Let’s Discuss: Reading Challenges – Pros vs Cons

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Considering how a lot of book bloggers (and even people in general) choose to participate in reading challenges, I thought it would be fun to discuss the pros and cons of doing so! (Disclaimer: I’m a mood reader so I don’t participate in reading challenges that often. Also, these are just my personal opinions so feel free to agree/disagree with me.)

The Pros

  1. I’m forced to take risks. In order to “win” a challenge like Bookish Bingo, I have to seek out books I might not usually read or expect to enjoy. I’ve actually had some success with this and discovered some 5-star reads. I even ended up reading some Historical Fiction – a genre I usually avoid because I find history boring for the most part. As a result of taking risks, I read a wider variety of books. This is different from taking risks because this means reading books that are already on my tbr but are yet unread because they were published a few years ago. These days I prioritize new releases and/r books that’ve been published up-to a year ago. This is because I want my reviews to be relevant, I get caught up in the book hype online and I want to be able to discuss these books with other bloggers (who have probably read them).
  2. Reading challenges (like the Banned Books Challenge) can help bring attention to under-appreciated books. Even though I haven’t tried the Banned Books Challenge yet, I know that reading banned books is probably fun because they’re interesting (and I mean the books were banned). 
  3. Some challenges help conquer the TBR pile. The TBR pile challenges encourages readers to read more books already on your tbr. I think this is great but I’m already chipping away at my TBR so I don’t really think I need a reading challenge to do that.
  4. Sometimes challenges help encourage you to read more diverse books. Diversity in literature is very important and as a POC myself, I’ve been pleased to see more books (2015 debuts included) by and featuring people of color.

The Cons

  1. Reading challenges can be harder for mood readers. In fact, I don’t like challenges that whittle down your options for what you can read because I don’t like being constrained. I want to have the power to pick and choose what I read – which is why I love the Goodreads Reading Challenge. My goal is to read 250 books this year but I’m actually trying not to take myself too seriously with this challenge and I’m just using it as a way to track how many books I read.
  2. Some challenges add more books to my TBR pile. Technically it’s a good thing when you discover more great books but when I’ve already got so many books on my tbr…well maybe I don’t need to join a challenge that means adding 20 more books that revolve around a particular theme!
  3. They can put you in a reading slump. In the past, my reading slumps have happened because I’ve been reading too much. Reading challenges can make me into an obsessive reader who only cares about the number of books I’ve read and not about the experience. And that means, reading isn’t fun anymore…it’s stressful! 

But in the end, reading, like all good things, should be done in moderation. So if you are going to participate in a reading challenge – make sure your #1 goal is to HAVE FUN and the rest will fall into place (…the stars will align and the book gods will… okay you get the idea!).

So what do you think? Do you agree with me? Disagree with me? Let me know in the comments!