End of the Year Reading Blues

I’m behind on my Goodreads reading goal this year. Yet again.

According to Goodreads, and they don’t soften the blow, I am currently 29 books behind. OOPS.


And this happens every year — well before Goodreads had this little widget. Back in the day when I just made goals for myself on a spreadsheet. I always fall short. Maybe it’s my goal making abilities and I need to aim lower.

And so then I think OKAY MAYBE IF I STOP LIFE I CAN READ THOSE 29 BOOKS!! But then I’m like, “No, I choose life. And I don’t think bed sores would be a good look for me if I stayed in bed all day reading.” OR I COULD READ REALLY SHORT BOOOKS??? But then I feel bad neglecting the chunky ones.

And then every year I get jealous of those who have achieved their reading goals. Jealous of the ones who’ve read zillions of books because THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS I WANT TO READ IN THIS LIFE AND SO LITTLE TIME.

But then I remember that even though I aim high every year…I chose to not read that much. I probably could. And I remember that everyone is in different places in their life with different responsibilities and different social lives and just different circumstances and values and none of them or right or wrong or better or worse. For the most part, I don’t regret the things I did while I wasn’t reading. Okay maybe the mindless internet browsing or the months when I was addicted to Candy Crush would have been time better spent reading but I wouldn’t trade the other memories in the world for a few extra books to tack on at the end of my BOOKS READ LIST number.Β  And that’s just my choice.

Instead this year I’m going to focus on:

the number of pages I read because some of the books I read were bigger but worth it even though I could have read 2-3 in that time frame.
the amazing books I DID read this year because they all changed me in some way.
the new authors I DID discover this year because they are inspiring and I am thankful for them.
the armchair adventures I DID have this year because without them I would have been bored this year being unemployed.
the characters I DID meet this year because they taught me things or made me see myself or the world in different ways. They made me laugh. They made me cry. They made me swoon. They made an impact.
the beautiful words I DID read this year because some people don’t even have the ability to read or the freedom to choose the books that I do.
the times I DID spend letting those stories linger or those words set in before moving on because it reminds me that reading is not a race. I often just jump right into the next book.

So you there —Β  if you are feeling that pressure of your Goodreads challenge widget telling you how behind you are…ignore it if it’s really getting you down. Instead of feeling jealous of your friends who read 200 books or completed their challenges — celebrate their awesomeness with them and be okay with what you did! Reading inherently isn’t a competition. There might be fun competitions (I’ve participated in them!) but your reading journey is your own! Be proud of it whatever you were able to get in!

Did you set reading goals this year? Are you on target with it or are you behind like me? Do you ever feel that craze to fit in all the books you can before the year ends? Do you ever get a twinge of jealousy of the amount of books other people read?
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. The awesome thing about reading goals is that they inspire a journey. It doesn’t matter whether or not you made it all the way to Narnia — you still explored more wardrobes than you would have otherwise. And now you get to add those books to your 2014 pile! πŸ™‚

  2. Candy Crush. Haha! I’m stuck on level 93. Love this post. I too am a bit behind on my Goodreads Goal… Oops. πŸ™‚ Sometimes I look at peoples reading lists that are accomplished and I think “how???” 365? Yea not gonna happen. I don’t just like to read, sometimes I like to mindlessly play a game and eat popcorn while watching How I Met Your Mother instead. πŸ™‚

  3. So I set mine pretty low this year (75) and I blew past it at least 2 months ago. I am now at 99.I don’t know how I did it. I mean I’ve always been a reader but woweee! I definitely surprised myself this year. You don’t worry about the challenge. All that matters is that you’ve read some amazing books that will stick with you for a long time. That means more than a number.

  4. I didn’t make my goal last year, and I definitely won’t make it this year. I think I only missed by goal last year by 2 books, which was more frustrating. It was something achievable, but I just wasn’t in the mood to read. I am currently 37 books behind my goal this year, which is slightly embarrassing. Haha. To be fair, I started the year off with a huge reading slump, and didn’t finish my first book until mid-Febuary. Like you said, my internet/Temple Run 2 time could have been better spent reading, but honestly, sometimes I’m just not in the mood to read. I think, because of that, I won’t take my goal too seriously next year. It’ll be a goal, sure, but not one that I will be strict about reaching.

  5. I love what you wrote! I’m actually ahead on my challenge and acomplished to read quite a lot of books but I always wonder why people compare their challenge to others. I’m happy that I will complete my challenge but wouldn’t care if I don’t. I’m just grateful that I had the time to read the ones I did.

  6. I absolutely loved this post! I am behind on my goals for this year as well. It does get me down, because I wish I could reach it. But with a full time job and going to school full time, it doesn’t leave for much free time. Maybe next year. πŸ˜‰

  7. Ohhhh yeah! Sometims I ask to myself how some people can read all those books even if they work full time! I’d like to read faster, but sometimes I stuck upon some books, in the middle of the story, and I can’t go on. Maybe I should try to start another book meanwhile, so I never stop reading!

