I’ve never really read many graphic novels or manga, and although I knew I really wanted to get into reading more of both, one thing that put me off a little was my goodreads challenge (I know, now that I’m writing this it feels a bit silly to me too!). I’ve seen a lot of debate over whether graphic novels and manga – and to a lesser extent audiobooks – should count towards a GR challenge or not, and it was something I’ve been debating with myself over the last couple of months as I read more of them.
Things I considered in my should-I-count-them-debate:
- I can read a manga volume or graphic novel in a couple of hours, whereas a full length book can take me a day or more of uninterrupted reading time to finish
- Audiobooks take me longer to read than a novel – probably about twice as long
- I don’t read many novellas, but on the rare occasion I do, I count them without even thinking about it
- As well as using my GR challenge to motivate myself, I also love goodreads to keep track of series, what I’ve been reading etc – while I could do that outside of GR in order to skip certain types of books counting towards the challenge, I don’t really want to track in multiple places
- The books I read vary hugely in length – in 2015, my shortest book was a 60 page novella, and the longest was 994 pages.
- A play also takes me less time to read than a novel but I wouldn’t think twice about counting one of those
- Reading isn’t work, it’s fun, so why shouldn’t I read whatever I want?!
I spent a long time (way too long!), considering various stats to consider how I could ‘balance out’ the graphic novels/manga in terms of my reading challenge…
Graphic novels/manga are (often) shorter than a novel, which means potentially I could read more books per year but less pages overall. Looking back at my previous 4 years on goodreads, my average book length ranged from 324 to 427 and looking at other GR friends’ stats, there’s a lot of variation, from <200 pages to >400, but I remember reading on twitter (I think in a tweet from Joe Hill) that the number of pages read per day = (approximately) the number of books you’ll read in a year: i.e. if you read 50 pages per day, you’d read 50 pages in a year. For that to work out you’d need an average book length of 365 pages – an average length I’ve hit or exceeded for three of my four years tracking on Goodreads so that seems like a reasonable goal! As of writing, I’ve read a total of 86 books, 15 of which have been manga/graphic novels (17%). The average length for the books I’ve read still comes out to 376 pages so from that side of things, all looks good!
On the other hand, the year in which I read the most pages per day, my average book length was the lowest (324 pages), so reading shorter books seems to mean I do more reading overall, so I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t average out at over 365 pages per book! Instead, I’ll just be reading what I want and trying to read 36,500 pages by the end of the year, because that means I’ll have read 100 pages per day. As I said above, reading is supposed to be fun – while I love nerding out about the stats, and I’m a total sucker for a challenge, I don’t want either to dictate what I do or don’t read, and as long as I feel like I’m reading as much as I reasonably can I’ll be happy!