2020 READING CHALLENGE TIPS

It’s a new year and you’ve made some resolutions, one of them being “read more” and you’ve joined a reading challenge but now what? It’s easy to say “just pick up a book and read” but that only works if you’re a seasoned reader.

Reading is a fun and numinous habit with many benefits and like any habit, it’s a process. Whether you like ebooks, audiobooks or the good ol’ paperback, here are some tips to help you get started:

  • BE REALISTIC

So you’ve read that billionaires and many other successful people read x books a day or year and in order to “be successful” you need to read that many as well? Well, you wouldn’t start with a marathon just to get into running right?

Reading requires setting realistic goals that you can achieve slowly, start with a book a month or every two months until you get used to this new reading habit.

  • MAKE A LIST

What kind of books do you want to read? Classics? Contemporary fiction? YA or a mix with South African writers or some bestsellers or even books by women? Making a list of books creates order and creates a sense of accountability.

  • SET ASIDE A SUITABLE TIME

Look at your daily and weekly schedule and set some time aside dedicated to reading, this can be early in the morning, in the afternoon or just after you’ve tucked the kids into bed. This allows you to look forward to diving right into your book.

  • READING TARGET

It’s important that you set a target of how much reading you want to get done during your “reading time”. It can be anything from a page to a chapter or even more, but again, be realistic about how much you want to get done to allow the information to sink in and for you to truly enjoy the book.

  • NO DISTRACTIONS

Probably the most important part of reading is to ensure that your mind doesn’t wander. Find a space where you are calm and comfortable and won’t end up doing something else (or sleeping). Complete all nagging tasks beforehand and ditch the technology.

  • RESEARCH

If you’re still unsure on what to read:

  • BONUS… DON’T BREAK THE BANK

In the current economic climate, it’s almost impossible to buy books, so if you “just want to read” rather than own the book, here are some ideas:

  • visit your community library
  • legal sites where you can download books to your device
  • second-hand book shops (they have so many gems and some even buy back books that you brought from them for a third of the next purchase)
  • join book-swap sites

Happy reading!

ABOUT: Yacoob Manjoo


Yacoob Manjoo is a writer, blogger, husband, and father of two. Writing is his passion, and sharing beneficial knowledge and insights has been a pillar of his life for more than a decade. An anthology of his poetry and prose is due for publication in late 2019. He writes at dreamlife.wordpress.com.

Two of his poems are featured in The Coinage Book Two. “Summer Daze” was written on the last day of the year, after his first-born has completed her first year of pre-school. The poem is a reflection on his own childhood summer holidays, along with the anxieties of the coming school year – all of which was evoked when considering that my child was now in the same cycle we all went through – enjoying a well-earned rest, yet part of the system that would take her from childhood to adulthood, training her for life.

Contrary, “Rooftops” is an escapist poem where the poet reflects on rooftops as places to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life; a quiet space to reflect and get some perspective – reminding oneself of the bigger picture, and allowing one’s eyes – both the physical and spiritual – to envision what lies beyond the invisible walls of one’s regular existence.

Order a copy of The Coinage Book Two here.

ABOUT: TWD Mohapi

TWD Mohapi has written many books of varying genres including poetry, short stories, folklore and novels. Although he started writing poetry in English, he has only ever been published in his mother-tongue, Sesotho, resulting in an illustrious literary career spanning 30 years. His many accolades include the Thomas Mokopu Mofolo Award for the poetry anthology, Bophelo ba Ka (1992) and the M-NET Literary award (African languages category – Sesotho) for the novel Lehlaba la Lephako (2002). In 2002, he received a Certificate of Honour for his contribution in promoting and developing Sesotho Literature in the Free State province.

He has travelled widely and led a South African literary delegation on an expedition to China visiting the Chinese Writers Association. In 1996 he founded the Sesotho Writer’s Association (MoabaSesotho) and served as its chariman until 2006. When he is not writing, he edits and translates literary manuscripts for various publishing houses.

 

Read more about him here.

