My 2017 Reading Challenge and Using Goodreads to Keep it Fun
Every year I set at least one goal/resolution for myself. Big surprise, it’s to read more — or at least read! Each year since before I can remember, I have set a reading goal for myself, and while in the beginning when I was still in school, it was very low and only included pleasure reading (even if some of my history texts were pleasurable), I have incrementally increased my goal every year since. This year I’ve set a goal of reading 115 full length books, up from 2016’s goal of 110, a goal I feel that I barely eked out, thanks to lots of life events that prevented me reading as much as I would have liked.
Back in the dark ages, I used to keep my lists by hand, and track the titles, authors, pages, etc. of all my books each year, but would end up inevitably losing or misplacing my notepad and having to try to guess and try to reconstruct my list or just plain make something up. That’s when I found Goodreads. Now, I am sure most of you are familiar with Goodreads as it’s been the most popular social network for readers and books for years, and even more so now that it has been acquired by Amazon, so I won’t get into the details. Just what I like about a feature I surprisingly did not know about until recently to help me decide what to read next since that’s always a problem for me!
WHAT TO READ?!?
So if you’re like me, you are always on the lookout for new books and something new to read and always seem to have a never-ending pile or backlog of books on your “Want to Read” list. I can’t resist bookstores or the free and reduced e-book lists out there for Kindle. My favorites right now are BookGorilla (an email subscription for free and reduced books based on your genre preferences) and AtoZWire (scroll their list for the daily free Kindle deals). Unfortunately(?) this has left me with a “to read” list of over 1450 books!!
My biggest problem was trying to remember what I had, and then deciding what to read next. I know there are always some books I will gravitate to, like superhero graphic novels (MARVEL!) or Star Wars books, but after reading something great, I struggle to find something new, or just in general I might want something new and different. This is where I found a neat trick to keep myself guessing.
GETTING YOUR LIST TOGETHER
One of the great things about the merging of Goodreads with Amazon (though I miss Shelfari a little bit) is the ability to add your Amazon purchases to your Goodreads account. It is also very simple, if you know where to look. After logging into Goodreads, click on the “My Books” link on the top banner. Mine is set to show me my “To Read” list, but it doesn’t matter what yours shows, you can still find the “Tools” on the left hand side of your screen. Make sure you scroll down the list to the bottom and you’ll see the link to “Add Amazon book purchases.” Click on that link and give the next page a little time to load and you’ll see all the book (print and Kindle) purchases you have made! Under each, there’s a button and you can automatically add these to your “Want to Read” list! Don’t want to add something?? there’s an option for that too! This comes in handy at the next step in your surprise reading…
Now the fun can begin… Jump to your “To Read” list and scroll all the way to the bottom. There you will see a spot where you can sort your newly padded list. The default from Goodreads is to show you 20 titles sorted by Date Added in descending order. So in other words, the newest book will be added to the top of the list and everything else bumped down one. (but you knew that.) All you need to do to give yourself a surprise next-to-read is click on the “sort” and choose “Random” like so:
Ascending and descending order doesn’t matter here and you can display as many titles as you like. Now, each time you refresh, you will have a totally different list each time! Here’s what I got for my test list for this post:
When I ran it a second time (F5 or refresh), I got this:
Two completely different lists! SURPRISE!! Now, you can pick and choose what you like from this first page, or what I have chosen to do is just take the top book on the list when I am ready. So, I’ll finish Inferno, which I’m currently reading, and unless there is something I need to read, I will jump to my “To Read” list and take what Goodreads gives me!
I find this to be a big help, since I end up finding that I can’t stick to other reading suggestions or challenges that ask you to read certain books from certain categories, like the 52 book challenges you can find online. Even though my personal goal is nearly double that, I can’t force myself to read something I am not interested in, there’s too much I am interested in out there, and I will always fall short on those.
Hopefully this little trick can help you find, or rediscover some of those “lost books” in your kindle or on your shelf that you forgot you were once interested in. I know that since I found this out myself, I have read some very fun books (and some not so fun ones), but always something I know that I wanted to read — even if it was three years ago!
Let me know your challenge for yourself, if you have one! If you would like to follow along with my reading on Goodreads, you can find my profile here. Please feel free to follow me or send a friend request.
If you’re interested in my past reading goals and summaries: