Monthly Archives: January 2020

My 2020 Reading Challenge – A Little Less Challenging

For the past few years, I have done the Goodreads Challenge by pledging how many books I plan to read within the year. Usually, it’s around 50ish. I shoot for a book a week so 50 seems like a realistic number (with a couple of weeks cushion).

This year, however, I am setting my goal to be much lower… like, to 30. Why? Because a book a week is great when I’m having a typical, normal week. But far too often, my weeks have not been typical or normal. And on those weeks when I can’t finish the book I’ve been reading, I don’t want to feel guilty about it.

My Goodreads goal for 2019 was 55 books (originally). I’ve since had to change it to 53 because I knew by December that I wasn’t going to reach my goal. Life happened and suddenly reading didn’t become a priority anymore. In November, I ran into some health issues and suddenly my focus and desire for reading diminished significantly. As a result, I was spending my usual reading time binge watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix. (To be fair though, Jane the Virgin is an amazing show!)

There’s another reason why I set my goal a good bit lower. I want to be able to pick books without worrying so much about the page count. If there’s a book that is unusually long, I don’t want that to prevent me from reading it because I know I won’t be able to finish it within the week.

I also would like to feel less restricted with my books. I want to try out books that I wouldn’t normally read and have the freedom to put them down if they don’t work for me and I’m not interested. I don’t want to feel like I have to finish a book I don’t like simply because I’ve already started it.

So this year the pressure’s off. This doesn’t mean I love reading any less. If anything, it means I love reading more.

Kindle Unlimited – Is it worth it?

I recently saw an ad for Kindle Unlimited which offered a deal: get three months of Kindle Unlimited for only 99 cents. It’s about $9.99 per month after that. I figured this might be a good time to try out the service for the first time.

For anyone unfamiliar with Kindle Unlimited, it’s a book subscription service through Amazon which lets you access books through the Kindle store. According to Amazon, the subscriber has access to a large selection of titles including books, audiobooks, and magazines. The user has access to up to 10 titles at a time, but these are borrowed titles, you don’t own them.

For years I’ve known about this service, but I’ve been reluctant to subscribe. It didn’t seem worth it to me because of my own reading habits. I read about a book a week. I also have a subscription to Book of the Month. Plus, I’m a heavy library user. So if you account for 1 month of reading, that would be 1 book from my Book of the Month club, probably 1 book from the library, and let’s say 2 books from the Kindle Unlimited service. Most of the books from Kindle Unlimited are between $3 and $5 and they are independent books, many of which I’ve never heard of. If I had just bought the books I would probably only pay a total of $10 a month at most. That happens to also be the full price of the subscription. This is why I assumed the service would not be worth it to me.

But then… I found that the Kindle Unlimited service included many books that were a little more well known. For example, I discovered that all of the Harry Potter books are now available through Kindle Unlimited. I also saw a Jodi Picoult book, “The Storyteller,” that is also available. It would cost me $12.99 to purchase the book through Amazon, so borrowing it through the subscription would be cheaper.

For readers who burn through multiple books a week and are open to new and independent authors then this service is likely for you. But for casual readers (like me) who read 4 or less books a month, the decision on whether to subscribe or not to subscribe becomes a little more complicated.

I still haven’t decided whether I’m keeping the subscription or not. If I keep seeing books that are of interest to me and if these books cost more to purchase than to borrow with the monthly fee, then maybe I’ll keep on subscribing.

For now, I will enjoy my 3 months of Kindle Unlimited and try to get the most bang for my buck. If I find I’m not using it as much as I hope, I will reluctantly cancel. In the meantime, I will keep reading. FYI… that Jodi Picoult book is amazing so far! If you decide to get the subscription for yourself, be sure to check that one out!