2018 Reading Challenge // Sprinkles of Dreams

Bookish Musings // Ft. The Only Reading Challenge That Actually Matters

Happy Saturday, guys!
I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend. 🌷

I’m still in disbelief about the fact that the first half of 2018 has passed us by, is gone, done with, and [insert various other euphemistic variations of the aforementioned sentiment]—but at the very least, dwelling on this realization and trying not to freak out about it again, inspired this very ramble-y [you’ve been warned!] blog post. 😌


We’ve all been sharing our favorite 2018 reads, our reading struggles, and our highly anticipated upcoming book releases in Mid-Year Freak Outs, and June wrap-ups—and a considerable number of those also included mentions of the 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge. (I followed you guys’ advice, and increased mine to 200 books!)

But as amazing as it can be to see to how many books we’ve (managed to) read so far, and take pride in the number, if we’re on track, or even ahead of our challenge, numbers aren’t everything.

In the end, the reason we read books to begin with is to enjoy them, right? At least, it’s mine.

And I hope that no one is breezing through books just so that they can accomplish reading the arbitrary number of books they challenged themselves to read at the beginning of this year, and ends up collapsing in a bundle of exhaustion, after doing so.

Sleep deprivation is dangerous, guys!

giphy(Says Lily, typing this half-asleep, bleary-eyed, and running on five hours of sleep.)


But, I digress. What has become very apparent to me very quickly, is the answer to following question: What do I feel most accomplished about so far, book-wise?

A not-so small hint: it’s not the number of books I’ve read.

So, just for fun, and not meant to be taken all too seriously, here’s my reading challenge (a.k.a. the only reading challenge that actually matters, hence the title of this blog post*); a list of bookish accomplishments that I personally feel are worthy of being celebrated, if only with a figurative pat from yourself on your own shoulder.

Because—not to talk down the Goodreads challenge, since I wouldn’t have read as many books as I have without it, but—here, you’re actually rewarded with stars (albeit virtual ones), and if that’s not incentive enough to participate, I don’t know what is.

*Just in case my upside-down-smile-emoji got lost in translation; I’m not being serious.

You read a book that you’ve been looking forward to [for a while]

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

There are so many books I’ve been looking forward to reading for what feels like an eternity, but still haven’t—Pride and Prejudice, Autoboyography, The Great Gatsby, something by Anna-Marie McLemore &c.—and so many books that keep getting added to that list. [And I know you relate!!]

So I feel like it’s such an accomplishment to actually manage to shorten the backlist (even if it’s only by one book), and don’t get sidetracked by other new and shiny releases.

You finished a book you enjoyed 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I know this may not seem like much of an accomplishment at first glance, but it is!!

Remember the last book that you were so entranced by, that you had to force yourself to continue reading, because you didn’t want to finish it, and for it to end?

But you persisted, nonetheless. (Go, you!!)

You finished a book you didn’t enjoy

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera


Time is precious, and most of us have an endless amount of books on their TBRs, which is why spending time on reading a book that’s not exactly riveting can at times feel like, well, precious reading time that’s being wasted.

So finishing the book, nonetheless, is definitely an accomplishment.


You talked about a book you read [in depth], or wrote a review 

Putting your thoughts about books into words is hard.

Not only can it be challenging to arrange your thoughts into a coherent structure; most of the time, even though our heads were brimming with unspoken thoughts while we’re reading a book, words simply choose to elude us just when we sit down to write our review, and need them most.

And by “we”, I mainly mean “I”, because that’s what happens to me all the time.

You recommended a book to someone, or
read a book that was recommended to you 

I love getting book recommendations, especially when someone personally sends me one. I just … feel so special? I mean, I basically imagine someone reading a book, and going “I think Lily would really like this, because [insert a reasonable argument]”, and my mind goes “… you thought of me?? And you know me well enough to think I’d like it??” Awww. :”)

And reading books that were recommended to you is just such a huge compliment—I always feel so incredibly honored, when people read books I recommend!—because as we’ve established: 1) huge TBRs, 2) time is precious, 3) it shows that you trust that person not to waste your time ‘s taste.

You read book reviews 

I mean, reading book reviews is basically the same thing as reading the books themselves.

Pretty much.


Okay, not really. But you’re honing your research skills, so there you go.

You made a bookish friend to scream about books [and other things] with 

Friends GIF // Chandler and Joey

A big part of why I hesitated to create a blog for the longest time is that I have (social) anxiety.

However, I’m so incredibly lucky to have met the most amazing people online, who made me believe I can keep up with running a blog in addition to socializing in real life, because I love chatting with them, and actually manage to do so regularly, regardless of my anxiety (and without dropping off the face of the earth all of a sudden), which led to me wondering if … maybe I can blog without getting overwhelmed, after all?

(And if you feel personally addressed at this point, it’s very likely that I’m talking about you.)

Bonus: You read my blog post(s) 

This actually doesn’t have anything to do with the challenge itself, but is basically my excuse to send you a virtual heart, because I’m so very grateful and humbled that you choose to read my ramblings.