Order The Coinage Book Two here 

ABOUT: Ronelle Hart

Ronélle Hart was born in 1961 in Pretoria but was raised and attended school in Nigel. She completed her BA in English and Psychology in 1983,  and later her MA in Psychology at the University of Johannesburg. Ronelle has been working as a psychologist in private practice in Johannesburg for the last 23 years. She has always loved writing and how words and stories tell about who we are, and how they shape our every awareness, deepening our engagement with life. She writes about personal memory, food, relationships, and the experience of therapy. She mainly blogs about psychological issues and has had some of her poetry published in local and international literary magazines. Several of her food memoir pieces have appeared in popular food magazines in SA. She has two adult sons, one baby granddaughter and is married to a jazz saxophonist. She is a contributing author to the Life Righting Collective’s “This Is How It Is” anthology, which came out in print form in 2018.

Her memoir, Magnolia Season, tells of the death of her mother of late-diagnosed, terminal cancer 17 years ago, and the almost simultaneous dissolution of her marriage, reflecting on time and place and season.

To read this touching story and more, order a copy of The Coinage Book Two here.

ABOUT: Thibedi Mokgokong

Thibedi Mokgokong is a poet who discovered writing through the strain of living in a house where “a child is seen but not heard.” Poetry was a way to express complex and suppressed emotions in a verbose but quiet manner. The weight in his poetry comes from words and expressions long kept but never spoke.

Thibedi found himself picking a degree to study post-matric haphazardly, merely going by what was then called an M-score. He was accepted into the University of Johannesburg to study a BA degree in Psychology in 2006 and went in to work in insurance.
His poem, “Lobola”, was published in The Coinage Book One.
Two of Thibedi’s works are featured in The Coinage Book Two. In his poem, “Made of Clay”, he explores a person’s ability to adapt to a changing society regardless of the conditions they face. While the short story, “Lighthouse” is rebellion against a corrupt government by non-political individuals and ramifications thereof.  It also highlights the dire indirect effects that the rebellion has on the relatives of such individuals, namely the children and spouse.
Most of Thibedi’s flash fiction and poetry is available to peruse here.

ABOUT: Jeannie Wallace Mckeown

Jeannie Wallace McKeown lives in Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) and works full-time at Rhodes University. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes, and has had poems published in New Coin, New Contrast, Poetry Potion, Aerodrome and other literary journals. Her work appears in the anthologies Voices Of This Land 2nd Edition, For Rhino in a Shrinking World, the EU Sol Plaatjie collections VII and VIII, and on the AVBOB Poetry website. She is the mother of two boys, has just the perfect number of cats, and a dog who wasn’t planned but is now an integral part of the family. Her collection, Unremembered Poems, will be published by Modjaji Books in 2019.

Her poem “Even-Handed” is featured in The Coinage Book Two. It is a simple and beautifully written reflection on the concurrent exploration, experimentation, growth and change within ourselves and others.

ABOUT: Christine Coates

“City Swim”  and “Learning to Drive” both explore both loss and grief. The poet uses her imagination and magical thinking to cope with the loss of her father, eventually coming to some sort of acceptance of this loss.
In “Carrot Juice for Ma Coates”, Abbi’s mother becomes sick with cancer,  Abbi visits her to support and help look after her. She becomes frustrated when her mother thwarts her attempts to feed her fresh carrot juice and other nutritious foods. Abbi recalls a time when she was a student and how a friend, Lydia, invited her home for the weekend. She remembers the strained relationship Lydia had with her mother and their issues around food and weight. Abbi reflects on how, as teenagers, they both longed for independence, to fly towards freedom. As Abbi begins to accept her mother and allow her to be the way she is, she appreciates the close relationship and support her mother has always given her. Ultimately she is able to let go and allow her mother to fly.

ABOUT: Mandisi Nkomo

Mandisi is a South African writer, drummer, composer, and producer. He currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa.

His fiction has been published in the likes of Afrosf: Science Fiction by African Writers, and Omenana. His poetry has been published in The Coinage Book One, and his academic work featured in The Thinker. He is also a proud charter member of the African Speculative Fiction Society.

Recently, Mandisi has been experimenting with speculative poetry with a focus on fantastical, science fiction and/or elements of horror. His poem, “Black Hole Fugue” explores the theme of change through the ups and downs of anxiety and depression. While the poem itself is not precisely science-fiction, there is a clear allusion to black holes, and the almost fugue state of depressive episodes. Much like the current science around black holes states, a depressive episode can feel like a time warp, where something is sucking you in (the gravitational pull of a black hole sucks in all matter, including light), and you don’t know what’s on the other side.

For updates and information on Mandisi’s writing and musical endeavours, follow him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. He also runs a blog under his alias, The Dark Cow.

 

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