I’ve been on Goodreads for just over a year. Not just as a writer, but as a reader. I read a lot. I review everything I read. I do this because it’s the right thing to do. It means the world to an author, and it helps readers to decide whether they’re going to give their time and/or money to a book.

I have never given up on a book. I once lost three months of my life to an overlong biography of a long-dead film star, which had two – interesting but entirely brief – stories in it. Everything else was a mess of facts and boredom. But I read it all the way to the end because the writer didn’t give up, so neither could I.

I review this way:

Five stars – loved it

Four stars – liked it

Three stars – it was okay

Two stars – not for me

One star – which I’ve yet to give because I’m not a monster – would mean terrible

It’s quite possible on Goodreads to simply give a rating out of five and leave it at that. I, however, am a chatterer, so I give each book a bit of a write-up.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is that this year I’m participating in the Goodreads challenge. It’s pretty simple. At the start of the New Year, I set a target for the number of books I intended to read in the year and since then, the Goodreads Challenge has been tracking my progress.

My original target was twenty books. It seemed pretty achievable. As it goes, I blasted past that in June. I’m now sitting on thirty-seven books, with a target of fifty. I’m a little behind schedule, but given that I intend to write two more books this year, I have some confidence that I’ll manage it.

When I was a kid, I used to go to the library a lot. We didn’t have a yearly challenge back then (it was the eighties and no one thought that far ahead), but we had a summer reading challenge, which I’ve doubtless mentioned before.

For each book we read during the summer holidays, we’d get a reading badge – provided we could provide an oral report to the librarian and answer a few questions about the story. The point is, the summer reading challenge consisted of six books so, by the start of the autumn term, each of us might have had up to six reading badges.

I’m just saying – I think we should get reading badges as adults. Who’s with me?