This is probably going to be counterproductive, and will lead to you thinking “Lily is right!! Why am I wasting my time reading her blog posts, when I could be reading books instead??” And wow, am I setting myself up for failure here, because I don’t have a good argument to counter that, but …

I love reading your thoughts and opinions, and screaming about books and everything else with you guys, so … here’s a huge thank you to all of you for reading my posts, and leaving me such sweet comments, I appreciate it a lot. 💗


Do you also get reviewer’s block? (If this term doesn’t exist, I’m officially coining it here and now.)
Do you give personal book recommendations?
Do you actually read books that were recommended to you? 😼

xx, Lily



73 thoughts on “Bookish Musings // Ft. The Only Reading Challenge That Actually Matters

  1. I love this. I agree…it’s not just about the numbers. I know I’ve read many more books some years. This year I’m savoring books a little more and just started a blog, so I get to write about them too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post so much! And you’re so right, reading books we enjoy, making book-loving friends, and sharing our thoughts about what we’ve read is so much more important than some arbitrary number. ❤

    To answer your questions, yes to all three! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you like it, Sara! ☺️

      And I’m glad you agree, I feel like focusing too much on numbers makes us forget the important things, sometimes. & it’s nice to know reviewer’s block doesn’t just happen to me. 😄

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These are interesting challenges and I think I’ve probably completed them too 😊😊😊
    You should read Autoboyography soon… I finished it last month and it’s so beautifully written… you’ll fall in love with the characters!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aww very true, I loved this post xx along with the little challenge !
    I dont get much of a « reviewer » block as I do them in the same time im reading ahah but I did ran into a blogging one quite frequently lately..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I’m so happy to hear that! 💓

      I put down notes while I’m reading as well, but still find myself grasping for words sometimes, haha. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with blogging a bit, though, and I hope you get inspired again, soon!! 🌷

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Kristina! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this post Lily! ❤ I agree that numbers shouldn't be all that matters but it's HARD not to care about them when most bloggers around you read like… hundreds books in half a year 🙈 however I loooooved all these achievements!! I think my biggest accomplishment this year is reading itself hahaha after a year of hiatus, picking up a book isn't as effortless it used to be 😂 I love Strange the Dreamer and Idk about TBDATD. I was skeptical because I didn't like History is All you Left Me, I have Starfish on ebook but IT'S SO GORGEOUS I want to own the physical copy first hahaha and I think I read more hyped books than books that are personally recommended to me 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Puput!! ❤

      Aw, I relate to that! Numbers are really so relative, because I see a lot of bloggers reading more than I do, and it makes me feel pressure as well. Which is why I think it's so important to remind ourselves of more important things than the number of books we read.

      I'm so happy you're back from your hiatus, and I really hope everything you read is fantastic!! Strange the Dreamer is amazing, and TBDATD … not so much. 🙈 YES, Starfish is beautiful!! I really enjoyed the book itself as well, so I think you should go for it. 🙂

      I prefer personal recommendations over hyped books, to be honest, because the latter more often than not ends up in disappointment for me. And I’m hearing so many conflicting things about History is All you Left Me, I am confusion, haha.

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Puput. 💗💐


  6. Well I’m not sad at all that I’m spending time reading your blog posts instead of reading, Lily and I regret absolutely NOTHING, especially when you write brilliant posts like this one! I have to say that you are on point with everything here. I know I tend to focus a lot on numbers as well, when it comes to reading, but that’s because I am seeing more often than not, so many people getting through so many books every week, every month and hundred of books per year. I am proud that I manage to read more, ever since I started blogging, but I’m still working full time and don’t have much time to read ten books per week, as others might do. I think that’s okay, even if sometimes it makes me feel a bit, worthless somehow? SO thank you so much for the reminders that these reading numbers aren’t everything. ❤
    I love this challenge so, very much and if I'm actually following it, I think I'm doing quite okay with it all 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for always being so supportive of me, Marie! You’re the absolute sweetest. 😭💘

      I feel the same way, I always get really stressed, when I see someone who’s read a huge amount of books already, compared to me (numbers are so relative?)–which is why I really wanted to shift the focus off of them. And I honestly admire you so much for being such an amazing blogger, while working full-time! Because you write wonderful blog posts, you always leave such lovely comments, and you spread so much positivity & I know I’m not the only one you’re such an inspiration for! ❤

      You're doing amazing!! I'm sure of that without any challenges. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh of course, you’re amazing Lily and I love everything you do, I’ll support you ’til the end of timeeeeeees!! ❤ ❤
        Aw you're way too sweet, seriously, trying my best. I'm going to cry aw 😭 😭 ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I like this book challenge because it means I can tick EVERYTHING OFF. Thanks for the bookish boost! 👍
    I actually don’t participate in any number related challenges and that includes the Goodreads one. It works great for some people but I know that fo me, it would lead me to focus on numbers as opposed the the books themselves. I know what’s bad for me! Hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome, Becky!! 🌻 I’m so, so glad that I could inspire positive feelings with this post. :’)

      And I think it’s great that you know what works for you, and what doesn’t. Personally, I avoid read-a-thons, because I know they’d stress me out.

