Read is an irregular lexical verb. It has the 3rd person inflection "reads" (/ri:dz/), the preterite and past participle are both spelt identically to the base form, i.e. "read" but are both pronounced /red/. The -ing form is "reading" (/ri:dɪŋ(g)/).
The fact that tense is not marked in writing - because present simple and past simple forms are identical, means that tense must be induced from the context, i.e. situation and/or co-text, particularly in the case of the latter, other nearby verbs.
It is an ambitransitive verb that can be used intransitively (e.g. "I read"), or transitively (e.g. "I read a book"). The person to whom one is reading can be indicated with a prepositional phrase beginning with "to", e.g. "I read a book to my son" and this can undergo dative shift, e.g. "I read my son a book".
When “read” is used transitively with an author’s name as the object, it generally means “to look at writing(s) by (the specified person)", e.g. "I have read Shakespeare".
/ri:d/ is a homophone with "reed", and /red/ is a homophone with the colour red - whence the riddle "What's black and white and /red/ all over? - A newspaper."