  8. I simply don’t set any reading goals. I love to read, but I hate feeling I’m reading for an obligation. I started a book review blog about eight months ago and I discovered that besides not liking to reads books as an obligation, I don’t like to write reviews either. You may think that’s strange, but I really don’t like to write down reviews.
    And I decided to blog to have fun.

    So, I’ve decided to close my book review blog and start a new bookish blog with a total different approach. Since I love searching the web for cool and original literary gifts, I decided to create a blog to share my findings. And I’m really enjoying writing this new blog. I think that it’s comes down to doing the things we enjoy and having fun.

  9. I think that’s a great atttitude to have! I have to admit sometimes I do get a little bummed if I see that I’m falling behind with my Goodreads challenge but then I try to give myself a shake and remind myself why I read. I read because I love books and because I want to read. It shouldn’t be about the volume of books that we read – quality over quantity!

  10. I only started my blog and my Goodreads challenge halfway through the year so I started low at 30 books- and when I found out I could read way more than that I extended it, and had to do that twice more. So it’s not at 40 books, and I only have two to go. It’s nice because no matter how low my goal is compared to others, I’ll always reach it (:
    I do get jealous when I see people with goals of like 150 books but since I started late this year I always think that’ll be my goal for next year! I’m sure I can do it, even with school and work etc. Of course I don’t read much as I WISH I could, but like you I’m thankful for what I do read.

  11. I have and have not met my goal. I have met my GR Challenge because of reading with my kiddos. I was hoping to hit 100 books for me this year, but didn’t hold myself to it since you know, newborns are a bit of a time and attention suck haha. I’m going to increase my GR goal next year to hold me accountable to make sure I read once a day to my kiddos. They deserve quality book time just as much as I do!

  12. I need to read 5 more books to reach my goodreads reading goal for the year. Totally doable, right? I’m hoping once classes end (next week!!!) I’ll have more free time to spare for those delicious pages, just waiting to be devoured. I’ve always followed this motto: Read for content, not for quantity. I want to ENJOY what I’m reading & have those stories impact me. It’s not a race! Even if goodreads makes you feel like it is lol.

  13. Jenni Shaver says:

    I am currently 2 books past my goal of 100. I am curious, what was your goal? At 100, I had 3.5ish days to read a book. Some I read in a day (easy YA contemporaries) and some took two weeks (Hello – Allegiant! Not my favorite series ender) because I wanted to get through it, but it didn’t compel me to read it all in one sitting. I don’t have a book blog, I just read yours. =)

  14. Oh, Jamie. You always seem to know just what I’m thinking. This year I bumped up my goal from last year and, while I reached – and surpassed – it, I realized just how much of a toll it took. So many days where I would do nothing but read and completely ignore the rest of the world. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – there’s nothing I love more than curling up with a hot cup of tea and reading the day away! – but it was the amount of these days that really got to me.

    What made it finally hit home was when Matt told me he felt left out, shoved aside for some mediocre story I’ll never reread. I certainly kept up with friends and family, but so much time was devoted to the idea that I needed to read x amount of books that I wound up losing sight of what’s truly important.

    I discovered some fantastic and wonderful books (and authors) in 2013 and I’m extremely excited for all the wonderful books that 2014 has, but I’m not going to aim so high with my goals. Hell, I might not even do a goal next year! The number game took all the fun out of reading and I can’t remember the last time I was able to reread a book or read one of the books just sitting on my shelves. Even library books make me feel guilty, as though I’m ignoring the stacks of review copies.

    Yeah, 2014 will definitely bring about a change in my reading habits. I miss those long nights where I spent hours immersed in a world and the days afterward where I would relish in the experience. No more speed-reading in order to move on to the next. Those bloggers who are able to hold down a full-time job, go to school, maintain a social life, stay up-to-date with all the social media, AND manage to read 200+ books a year are truly a wonder, but that’s not me and it’s about time I’ve come to terms with it.

  15. I set a goal and then I stop caring. Which is actually SO not me, if I’m being honest. Usually when I set a goal, I not only meet it, I dominate it. Yeah, hi, my name is Ashley and I have a problem. I actually plan on mixing up 2014. Plan on reading more books on my TBR. Stop caring about social media aspects and ARCs. Go back to reading for me.

  16. I set myself a reading goal, this year, but I’m not too bothered about reaching it. I was way too busy with my final year at uni to stress too much about reading and now I’ve just gotten a new job so I don’t really have the time to devote all of my free hours to reading.

