1. You can set and meet a specific goal
You often hear people say “I want to read more.” and like most things of great ambition, they only result in the tiniest of pipe dream’s, be this due to lack of commitment or it being sacrificed for the greater good of a more prominent need in your life i.e Work, Family etc.
However, 2020 has been a nightmare of year for most people. A lot of us have been stuck indoors unable to do most of the things that they would do normally. Therefore, its good for your mental health to ensure that you have structure outside of your usual work & family commitments and make time for things that you want and enjoy doing. We can all agree that its also good to do something else on an evening other than binge Netflix or Amazon Prime Videos. Therefore, setting a specific goal can help with that.
It took me a long time to figure out that I need structure and guidance in any part of my life. In my reading life, this translates to setting goals, allowing time to reflect on my reading and produce reviews, or some other kind of creative outlet.
2. Challenges broaden your literary horizons.
On an average year I would say that I read somewhere between 30-40 books. However, I can guarantee that those books are not incredibly varied. I tend to err on the side of Adventure, Fantasy and Dark Fantasy with additional steampunk or RPG style elements to them.
But by challenging yourself to try new things, you can broaden your literary horizons. I admit that more than once now I’ve grumbled about a particular category (usually Romance & Thriller) and ended up loving the book I read, which I never would have chosen otherwise. (don’t get me wrong there have been some stinkers too *cough* Uprooted *cough*)
3. Challenges encourage discussion and connection with fellow readers.
This allows you to interact with other like minded individuals in a safe space. At a time like this, you need to have somewhere to go to remove yourself from the socio-political dumpster fire that is 2020, to reflect and discuss your thoughts on what you have been reading.
Often, discussing a book topic leads to conversations that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. This can be particularly helpful for you mental health as for me socialisation is the thing I have struggled with in this new lock-down culture as we are unable to go out to bars, restaurants or even to visit friends.
I’ve connected with other readers, writers, and bloggers through social media and book discussion threads. Which in turn has meant that I have forged friendships that I would not have otherwise have, and I have to admit for the most part my life is richer for it. (don’t tell them I said that though)
Until next time, read more books!