Part the First: Goodreads, yay or nay?
If you’re on Goodreads, or used to be, or are thinking about it, I’d be interested in what you think of it. As I mentioned in my last post (Me Versus My To-Read Shelf), I’ve been challenging myself to read more by posting a Goodreads reading goal for the last three years. It’s a great system of public accountability for me, and it turns out that fear of humiliation is an excellent motivator for me.
I also enjoy reading my Goodreads’ friends ratings and reviews of books, and getting their comments on mine. And if I’m considering a book, I’m more likely to believe Goodreads reviews than, say, Amazon’s. Because frankly, any old schmo can review on Amazon, and the people on Goodreads tend to be more serious readers. (Okay, not always.) Plus you can follow authors, and see their posts on certain topics, so that’s cool. I might not be getting everything possible out of the platform, but I’m not sure what else I’d really want.
In short, my overall impression is that it’s fun, and it doesn’t take a lot of upkeep. So if you aren’t on yet, give it a try. And if you are on it, come be my Goodreads friend!
Part the Second: What’s up with those high Goodreads challenges?
When I first started on Goodreads, I felt like a loser newb for setting my reading goal at only 20. It seemed so low! The statistics Goodreads showed at that time indicated that the AVERAGE goal was somewhere around 60 books (I don’t remember exactly). SIXTY BOOKS. Wow. That means a ton of people set goals much higher than that. That is crazy beans.
But this year I noticed that Goodreads shows the completion statistics for the challenge too. That’s the banner at the top of this section. Again, we see 61 books on average. How intimidating!
However, I calculated two statistics it doesn’t show. How many books were actually read, on average (given the total books finished and the number of participants)?
And what percentage of participants completed their goals?
Wow. That’s terrible! That’s worse than the success rate for NaNoWriMo! Whew!
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not happy that other people failed. But my guess is that the average number of books pledged appears to be so high because a lot of people either radically overestimate how much they can read in one year (70+ is a lot, my friend) or because a lot of people set their challenges and then don’t bother to come back. This makes me feel relieved, that my more modest goal isn’t a sign of being a loser newb, but a sign of setting realistic goals that I’m more likely to achieve.
And I’m pretty confident that I can, because I’m pacing myself. To summarize from the last post, in 2016, I pledged 20 books and read 23. In 2017, I pledged 30 books and read 35. And in 2018, I pledged 40 books and read 60! I’m positive that setting the Goodreads reading challenge goal–and having it be publicly on view online–helped motivate me to read more than I otherwise would have. (Side note for those who didn’t read the previous post: this year’s 60 was seriously pushing it for the last 5 or so books, and motivated by a desperate attempt to read more books than I’d acquired.)
For 2019, I’ve set my goal at 45. I’m still debating whether to raise it to 50, but I don’t want to push myself to read at the expense of writing, and I didn’t get nearly as much writing done in 2018 as I wanted to.
Extra bonus part: Your turn
Do you have a reading goal for 2019? Having reading goals helped you in the past? I’d love to hear about it!