Wednesday 30 December 2020

Seriously Reducing My Goodreads Challenge Goal Because 2020

(Warning: this post discusses mental health problems, specifically Depression and Anxiety, and references Covid and the dumpster fire of 2020)

'Seriously Reducing My Goodreads Challenge Goal Because 2020' against a background of decorative shelved books that I would very much like to own

For those unaware: there is a website called Goodreads. It's like social media for books, basically. 

(Before you ask, my Goodreads account is private.)

And every year it encourages people to set a target number of books to read that year - the Goodreads (GR) challenge.

(It would be cynical to point out that Goodreads is owned by Amazon, and therefore may have a monetary incentive for encouraging people to consume vast quantities of book. 

Corporations can create unintended social benefits - in this case encouraging literacy - despite what their motives may or may not be.)

For the past several years, my goal for the Goodreads challenge has been either 200 or 210 books. 

This is roughly the rate I usually read at, with enough of a 'challenge' in there to mean I can push myself a little.

(Although I admit I pad it out with single-issue comics and single-page poems. If it's in the Goodreads database, then I'm counting it damn it!)

Related Post: 7 Hacks For Completing The Goodreads Challenge In the Final Days

This year, though?

This year has been 2020.

I had mental health problems prior to this year. (If you've read this blog before, you'll know that.) Add the 2020-ness to the mix? It's not exactly easy.

(This is the part where I remind you that I am neither a mental health, nor a medical, professional. Just a chick with personal experience of Depression and Anxiety.)

The thing about Depression and Anxiety is that they actually f**k up your mental processes: memory, concentration, and the processing of information, can be impaired.

And for yours truly they often are, especially on Bad mental health days.

Cue 2020.

Which means that while I'm spending exactly the same amount of time reading as I normally do, I'm reading considerably fewer books.

Girl lying in bed surrounded by open books which are turning pages in that speeded-up slow-mo type thing. I realise that was an awkward description. I can't think of a better one.
Via Giphy

Because I get distracted more often while reading, or forget character or plot details and have to go back a few pages and check. 

But more than that - I'm thinking more slowly. I can literally feel myself thinking more slowly, like normally my brain works like an F1 car, and I've been demoted to one of those kiddies' ride-on things.

...It's frustrating. Very, very, frustrating.

...Like, it's hard to explain to people who've never been through this sh** just how frustrating it is.

So, 2020 has broken my brain - to the extent that I've reduced my challenge to 100 books; which I may or may not achieve.

Which I understand is still a lot of books!

But it's also scary to me - because it shows just how badly 2020 and my mental health is affecting my day-to-day functioning, and ability to think. It's literally more than halved my reading speed.

I've had mental health problems for 8ish years, I've done the Goodreads challenge for 7ish - I've never had to reduce my goal this drastically.

And it's the kind of cr*p that catches me in a negative feedback loop of the 'you can't even do this' kind.

Which is b*llsh**. I know it's b*llsh**. But my brain disagrees and insists I must think about it.

What I need to keep reminding myself though, is this:


We are, all of us, doing exceptionally well to function at all given the circumstances.

And a special shout out to those nerdlets who, like me, are struggling with mental health issues during all this - you are all rockstars. I promise.

So yeah, 100 books in a global pandemic?

F**k it, I'm amazing! (...maybe.)

Do you do the GR challenge?

Have you struggled to read as much as you usually do in 2020?

What's your aim for 2021?

Talk to me! 😘💬

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Seriously Reducing My Goodreads Challenge Goal Because 2020


  1. Whether you read 20 books or 200 books, just being able to concentrate on a book during this year is an accomplishment, Cee! You should absolutely not beat yourself up over this. For me, I've had to reduce my reading to just strictly "happy" books, because my mental health cannot handle anything remotely sad or scary. This year has changed how we consume media. There's nothing wrong with that.

    1. Thanks Em! :) I've always been a mood reader tbh, although I rarely read much that's purely happy, because it paradoxically tends to make me sad (I know it's weird, I've decided just to accept it!) Good on you for picking material that's good for your mental health though Em! That's awesome! :) <3


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