Should You Count Required Reading Toward Your Reading Goals?

Hey guys! As you may know, I am a college student, specifically a college student who is double majoring in two heavily-language-focused things (writing and French). I take a lot of classes where I have to read a lot of books, or just do a lot of reading in general (which is not a bad thing—clearly I love to read, or else I wouldn’t be here right now). Since that is the case, and I have recently started back to school, I’ve been thinking a lot about this question: what books should I count toward my reading goals? Should required reading books count?

The answer obviously depends on your personal opinion, and if you disagree with my opinion, I’m not trying to say that you are wrong. I am just trying to start a discussion.

With that being said, reading goals, at least to me, should be a measure of how many books you read for fun in a year, and while I may enjoy the books I am reading for my classes (which, for the most part, I do), the fact that I had to read them makes it seem like it’s cheating to count them toward my reading goals. This is especially true for me, since my yearlong reading goal is so low this year.

Granted, I only got my Goodreads back in January of this year, and since I didn’t know how things would go, I just set my reading challenge at 30 books (which I surpassed a couple months ago, by the way). Still, if I were to count all of the books I had to read for my classes last semester as well as all the ones I have to read for this semester (all of which I have/will have to read this year), toward that goal of 30 books, I would automatically be practically done with my reading challenge, only needing to read 4 more books to complete it. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

And yet, I do want to keep a record of having read those school books in some way. The way I currently do it is by simply putting those required books into a special “Read for School” shelf on Goodreads, but not specifying the year in which they were read, which works pretty well, but it’s not perfect. What I really wish is that there was a way for me to count books that I have read, including dates, but also being able to choose whether or not they count toward my reading challenge.

To me, the whole point of a reading challenge is that it is, well, challenging. It’s about making yourself read more than you normally would, and required reading books are books that you have to read whether you want to or not. To me, there is no real challenge in that because I’m not having to push myself to read. And I know, I could just increase my goal by the amount of books that I will have to read for school, but then that feels weirdly false to me, too.

That was a very long-winded way for me to say that personally, I don’t count the books I read for school toward my reading goals for the year—or the month, for that matter. You’ll probably notice that none of my monthly TBRs have included books I needed to read for school. That is by design. One, my TBRs would be way too long if I included all the school books I have to read in a given month. (Just as an example, this month, I have to read 2 entire books and half of a third, along with several other, shorter readings.) Two, I just don’t really think me talking about all the books I have to read for school would be at all interesting to you guys. And three, all of the reasons I gave above about not wanting to count school books toward my reading goals.

That’s just my philosophy, though. I’m interested to know: do/did you guys count required reading books toward your yearly (or monthly, or weekly, or whatever-ly) reading goals? Whether you do or don’t, let me know down in the comments! Let’s start a discussion!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Tuesday!

-Ariel

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