A Staggering Amount Of Americans Didn't Read A Book In The Last Year

According to a new release from the Pew Research Center, nearly one in four Americans has not read a book in the last year. Twenty-four percent of adults surveyed said that they had not picked up a novel or nonfiction title in the last 12 months. It hurts my little book-nerd heart to type that, but it's true. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways you can get back on the reading wagon if you've fallen off of it over the past year or more, and I've listed them for you below.

Although the news that almost one quarter of American adults haven't read a book in the last 12 months might come as a shock, it's better news than you might think. Pew reports that "[t]he share of non-book readers hit a high point of 27% in 2015," and the numbers are better now than they were in 2016. When you break down the data, you also see that women and young people are still reading more than men and older generations. Whether or not a person has read a book in the last year is still determined in large part by race, class, and education level, however, which aligns with previous Pew reports on public library usage across demographics.

Take it from someone who spent years reading way less than she should have: if you haven't read a book in a while, getting back on the wagon is super easy. Check out the five ways I've highlighted for you below:

Pick Out A Few Super Short Books

Short reads are a great way to get back into the swing of things after a reading slump. Pick out a few books you can finish in a day, or pick up a couple of novels to read on your next weekend off.

Join A Book Club

Joining a book club exposes you to new titles you might not have thought to read before, and has the added bonus of giving you a group of other people who can hold you accountable for not reading the book each month. Find one at your local library or bookstore, or check out one of the many online book clubs that you can join for free.

Read The Latest Bestseller

I know that some book nerds might balk at the idea of reading whatever book happens to be selling well at the current moment, but keeping yourself up to date on bestsellers gives you the opportunity to talk to your friends and co-workers about popular fiction and nonfiction, and those conversations incentivize you to keep reading. Check out the most current New York Times Best Sellers here.

Tackle A Reading Challenge

No matter how long you've been out of the reading game, a good reading challenge is sure to perk up your bookish senses. Goodreads offers a freeform, annual reading challenge that allows you to track the total number of books you've read in a calendar year. For those who want something a little more structured, Book Riot and POPSUGAR have excellent options. If none of those tickle your reading fancy, check out this list of 50 DIY reading challenges you can start on A.S.A.P.

Crack Open The One Book You've Always Wanted To Read

I firmly believe that every person, no matter how much or how little they read, has one book that stands out in their mind as The Book I Will Read Someday. It's their personal white whale. Hell, it might even be Moby-Dick. If you have one of these books on your shelves, commit to reading it right now. Even if it takes you the rest of this year to complete, you'll still be doing better than the 24 percent of Americans who didn't read a book in the last 12 months.