For several years I have been participating in lots of reading challenges. I scaled back a little this year, but I still did quite a few, plus a goal for total number of books read, and an ongoing challenge or four.
I have decided that 2017 is going to be the year of no challenges.
For the first few years the challenges were good. They pulled me out of my box and got me reading different things. I broadened my taste and regained the ability--after the mommy years--to read hard books. I read some things that I wanted to read, but had put off.
This year, the challenges felt like a straight-jacket. They have started to take away my enjoyment of what has been my favorite pastime since I was a small child. Part of it is that I have read a good portion of the books that everyone is "supposed to read." I have developed a pretty broad taste in books, and so I end up with a lot of things that I want to read that don't fit any challenge. When I go through stressful times and just want brain candy, it stresses me out that those books don't fit my challenges.
And, as a fairly well-read woman of 50+ years, I no longer feel like I need to prove anything, even to myself. So the coming year is my year to read for the pure joy of it again.
I am going to post a couple of suggested reading lists that I will check off if I read the books. One will be a selection of the 2016 Goodreads Choice winners. I have found these books to be almost universally enjoyable. But this isn't a "read-ten-of-these list." It's a "these-books-look-good" list. I will keep a list of everything I read, but only because that has been an enjoyable thing. (As well as being useful!)
I will continue with the ongoing multi-year challenges, but only if they incidentally work with the books I'm reading. (I do have a few must-read books that I still must read: Les Miserables, Don Quixote, War and Peace. . . .
Reading shouldn't feel like one more chore to finish.