    I set myself a goal because that’s the amount of books I’d like to read, but, in all honesty, I really don’t care if I reach it. I read when I want to, because I enjoy it. The last thing I want is for reading, one of my favourite things to do, to become a chore because I’m trying to speed through book after book. I enjoy stories so much more when I take my time and really get into the story. I hate feeling pressured to read (which is why I don’t like people borrowing me books – I feel like I need to read them within a certain timescale and then I end up just not bothering lol).

  17. I set a really low reading goal for myself this year (30 books) because I expected to be too busy to read as much this year as last year. But I ended up doubling the goal and I’m on target to meet it and hopefully exceed it. I’m always so afraid of making a lofty goal because I don’t want to miss it and can always increase it, but that’s such a wussy way and I commend you for aiming high!!

  18. I really like this post.

    I did meet my goal last month, but compared to my blogging partner, it’s a pretty low bar. I do find myself feeling bad about that. But I ‘m going to try to remind myself that I’ve already read 7 more books than last year and 2000 more pages. I’ve read way fewer bad books, too, (seven 1 – 2 stars compared to thirteen last year.) I’ve written more reviews, made more friends, read more outside my comfort zone. So thanks for making me look on the good side! πŸ™‚

  19. Good for you. Always, ALWAYS choose life.

    I am so with you in just letting the book linger on your brain for a day or two. That’s sometimes when I have the best discussions because I root around Twitter until I find someone else to fangirl with!

  20. I always want to participate in every reading challenge I come across. And I always fall short… The Goodreads Challenge says I am 11 books behind. I tend to shout at the widget “Shut up! I don’t want to know! lalalalalala” I always feel like I lose something when I don’t meet my expectations. This year was a particularly hard year because there were months that I simply didn’t want to read, so all my 2013 reading challenges went down the drain. For 2014 I set myself up some challenges anyway, because I think they are fun, even if I can’t complete them. But I will try to focus on the good stuff, like you say, on the books I read, the characters I meet, the fun I have in reading what I want to read, instead of being paranoid about being behind on any of the challenges πŸ™‚ I will also low my goal on the Goodreads challenge…

  21. After reading this post I decided I’m not going to try to get the last books finished before the year is over because I know I’ll have as much time as the last two months to read (which is barely nothing). I’ve always felt a tiny bit jealous over those who had reached their goal with 150 books a couple of months ago. But this post just made me realize it’s not a competition to read 100 or 150 books in a year, I’ll just read as many as I can when I have time and enjoy the ones I’ve read. That’s the goal for next year. So thank you for this post! πŸ™‚

  22. I set and met a goal of 100 books this year, but I “cheated” in two ways: 1. I work as a line editor for a publishing company, which means I go through books word by word to ensure everything is close to perfect. I counted every single one of those books as read toward my goal & 2. I read some of the many picture books I own, but had never read.

  23. I initially set a goal to read 75 but ended up changing it to 50 during the summer, when I realized that I was seriously behind and would not likely meet my original goal. As of right now, I’ve still only made it to 37. I’m totally with you on regretting all the time I spent scrolling through tumblr and playing games on my iPod when I could have been reading. Sometimes though I just get into these reading slumps where I don’t have the energy or attention span to sit down for hours on end with a book (it’s horrible, I know!).

  24. Candy Crush! It’s that DAMN Candy Crush! It’s all their fault! *sobs* I totally blame them this year. Yes, I am behind on my goal AND I aimed low this year too. Ironically, I just wrote a post about trying to emerge from a slump/rut/slowdown…but I also have to realize that it’s me comparing myself to everyone else. If I followed blogs that only posted a few times a month, I’d be okay, lol. Either way, I guess you just can’t beat yourself up about it…it’s supposed to be fun, not something that makes you feel guilty.

  25. I just read your post out to my husband and he burst out laughing because that was my exact reaction to the Goodreads challenge too. OH NO I AM 12 BOOKS BEHIND! I CAN DO IT I CAN DO IT WHAT IF I READ REALLY SHORT BOOKS?? And he’s been teasing me ever since because clearly I’m not going to get in another 12 books before the end of December with the crazy schedule I have at the moment. Part of me still thinks I should try, but the other part reminds me that it’s all for fun anyway and that I’ve read a lot of books this year, achieved a lot, and most of all I’ve enjoyed it and that’s what matters. Great post, really positive, thanks! πŸ˜€ (*whispers* I’m also glad it’s not just me)

  26. I love setting a reading goal and I try to go a bit higher every year. This year, I really impressed myself, haha. I still don’t know how I managed to read so many books, but I won’t be setting the bar too high next year. It’s always about enjoying books and quality! πŸ™‚ I’d rather read 10 books that blow me away than 50 I don’t care about.

  27. I am 17 books behind in my goal to read 100 books. I know I’m not going to make it. There’s just no way. I have accepted it and I’m ready for December to be done and over with. LOL

    Next year, I will set a lower goal. I have finally accepted the fact that I can’t read 100 books a year during this time in my life, and I’m okay with that.

