5 Ways to Reach Your Reading Goals in 2019

Tis the season to talk about goals–how to set and achieve them. If you have one or two (or ten) goals focused on reading this year, here are five of my best tips, tricks, and tools to make the most out of your reading life in 2019.

  1. Utilize free or inexpensive sources for obtaining books. This is my favorite tip for readers because it removes the restrictions a lack of money places on readers. Utilizing your local public library, little free libraries, and low cost book buying options like Friends of the Library allows you to make more daring choices, get more books at once, and browse without fear of busting your budget. There are also free and low priced eBooks available on Amazon and through Wal-Mart’s eBook distributor, Kobo.
  2. Challenge yourself with reading challenges. Whether you want to read more, wider, in community, or what you already own (and STILL haven’t read *sigh*), a reading challenge might help you reach your goal this year. There are several reading challenges out there to choose from, including #theunreadshelfproject2019 Challenge, the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge, the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, and a numbers-based challenge like the Goodreads. You can also join a subscription service like OwlCrate (YA books) or Book of the Month, or an online book club like Well Read Black Girl
  3. Develop a group of trusted review sources. A list of reviewers you trust will help you determine whether a book is for you right now. This will reduce the number of books you slog through or set aside. Find readers with similar tastes and search their feeds for book reviews or where they get their recommendations. Follow people with great taste wherever they post about books they love–Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, their website, etc. “Official” reviewers like Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews or lists in Entertainment Weekly, Essence, or other publications are also good resources.
  4. Create a habit or routine around your goal.  Schedule reading time. Take books with you to take advantage of wait times. Leave your current read on your nightstand or wherever you read. Participate in #readawholebooksunday. Do something to make reading a part of your routine, and you’ll be more likely to show up and READ.
  5. Get better book recommendations. The best way to reach your reading goals is to read better books. If you don’t choose books you want to read, no schedule, challenge, or price is going to help you. One way you can find good book recommendations is through sites like By Her Shelf. By Her Shelf showcases romance, YA, historical, literary fiction, memoir, poetry, thriller, horror, magical realism, suspense, self-help, contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and Christian non-fiction books. You can also find great recommendations on Modern Mrs. Darcy or genre specific sites. Another great resource for book recommendations is podcasts. Here at By Her Shelf, we’re big fans of What Should I Read Next, First Draft, DIY MFA, and The Librarian is In, along with podcasts that interview authors like The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!: I’m pleased to announce By Her Shelf with Erica D. Hearns is LIVE on Apple Podcasts and Messy.fm! BHS will be on other apps/sites soon. When I posted about buying a microphone in early November, I never imagined I would have recorded 16 interviews and launched with 3 live episodes less than three months later. For show notes, upcoming guests, featured books, and other exclusive content, subscribe to our weekly Shelf Talk newsletter here. Show notes can also be found by searching the podcast category of the blog.

I’m still scheduling future guests. If you’d like to discuss the books you read, write, or help produce, I’d love to host you! Simply fill out the form here.

Your Turn: What are you reading goals for 2019? How can By Her Shelf help you reach those goals?

You Oughta Know: What Should I Read Next Podcast

What Shoul I Read NextHi, fellow readers! I’m happy to introduce one of my favorite features, You Oughta Know. This is where I share all the cool reading related things I find online or in real life that I believe other readers should know about. It can be a podcast, blog, YouTube channel, book related merchandise, or another cool thing related to the reading life. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite finds: What Should I Read Next?, a podcast that answers the question that plagues every reader. 

If you’re a reader, you oughta know about Anne Bogel. I first found Anne through her interview with Jamie Ivey on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. Anne Bogel is a reader’s dream. Between her book-related blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and her books, Reading People and I’d Rather Be Reading (you can read my post on this book here), Anne is a treasure trove of bookish delights. By far, the jewel in her literary crown for me is her  podcast, What Should I Read Next?

On her podcast, Anne seeks to answer the question that plagues every reader: What Should I Read Next? On each episode, she does some literary matchmaking with a guest. They tell her three books they love, one book they hate, and what they are currently reading. Anne in turn gives them three book recommendations. If having a practiced hand giving you personalized recommendations isn’t great enough, Anne’s guests are interesting. Anne has interviewed librarians, booksellers, audio book narrators, bookstagrammers, booktubers, authors, and other book podcasters, among others, who bring an interesting perspective to the conversation. Even those who are “regular readers” have fascinating stories of how they became readers, what books they like, and what fits with their current reading life.

I get a ton of book recommendations I never would have found through Anne’s podcast. I also found several of the future You Oughta Know subjects through the show. My favorite book finds through the podcast are A Man Called Ove and Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, but there are still several more books on my reading list.

Do you listen to What Should I Read Next? What was your favorite episode, guest or book recommendation? Are you a fan of another bookish podcast, blog, YouTube Channel, or product I should feature? Let me know all the things in the comments section.