Those of you who are avid readers will probably have heard of the social book-categorising website and app known as Goodreads, where users can rate books, leave reviews, create lists, browse recommendations and much more. It is a brilliant method to stumble across your next best award-winning read, or even to simply stalk the activities of your favourite authors. I went a little bit over-board though (my to-read list now stands at 9209 books).
One brilliant feature of Goodreads is that it allows you to set a yearly reading challenge. As my reading time is something I definitely want to improve upon in 2017, this tool is simply perfect. You can add the book you’re currently reading and date it appropriately, and when you’re finished, you have the option to leave your thoughts as a review and rate your read accordingly. You can assess whether your progress on your overall reading challenge is on track or behind/ahead of schedule. On the app version you can even compare the status of your reading challenge to those of your friends’, stimulating that inner-competitive nature we all have. Maybe.
I have set my reading challenge for 100 books to read in 2017. The thing is, I used to read regularly, and by regularly, I mean every waking second. While the other kids at school were playing Temple Run on their phones under the desks in lessons, I was sneaking open the next page of my book while the teacher wasn’t looking. But over the years due to exams and a long phase of life, my reading consumption has vastly decreased – and we all know to be a good writer one must also be a good reader, or at least, a regular one.
I set my challenge last year for 100 books too, though by the end of the year I read only 50 books. While I didn’t achieve my target, I did create something of a habit which is essential for the literary field. Now I try to read and write a little every day to build up that habit, because as Gandhi said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
This year I want to do great things. For starters, I want to become a better writer, I want to get published traditionally and finish more of the many projects I abandoned at the early stages last year. Reading and writing are symbiotically empowering, and setting smaller goals will allow me to track my progress and provide a long-term source of motivation. After all, it’s the little actions that make the habit, and create our destiny.
Fellow readers and writers alike, I implore you to consider reading more books this year (actually, everyone should read more books this year and every year), and I highly recommend Goodreads as a platform for you to organise your reading patterns. Monitoring your progress can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, it can motivate you to see how far you’ve come when you look back at where you started in the beginning of 2017.
And it gives you no excuse.