How to Read Widely: A Guide

New Year, New Horizons!

With so many readers looking to challenge themselves to read more widely than ever before in 2017 and beyond, I thought it would be great to take that discussion about why it’s important further to breaking down how this can be accomplished. So…

The goal here is NOT to put checkmarks beside a list or even make this a numbing routine of checking things off a list. The goal here is to show us just how many different ways there are that we can reach outside of our own selves, our own perspectives and see the world by reading with more variety on a surface level and reading with more intersections on a much deeper level.

Mix and match everything below as you please and consider the many different variations for which you can consume art and learn about the world we live in. If there’s something that you feel should be clarified, edited, added, etc…, please do not hesitate to kindly reach out. The text below will be updated accordingly. Thanks so much for reading and sharing. Let’s grow together, guys. Let’s do this!

How to Read Widely: A Guide

Short Story
Graphic Novel

Physical Copy or E-book

Questions to Ask: Have you read a book that you’ve owned since before the current year (2017)? Have you read a book that you’ve bought this year? Have you read a book from the library? Have you read a book that you requested and received from the library? Have you listened to an audiobook with a female narrator? Male narrator? Multiple narrators?


Release Date
– Frontlist (Releasing in the present year. In this instance, newly published books from 2017.)
– Backlist (Released in previous years. In this instance, books published before January 2017.)

Book Length

  • If You Go By Word Count (Note: Search Titles Here): Have you read a book that is 20,000 words, 50,000 words, 80,000 words, 100,000 words, etc..?
  • If You Go By Page Count (Note: Page Count Varies Among Books Due to Formatting): Have you read a book that is under 150 pages? At least 300 pages? At least 500 pages? At least 1,000 pages?
  • Have you listened to an audiobook under 3 hours? Over 10 hours?

Age Category
Middle Grade
Young Adult
New Adult

Fiction Genres
Historical Fiction
Magical Realism

First Person POV
Second Person POV (Note: Here’s a Goodreads List of Suggested Titles)
Third Person POV
Multiple POVs
Female POV
Male POV
Non-binary POV

Present Tense
Past Tense

Novel in Verse
Stream of Consciousness

Duology (2 Book Series)
Trilogy (3 Book Series)
Series (Series With 4 or More Books)

Non-Fiction Genres
Pop Culture
Self Help


Note: Especially consider reading books that fall under the #ownvoices umbrella which is an author writing about a diverse background that they themselves come from and authentically identify with. For example, an African American Female Author writing a book where the main character is an African American Female.

People of Color (POC)
Indigenous People
A Country, A Culture Other Than Your Own
Gender Identity
Religious Minorities
Religious Movements (I.E. Cults)
Disabilities & Disorders (seen and unseen)
Diseases (seen and unseen)
Mental Diseases and Disorders

Big Five & Imprints
Mid-List Publisher
Indie Publisher
Self Published


  • Read a novel that has been translated into your native language.
  • Read a book in which another language is present and respectfully does not italicize the dialogue.
  • Read a novel in a language other than your own if you are trying to learn a new language or already know another language.

Other Elements To Consider

  • Have you read a novel with a romance? A love triangle?
  • Have you read a book where the family dynamic was the main component (mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, father-son, siblings, multiple generations, blended family dynamic, etc)? Have you read a book where friendship was the main relationship dynamic?
  • Have you read a book with an ensemble cast?
  • Have you read a book in which the villain was the main character?
  • Have you read an author’s work under their pen name if they have published other books under a pen name?
  • Have you read a book written by a woman of color? Have you read a graphic novel written by a woman of color? Have you read a graphic novel illustrated by a woman of color?
  • Have you read a book that was written by a celebrity and not a ghostwriter for the celebrity?
  • Have you read a book written by an author you discovered at a panel (convention, conference, book signing panel, etc…)
  • Have you read a book written by an author under the age of 25?
  • Have you read more books this year that haven’t been adapted into movies/TV shows than books that have?
  • Have you read books by debut authors (authors releasing their first book)?
  • Have you read that book club pick that you said you read but never did?
  • Have you read an “issue” book or a banned book?
  • Have you read a book that has been honored? (Example: Newbery Medal Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree)
  • Have you read a book that became a NYT Bestseller in the present year (in this case, 2017)?
  • Have you read a book that’s older than you are?
  • Have you read a book that was recommended to you?
  • Have you read a book that you found while browsing a book store?
  • Have you read a book listed on your local library’s Summer Reading list?
  • Have you read books set in various areas of your own country? (Starting Resource for US Readers: Epic Reads United States of YA)
  • Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Holiday Themed Books)
  • For Fun: Have you read enough books to the point where you can go name a book from A to Z by book title and/or by author name (by first name or last name)?
  • For Fun: Colors of Covers (Based on the covers, have you read all of the colors of the rainbow if you line up all of the books you’ve read?)

How do you plan to read widely this year and moving forward?