The Secret to Beating the 2015 Goodreads Challenge

Are you tempted by the Goodreads Challenge?  Shamed by your friends bragging about all the books they’ve read?  Or say they’ve read?  Worried that your dog or cat may be injured when your TBR piles topple over?

Well, there’s a secret to winning the Goodreads Challenge that I can share with you: Don’t take it.

The whole idea is totally flawed. Why should you set yourself up for failure like so many people do? They think the Challenge will make them better readers, people, parents, citizens, whatever — and they end up feeling miserable when they don’t reach their goal.

Book reading should be pleasurable, not a chore, not rock climbing or an algebra test or a weekend with your in-laws.  Why should it matter how many books you read?  Why should you or anyone else care?  Isn’t the enjoyment you get from a particular book more important?  The places it takes you, the excitement or reveries it stirs, the things it makes you want to share and talk about with friends?

But if you do feel compelled to take the Challenge out of envy or morbid curiosity or boredom or whatever, here’s how to beat it: Get sick or have surgery.

When I had a root canal last Fall and spent 72 hours in bed afterwards I read three books that weekend and loved each one: The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig, Under the Channel by Gilles Pétel, and Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub. A literary novel, a mystery, and history. I also started a fourth book, Elmore Leonard’s Be Cool. That’s way above my weekend average.

And when I had reconstructive hand surgery more recently I read two books in the Game of Thrones series: A Clash of Kings (which I had already begun) and A Storm of Swords.  I clocked 2000 new pages. True, the Percocet I took for pain did make me hallucinate a bit, but I relished the books just the same.

So think how much reading you could accomplish with a really bad case of the flu or a nose job that you have to hide from your friends. The possibilities are endless.

Happy reading!

Lev Raphael is the author of 25 books in genres from memoir to mystery which you can find on Amazon.

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