So a few days into February, I thought I would wrap with my thoughts about the January Pages Challenge on The StoryGraph and what I learned from it.
Introduction and Data Analysis
The StoryGraph is an independently owned reading tracker, in contrast to Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon.It beautifully visualizes your stats and has an actually functional recommendations feature, along with allowing you to keep up with what people you follow are reading.
One of the stats tracked is pages read. You can of course filter by year, or all time, or a specific month within a specific year. This leads us to the January Pages Challenge. This, quite simply, is a challenge to read at least one page (or at least one percent of an audiobook) every day in January.
Let’s look at my pages graph for January and break it down:
There’s a little blip on the first day of the month where I read 17 pages of a physical book, followed by two days of a completely flat line where my reading was entirely audio based, but still counting towards the challenge. Then the line rises again as I consistently read physical textbooks for my winter term class.
The massive spike near the middle of the month is from a 678-page anthology that we read selections from for that class. I knew we weren’t going to be reading the whole thing, and not in order, so I didn’t bother to track my progress using the little progress bar, meaning the day I marked the book as “finished,“ every single one of those pages got added to the graph.
What I Learned
This section is brought to you in list form, because we are on the Internet, and the Internet loves a list.
1. There’s something weirdly motivating you about a good old-fashioned progress bar.
This challenge, like all StoryGraph challenges, included a progress bar of how many days reading. This progress bar is no longer available to me now that the challenge is over, but I can show you the one for my books read goal:
(About half of this is textbooks, so books I would be reading anyway, and approximately another third is audiobooks, which read faster than print. I’ll probably slow down a bit until summer, but for all I know, I might have to adjust my reading goal.)
2. My best reading time is before bed (with the exception of textbooks).
I discovered midway through the challenge that I really liked reading before bed. The practice caused my brain to slow down a little bit, and already being in bed eliminated the feeling that I needed to be working on other things instead of reading.
To facilitate this, I got a $16 book light that clips to my bed so that I could read without having to get up to turn off the lights, and I started going to bed a little bit earlier to make sure I had a meeting time before I went to sleep.
As the non-owner bedside table, the books I read in bed stayed in my bed. I would read about a chapter before going to sleep each night (unless I was really tired) it was also really useful for times when I couldn’t fall asleep, Since reading a book prevented me from blasting my eyes with blue phone light in the middle of the night.
I don’t really think any of this is particularly groundbreaking, but I found it fun to reflect on what I actually gained from this challenge, besides a book light.
I’ve kept up my streak of reading a little bit every day as February has started, as the challenge intended. One option I think would be good to add to the site is a pages every day goal for every month, even if it doesn’t involve the prize raffle that January one does. Again, progress bars are useful, and it might help carry the momentum over the rest of the year.
If you want to follow my reading on StoryGraph, you can do so here. Happy reading and stay well.