Does anyone else remember the Book-It summer reading program at the public library? I remember roaming through the shelves in search of the perfect book, coloring-in the little boxes on the reading chart, and proudly handing over my finished chart to the librarian in exchange for a free book from the book fair and a ticket for a personal-pan pizza at Pizza Hut. The Goodreads App has a similar program called the (year) Reading Challenge that is open to anyone and everyone. Here's why you should try it in 2017:

1.You get to read whatever you want.

When I started my 2016 challenge back in January, getting to pick what I wanted to read was a revolutionary idea. As an English major, I spend the majority of my time reading things that were assigned to me, a lot of which I didn't really care about. The reading challenge helped me to fall in love with reading again because it gave me the freedom to read things I wanted to read.

2. You set the rules.

Here's how the challenge works: You set the number of books you want to read in 2017, you add the date you start a book, and later add the date you finish it. The app will track your progress and let you know if you're ahead, on, or behind schedule. The app doesn't specify the length, reading level, or format of the books you read. Ebooks count! Audiobooks count! Books read for school count! Re-reading your favorite childhood books counts! You decide what counts towards your goal and what's cheating.

3. It will give you a mental break.

Most of the reading I did towards my reading challenge was done on my lunch break. Getting lost in the world of a book helped me not only get a physical break from work, but also a mental one. I found that setting aside my to-do list and co-worker relationships for a half hour while I read helped me feel mentally refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon rush in the office. I also like listening to audiobooks in the evening while making dinner, folding laundry, or just relaxing in my room with a cup of tea. Reading will help break up the monotony of your day, refresh your mind, and make you more capable of handling stress.

4. You will get connected to a reading community.

Goodreads is not just an app, but a community. You can find your friends from other social media platforms who use the app and find out what they're reading. You can give and receive book recommendations, write reviews, and vote for your favorite books of the year in various genres and categories. You can also connect with your favorite authors and find out about their upcoming books and projects! It's the ultimate place for book nerds (like me) to hang out online.

5. It will help your local library.

Libraries have been losing both funding and popularity over the last decade (which I think is a travesty). Taking the reading challenge will help support your local library by giving them business. If physical books aren't your thing anymore, many libraries now have extensive online platforms with ebooks and audiobooks that can be checked out just like their physical books. Show your library some love and stop in to renew your library card and ask about their latest online resources!

6. It will give you bragging rights!

At the end of the year, the Goodreads app creates an awesome little summary called Your Year in Books. This summary includes the total number of books and pages you read, your shortest and longest book, average book length, most popular and least popular book, highest rated book book, a compiled list of every book you read that year, and the percentage of your reading challenge that you completed. You can share all these awesome stats with your friends on social media, then reward yourself by buying a new book and ordering a pizza!