It’s that time again: We’re all buckling down and setting goals for the year ahead. And according to market research company YouGov, one popular resolution—just after things like eating healthier and focusing on self-care—is making an effort to read more.

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As you can probably guess, this made the team here at OprahMag.com very happy, because just like the O of O has shown us with her game-changing national book club, we love to read, and encourage others to do so, too. But this is also positive news, because despite a recent American Time Use Survey—which found that 2017 marked a 30 percent decrease in interest in leisure reading since 2004—it sounds like Americans are genuinely interested in learning how to read more.

So to help the people out there who are looking to fall in love with their next page turner (and the next, and the next), we’ve put together some useful tips that could help reinvigorate your personal library.

Participate in a reading challenge.

Devoting time to a reading challenge is a way to compete against yourself while staying accountable in your quest to take in more lit. You can keep it simple with Goodreads and choose a specific number of books to get through in a year’s time, as the site allows you to track your progress with each novel completed.

On the other hand, Bookish’s challenge terms are a bit more complex. In an effort to keep participant’s selections diverse, their 2018 terms set a goal of 52 books, sending readers on a literary scavenger hunt. A couple of fun examples? One request was that you find a story with an LGBTQ author, while another urges you to find a book set in a country you’ve never been to.


Check out “best lists.”

There are literally millions of novels out there in the world, so it can get a little overwhelming when trying to choose a read—and a good one at that. An easy way to narrow it down? Peruse the lists from the institutions that make it their business to find the best of the best.

The New York Times best sellers list is a tried and true test of a good book. (The current top spot for combined print and e-book fiction is Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts.) The 25 2018 National Book Award finalists offer a bevy of top picks as well, and Goodreads’ 2018 “Best Books” were specially picked by millions of bibliophiles.

And, of course, we can’t forget our own trusted O book editors, who have curated meticulous collections that cross genres. No matter where you look, there’s a little something for everybody.

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Join a local book club.

Not only will you have people that hold you accountable to your reading goals, but you’ll also be apart of a new community that makes literature a priority, too. And the discussions that arise from hearing what others took away from their pages might give you an enlightened perspective. When it comes to finding the right group, the American Library Association’s “Book Club Central” says that while it may see impossible, there are plenty of resources that can help.

First option? Head to your nearest library and consult the reference desk, which is bound to have information about local groups. Another source is an independent bookstore, where active clubs tend to seek out new members. Book Club Central also says that sites like meetup.com or my-bookclub.com can help you find clubs in your areas, while Goodreads allows you to join a virtual group through various discussion boards that cross genres.

the witch doesn’t burn in this one

Read some poetry.

Though it may not be for everyone, poetry can disrupt the army of fiction and non-fiction novels that dominate best-seller lists. Plus, it could make for a compelling change when it comes to your own literary routine. “It’s short and digestible, yes,” says O‘s assistant books editor Michelle Hart, “but it’s also a great way to get the creative part of your brain working.”

To get you started, one of the year’s buzziest poetry collections was Amanda Lovelace’s The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One, a powerful feminist read that urges women to celebrate being female.

Try out a story before you commit.

It happens to the best of us. You pick up a novel based on its eye-catching cover and enchanting synopsis, only for it to be neglected on your book shelf once you actually start to read it. It’s hard to work up the energy to read consistently if you keep coming across duds. Hart has a tip to combat this dilemma.

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LitHub, which is, as the name suggests, a hub for all things literary, posts a short story or an excerpt from an upcoming novel every day,” she says. “It’s a good way to try out a novel or an author before buying a book.”


Invest in an e-reader.

While devoted book worms everywhere will likely always compare e-readers with original print novels, there’s no denying that devices like Kindles tend to make it simpler to read on demand. According to a 2017 Statista survey, 27 percent of Americans find e-books more convenient. The hassle of taking a trip to the bookstore is gone when you have a tablet that acts as a personal mobile library. There are thousands of stories—new and old—that cross various genres, and prices start as low as 99 cents. All you have to do to gain access is tap on a screen.

Tune-in to a podcast.

It may sound counterintuitive to plug-in your earphones to improve your reading habits, but Hart insists that certain podcasts will spike your interest in literature. She points to the New Yorker’s “The Writer’s Voice” and “Fiction” as choice programming. You can listen to both on free apps like Apple’s “Podcasts” or “Stitcher”, which is available on both Android and iOS.

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“Fiction” has a different penman read a new short story each month, which they then discuss with the New Yorker’s fiction editor Deborah Treisman. (Hart points out comedian David Sedaris’ December 2017 appearance as a favorite.) “Writer’s Voice,” meanwhile, is a show that has the author read their own story that appears in the publication on its respective week. “It’s a great way to catch up on the New Yorker’s acclaimed short stories, and as a bonus, you get to hear the story read by the authors themselves,” Hart says.

And to get you excited about the prospect of a page-turner…

Our book editors have already put together a list of 25 novels to look out for in 2019. So if you need extra motivation when choosing your next story, we’ve provided a sneak-peak of their picks below. (Big hint: Oprah made the cut.)

Happy reading!

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