How Do You Read?

It’s not officially summer but I’m posting the reading challenge in advance. If you are reading with me this summer, I hope you’ll have enough time to think about your reading list.

I’ve mentioned here that I tend to lean more towards female writers. There are a number of reasons. But the most relevant is that I’ve been working on my debut novel, which deals among other things with roles of women in certain societies. I think I gravitated towards other women writers to learn how they depict strong female characters.

Here’s my question to you. How do you read?

Unedited self stealing a read in between gardening activities.

I invite you to chase diversity with me as we read this summer. So, the challenge is not so much about how many books you read but to think carefully about the books you choose to read.

Chasing diversity means including in your list: books by authors from different backgrounds, cultures, gender, age, time periods, traditional published, indie press, and of course different genres. The challenge start June 1st and end August 31st

So, you get to determine the number of books (in any form) you want to read. Here are some ideas to help you with your list. You don’t have to tick them all but at the end of the challenge, please tell us how you managed to diversify your reading.

  1. From your bookshelf (physical/digital), pick a book you bought but haven’t read yet.
  2. A book in a genre that bores you or don’t care for, and see if your “prejudice” against the genre is well founded.

  3. A book set in a country you’d like to visit or written by an author from that country.
  4. Is there a classic someone was surprised to hear you haven’t read? Ignore that, instead pick a classic you’d like to read.

  5. A book in translation (from any language to the language you’re comfortable reading in).
  6. A nonfiction book on a subject you “know” your friend/sibling/spouse would benefit from reading.

  7. A book from your favourite genre by an author you’ve never heard of.

  8. A book recommended by a friend/colleague/stranger as a must-read.

  9. Sharing snippets or images of your reading experience on social media is optional.

  10.  Recommend at least one book by an author you think we should all read. 

Next week, I’ll post my reading list where you’re welcome to add your link in the comments section, so we all know who is reading with us. Hope you have fun tidying up your bookshelves. 🙂

Oh, I recently came across this reading flowchart, I truly think it’s brilliant!

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. I’m currently listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama. Due to visual impairment I am a very very slow reader. With my retina problems plus cataract I have pretty much gave up on reading traditional books. Type is way too small and my one working eye gets tired easily.

    Mostly I listen to Audio books when I am able. Sometimes I still read my Kindle because I can enlarge the text. However I have to re-read or listen to book chapters over and over. This is Aging. Everything changes as you get older.

  2. I understand DeBorah. I believe reading shouldn’t be rushed anyway. But thanks to Audio books, we can continue to enjoy stories.

    I can’t wait to read Becoming. I’ve saving to read when I have more time.

  3. Great reading challenge Khaya. I just started getting into classics so this summer I will probably be reading mostly male authors since times were different. Recently I was reading just female authors like Margaret Atwood and Gillian Flynn. Entertaining page turners, but I now want to mix things up. I am going to focus on those that make the top 100 lists of books to read before you die.

  4. I’m glad you like the challenge, Val. I, too love classics. I’m presently reading poems by Charles Baudelaire. But yes mixing things up is what I plan to do. I hope you read some of your top 100 with me this summer. 🙂

  5. How do I read? Very randomly! LOL, when I look back at the list of books this year I see I’ve been indulging in a lot of Asian authors. Right now I’m near the end of a 960 page behemoth of a Japanese epic story (Musashi). LOL, I should be done with that before your challenge starts in June. June 1rst I’ll be picking up a ton of new goodies at NYC Bookcon.

    And I am definitely down for playing along with your summer reading challenge!

  6. Your love for all things Asian or let’s say Japanese is admirable and proven by committing to such a long book; a 960-page book. I understand why you read very randomly…lol

    How lovely to be able to pick up some fresh books from the Bookcon! Well timed, I say. Thank you so much for reading along in summer. <3

  7. I read all the time (I have Kindle Unlimited, so it’s really nice to go through books as fast as I want.) Reading is my escape, but I tend to cover most of the bases you already mentioned, except for my well ingrained resistance to non-fiction or self-help books. Ugh, I can’t do it. I’ve done it, I hate it.

    But beyond that… If it’s interesting to me, I don’t care who wrote it or where it takes place or what the original language was, I’m in. I also ended up reading a ton of other books while parenting to get ahead of my kids and be able to discuss things with them as they came up in their reading (I read their books, I mean – NOT books on parenting), so I have a weird and wide mix under my belt; wanna talk trolls and wizards? I’ve got it covered. Political and self-driven drama, I’m there. Sappy romance, I’m your girl. Spaceships, Aye, aye Captain!

    Oh, but I won’t read a tragedy. Nope. Life is too hard already, I don’t need that. I know some people love them, my daughter loves them. They hurt me, if that makes sense?

  8. Hi Kyra! Lovely to see you around. I’m really impressed by your reading taste and habits. It’s lovely to hear that reading is your escape; it’s a wonderful way shut out the noise. If you are an “escapist”, I understand why non-fiction wouldn’t appeal as if often addresses serious subjects. About self-help books, they do get a bad rep. I guess it’s their kinda of preachy approach, and the fact that anyone looking to make a quick buck can up with a number of opinions on a given subject. I think they have their place, if written by an expert in that particular field.

    “ If it’s interesting to me, I don’t care who wrote it or where it takes place or what the original language was, I’m in” Applause! You are a dream reader. Love, love that you also read children’s books, I enjoy them too, and even their TV programmes…LOL! Seriously though, I actually learned about the national epic of Finland, The Kalevala from a children’s book by Mauri Kunnas. His my favourite when it come to children’s stories.

    I also get you about tragedy. “Why must people suffer?” Yet I’m drawn to it just to see good win against evil.

    Wow, what a reader you are! Please join me as I read this summer. 🙂

  9. I am about to start rereading my favorite series (two of which are super long). But… You know me, I’m weak when it comes to reading challenges. So, I might stick 10 or 13 books in the middle and join you for the summer. We’ll see. 😀

  10. Oh, I know how exciting it can be to reread a favourite book. Wishing you lots of fun with your series. As for reading challenge, I promise I won’t exploit your weakness but I’ll be happy just to hear what books you managed to read. 😀

  11. I love that photo of you! Makes me smile!!! Enjoy the reading!! I’ll paint, while you read! LOL! Big Hugs!

  12. Thank you beautiful friend! Yeah, I read anywhere I can. 😀 And yes, I’ll be following your painting as I read. Lots of inspiration to be found in your work. Big Hugs!

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