  28. It’s weird.. I was in a reading slump for the last few months and it’s almost like because it’s the last month of the year I gotta go full-force with trying to get the rest in there before 2013 is over!

  29. I actually kept upping my GR goal because I’m reading so much more this year than I have in the past. But it’s also the first year that I’ve been blogging, so I guess that’s to be expected. I always take my “goals” with a grain of salt anyway – I’m not particularly good at sticking to them!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  30. Hallelujah and AMEN to this post! I have been feeling the exact same way, but this is just what I needed to hear…er, read. I may have fallen short of my goal (I’m only 10 books away, but I’m a slow reader), BUT I still have read A LOT more this year than most people do. And I liked what you said about that not being better or worse or right or wrong. So true!

  31. I really don’t care how many books I read each year, but I had set the goal anyway. I didn’t meet it, so I just changed it last week. Adjusted it down – and viola – I’m a superstar πŸ™‚

  32. I actually met my reading goal (only 30 books this year) a few months ago. Last year I just barely made my goal of 25. Turns out that, since I’ve graduated college, I have TONS of time to read! Who knew? Even though you haven’t met your goal, you’ve read more books than me, and for that, I’m totally in awe of you. It’s hard sometimes to choose between reading and blogging and reading blogs and other things in life, and there is nothing wrong with picking real life over books. In fact, it’s actually quite a healthy thing to do, even when I’m feeling the stress of but-I-need-to-post-a-review! So I simply say, read on. Not necessarily to meet a goal, but for you.

  33. I totally feel you on this one. I did reach my goal, but I do get jealous of my friends who read wayyyyy more than me. This post helped me put things into perspective, because you’re right, I don’t regret the time I spent not reading. I could always read more, but books aren’t the only thing I have in my life. I have to balance it with everything else I’ve got going on, and I am happy about the books I did read.

  34. I like setting my reading goals at the start of the year, but I also try to remember that they’re just numbers — they don’t really necessarily mean that I’ve won or accomplished something! I know that I’m nearly at mine (which is quite remarkable to me considering how busy I was with the wedding planning this year), but still, it’s not a mark or testament of what happened to me this year. In fact, what’s most important to me, generally, is living. Life trumps books read any day, especially when I have a collection of awesome experiences to show for it! So don’t sweat your books read goal — you surely did a lot of other awesome things that were worth missing out on a book read or two πŸ™‚

  35. I put a lot of pressure on myself so, although I’m still going to set myself an overall target next year, I’d like to set myself some fun goals too that I want to achieve and don’t feel pressure to do so. This year I set myself a lower goal and have been increasing it as I get closer so I didn’t have such a big aim to start with. I think it has worked really well because, even half way through the year, you’re still reaching high.

    Saying that, I’ve started to think about the quality of the books I read and my enjoyment of them and have come to the conclusion I’d rather read one amazing book than three I speed through and can’t be bothered to read.

    Great post, Jamie! πŸ˜€

  36. I exceeded my goal for reading this year, but plan to do things differently next year. Lots more rereads and maybe even tackling some of the bigger books I own. I might even try to not focus on the number of books I read … gasp! I’m hoping that that will take some of the pressure off next year. πŸ™‚

  37. I knowwww the feeling! I actually caught up and then fell behind and caught up and fell behind all over again. I’m four books behind again and I finally just gave up! I have so many THINGS going on in my life that I just don’t have time to stress about reading. Plus, it’s supposed to be fun! I still have plenty of posts for my blog and not meeting that challenge will not kill me.
    I also did read more pages than I did last year! I read some super chunky books this year (ahem, Game of Thrones books 1-4 haha) so those pages equalled a lot more pages than books this year! πŸ™‚

  38. I am, according to Goodreads, two books behind on my challenge. I’m going to finish, though I am putting some short books ahead and perhaps going to neglect things a wee bit to get it done. I’ve got to finish a book a day to do it, but that’s totally manageable.

    That makes it sound like I’m fairly on top of things, but also my goal is 75 books lower than it was at the start of the year. I like the widget but I hate losing, so I lowered it twice throughout the year. Like you, this year I decided to do things instead and I can’t say that all the stuff I didn’t get to doesn’t bother me, but also if I were reading like past me then 50 of those would be books I DNFed this year. I used to almost never DNF, but this year I have. Usually I just read a handful of pages, but some I was bunches into before I quit. These add up to a lot of “wasted time” but I think it’s better that I read fewer quality books.


  1. […] End of the Year Reading Blues from The Perpetual Page-Turner […]

  2. […] and Books – Jamie @ The Perpetual-Page Turner discusses her end of the year reading blues. – Mel @ The Daily Prophecy shares more reasons why readers have hard lives. – Mitchii @ Aeropapers […]

  3. […] Jamie has end-of-the-year reading blues. […]