1. Try a can't-put-downer. This might seem like a no-brainer, but there really is no better motivation to read than a book that practically harpoons you to come and unravel it. I love a book that makes me want to stay up all night because I need to know what happens next. Mysteries, crime novels, even just really engaging romance--these are all fair game. And why exactly are we so ashamed of read em' once and throw em' away paperbacks? Jason Bourne novels shouldn't comprise your entire reading list, but not every book we read has to be a classic. Just saying.
The books: And Then There Were None, The Westing Game, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, any and all novels seen advertised on the subway.
2. Read a book with segments. This is really useful--if a book has the plot construction that allows for separate, non-correlating sections, it provides a safe immersion of reading. This kind of book gives you a satisfying amount of text to chew through, but if you value your sleep or have a tightly packed schedule, a good sized section can be done in one sitting--on your commute, perhaps, or at breakfast. There's no pressure--if you're looking to get back into the reading scene, this is a good way to start.
The books: Nine Stories, My Ears Are Bent.
3. Read an old favorite author's new release. This one is a nice compromise. Sometimes it can be great to read something new--it's motivating, and there's none of that stagnate disinterest that comes when you read the same old thing all the time. But it's also a little scary. An author that you've previously enjoyed comes out with a new release--here's a way to get your new and different fix without plunging all the way in. Series continuations or spinoffs work well here.
The books: The Impossible Knife of Memory (so excited for this one!), The Circle, Dreams of Gods & Monsters.
If you're not afraid to be fully saturated in new-ness, you can try a totally new genre to shake things up. You may have said you're not a science fiction reader, but (like me) the right book could totally change your mind (the ridiculously amazing Ender's Game was that book for me). Go ahead and try the opposite of what you usually like--it's an easy and super fun way to get you jumpstarted into reading again. Make sure that what you chose is a highlight of its genre--one bad book is a terrible reason for you to swear off an entire genre.
Some ideas: historical fiction for the science fiction reader, romance for the crime novel reader, non fiction for the fantasy reader. If you usually read
5. Look for the story. Find a book that gets you excited about reading again. Not every good book lends itself to analysis--some greats were just made to be a wild, enjoyable romp.
The books: The Twenty-One Balloons, Zipped.
Reading can sometimes seem like a big ball of stress and pressure. But it doesn't have to be like that at all. We got into this for the fun--a good time, and a little bit of thought provocation, should be the ultimate end game of a successful reading experience.