Before we got married, I had some sappy couple friends who were constantly reading aloud to each other in public. I turned up my nose at them and told my husband, rather self-righteously, “We’re never going to do that.” Two years into marriage? Well, I can’t always be right…
What started as a road trip diversion, a way to keep from fighting over the music for the entire hour (or twelve hour) long car ride, became a way for us to introduce books to each other. I rarely re-read, even books that I loved, but reading aloud gives me a great excuse to revisit old favorites. We started with The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series, both of which I had read and loved, but my husband had never touched. Then we went on to Roald Dahl, when I explained in great detail why books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were fantastic stories that should never be made into films.
Next, I started craving meatier books. My husband, book lover though he is, has never read some of the classics that I consider must-reads, so I forcefully introduced him to Pride and Prejudice. (Flatteringly, though he has seen the BBC miniseries and the Keira Knightley movie, he told me that the book made much more sense. I like to think that my nerdy historical notes helped.) We are currently working our way through The Great Gatsby and have To Kill a Mockingbird in our read-aloud queue (both classics that my husband has, amazingly, never read).
Recently, I’ve been having my husband read aloud to me. We started with a childhood favorite of his that I had never read: Redwall. I had tried and failed to get through this book as a kid (re: animal stories just aren’t my thing), and he hadn’t touched it in years, so it was neat for both of us to experience together, me for the first time, him as an adult. Now I’m making him read to me from Agatha Christie’s works, again, classic books that had a big impact on me as a teenage reader, but that my husband has never read. We’re starting with The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and next up will be The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I can’t wait!
All of that to say, even though I once swore we would never read aloud to each other, I have found it to be pretty much amazing. It’s a great bonding activity, especially for a bookworm like me. I love connecting over stories that have made an impact on my life, and it’s incredible to see someone experience an amazing story for the first time. (Watching my husband’s reactions to Harry Potter, as someone who had somehow avoided all spoilers, including Snape kills Dumbledore, was fantastic. It gave me a new appreciation for a familiar story.) Plus, it gives me an excuse to re-read books that I loved the first few times around. Reading aloud: it’s not just for kids.
Do any of you read aloud to your significant other, your friends, your siblings, or whoever? What books have you explored together?