn’t spending too much time alone and I didn’t have to read many books for class (mostly short stories). This year I’m trying for 60 again and so far I’m a 40–2/3 of the way through, and 7 books ahead. And I haven’t finished a book in the past week. So what happened?

The short answer: school. My spring semester, unlike my fall one, I had to read a lot for class and many of it was books. On my Goodreads challenge, I have counted the following from my classes:

  • 7 novels, 2 nonfiction books, and 2 graphic memoirs for my literature classes
  • 2 books I read that were my choice but were wholly or partially written about for class (that’s Difficult Women and The Hate U Give)
  • 6 nonfiction books and more academic “textbooks” I had to read all or some of for other classes

Yes, you read that–“all or some of.” I counted books that I read most but not all of the chapters in it, so I didn’t read it all. BUT there’s also a lot that I read that couldn’t be counted on Goodreads–short stories, poems, articles, chapters from other books…I figure that makes up for the portions of “read” books I didn’t actually read.

And this has reminded me of something I need to remember: it isn’t all about what “counts.” I haven’t read many stories and poems in literary journals (online or print) because they don’t “count,” for instance, and that doesn’t help my writing goals. It also means I’m less likely to read longer or more difficult books and more likely to read shorter and quicker stories (though I confess that this time I picked up graphic novels and comics not for that reason).

Goodreads and its challenges are incredibly useful to me keeping track of things, but it isn’t everything, and I’m glad I’ve recognized that.

How do you use your Goodreads challenge or keep track of your reading?


Published by Olivia Anne Gennaro

Writer. Storyteller. Reporter. Podcaster. Nerd.

21 thoughts on “My Goodreads Challenge is Inaccurate, and That’s Okay

  1. Goals are always good to have, but they aren’t the be-all-or-end-all! Especially personal ones such as these. I think to have read that many is quite an achievement! – My reading consists of Julia Donaldson and Bedtime Tales for Kids haha, so you’re on a roll I’d say!


  2. I thought that I had to read a certain number of books (100 or more) to be “valid” in the community but I finally got rid of that ideology. My current GR goal is 20/25 books and I’ve surpassed that so i’m happy as can be! The only that should matter is the quality of the books, poems, short stories, etc. that you read. NOT the number! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I felt that way too and that is why I don’t do monthly wrap-ups because it felt like my reading was constrained to a month and I really read a book a week on average anyway

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally I don’t consider my good read challenge everything, I mean if I hit it awesome if not oh well… It sounds like goodreads is really good for you in the sense that you can mark down the books you’ve read for class.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I struggled to read books of my choice throughout university, was so swamped with work I had no time for my own reading, which sucked! Youv’e read an awesome amount so far though, far more than I have this year! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I only really use Goodreads’ reading challenge to keep track of how many books I read each year and how I rated them. And since I only read novels and no other forms of writing, my challenge is definitely up to date and accurate. But you’re totally right to count your school reading towards your goal too! You ARE reading it after all – even if not ALL of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re doing great either way!

    I’m actually going to be starting college classes next month and am a little worried about how it’s going to affect my reading. I’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck! Certainly take some time to adjust to both school and hanging out with friends; sometimes it can be difficult to find time for yourself and a solitary activity like reading, but you can always make time for it. I suggest reading stuff that’s quite different from your classwork so it feels like a true break


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