      Thank you so much for your comment, it made me so happy! 💛


  8. Great discussion ❤
    I used to think that the book number matters until I reached the same conclusion you discussed here, what good is reading if I am not enjoying it?!
    I try to keep my challenge number possible and increase it when there is time, I get stressed easily too so I don't want reading to add stress to my life.
    I made my own list at the start of the year and posted it and I am going to post it again when the year is finished with what I could establish. I like your choices here and it really is the only challenge that matters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you, Hamad!! 💜

      I get stressed out so easily as well, and I always put so much pressure on myself, which is why I was so hesitant to increase my goal. And I think that that’s such a great idea!! It’ll be interesting to see how you’ve done at the end of the year. 🙂

      Thank you so, so much!! That makes me really happy to hear. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you’re welcome ❤

        I gradually increase it, maybe some consider that cheating but who cares! I have achieved many goals which makes me super happy 😀 and I will post it later at the end of the year!

        I am glad it does 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Shamelessly reading your post instead of reading 😉 but that’s because your musings are always so lovely and thoughtful! Your amount of growth as a blogger never ceases to amaze me, and this post is just as wonderful ^_^ We’re all definitely getting a little stuck on numbers, especially because it’s mid-year, so having your post remind us all of the importance of other factors is needed now more than ever!

    I love reading reviews that are recommended to me, and I’m currently drowning in a TBR (like many people). A part of me wants to power through all the books, but I definitely understand your sentiment of taking the time to appreciate each one 🙂 So that’s what I’m going to do!


    1. You are such an angel, Tiffany, thank you so much! This is so kind of you to say, and I’m so incredibly touched. 😭💖

      That’s honestly too relatable, I always get sad, when I think of all the books I’ll probably never get to read. I hope you can power through them all, while still enjoying them, though!! 😉

      Thank you again for your wonderful comment, I hope you’re having an amazing day. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a really creative post Lily! I totally feel accomplished when I finished book I’ve been putting off since forever *cough Strange the Dreamer cough* and able to put my thoughts into words that form coherent review… I always felt amazes after writing a review because “hOW COULD I WROTE THIS??” xD

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Omg this is a super cute little challenge! I think I could check off everything from your list which made me feel so good! 🙂 I always get reviewers block but I never write down my thoughts on a book beforehand so it is kind of my fault sometimes if I draw a blank LOL. Sometimes you don’t even know how to convey your thoughts to the proper words! And I do both- I read books recommended to me and I recommend them to others. It feels so good when someone enjoys something you thought they might like 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh that makes me so, so happy!! My heart is warming, I love that I could make you feel better with my post. :’)💓

      I actually make notes while I read, but I still get reviewer’s block, haha. And I relate, it’s really hard to put feelings and thoughts into the the right words.

      Also wow, you’re such a wonderful soul, I’m always trying to read more recommended books, but there are still so many I haven’t gotten to, because my TBRs so huge. 😦 But YES, that’s one of the best feelings!! ❤

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Catherine. ☺️💖

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I absolutely love this post, it is so creative and positive! I really like the idea of this challenge and it really refocuses the mind on reading for pleasure.

    I get reviewers block a lot and it sucks. I seem to have the hardest time with 3-star books that weren’t bad but not amazing… for some reason those are the most difficult to write and literally what I have been reading lately! UGH!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kaleena, I’m glad you like it!! 😊💗

      I agree! There are so many books I've read lately as well, that just don't really inspire any strong feelings or thoughts? And I honestly don't even know what to say about them. I hope your next reads are more inspiring! ❤


  13. I totally agree about the recommendations thing! I don’t take advice very lightly (or easily), but when someone says to me “I think this book is totally right for you,” it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  14. oh my god, this is so cute, lily!! i totally agree that numbers aren’t everything, even if we’re all so focused on them! but it’s not hard to read a lot of books without actually talking abt them or sharing them with others or interacting with them in any way. so it’s great to see u putting value on that, too!
    and, well, congrats on having such a successful half a year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you, Anna, you’re so sweet!! 🌻

      Yes, definitely!! The feeling of accomplishment when reaching a certain number of books can never compare to that of enjoying them & sharing my love for them with others. 🙂

      Thank you so much!! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. u just really feel like ur DOING sth with ur life when u look at those numbers, right??? it’s great, i love. and yet, we really can’t just focus on that alone…

        aaahhhh of course!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh I love all the accomplishments that you listed! The numbers of the Goodreads Challenge might be motivating but personal reading accomplishmentsc count for so much more 💗 I also reeeally need to catch up on writing some Book Reviews, as I haven’t exactly done that in the last time 😅

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Since it’s pretty well past mid-year right now I think I might do this at the end of the year as a kind of reading reflection but I’ll definitely let you know when I do it! And again I really loved this post and how it emphasized enjoyment over numbers!!

        Liked by 1 person

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