Reading aloud, reader reports

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

In which reading aloud is not so innocent an activity….

Kind reader Rachelle reports:

I’ve long had a fantasy of having Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness read aloud to me by a man with a sonorous voice … a voice such as Sean Connery’s.

And reader Susan Ramsey reports:

When we were first married and living two and three hours, respectively, from our parents (you have children in self-defense in these circumstances, a desperate ploy which after two years enables you to stay home at Christmas) we spent a lot of time shuttling back and forth across the width of Michigan.

What got us through was Dickens, particularly David Copperfield and then The Pickwick Papers. Laughing together is a great bonding technique and Dickens gives you an early start on family jokes if you’re lucky enough to be married to someone with a gift for apposite quotation. (Wayne used to go flying out the back door of our first apartment to chase the squirrell off the birdfeeder hollering “Janet, donkeys!”) And a long car trip means you make it through the thin early Pickwick chapters to where Sam Weller shows up and kick-starts the Dickens career.

One other advantage of reading Dickens out loud is that you’re less likely to skim. I had never really read the whole scene of the storm preceding the shipwreck, with David’s arrival in town the day before, but slowing it down to an out-loud pace makes it clear that this is the best disaster film ever conceived. (They never include that scene in the filmed versions, of course.)

And then, dear readers, she threatened to find her husband, tie him to a chair, and…read to him. That sounds like a delightful way to spend an afternoon. Dickens, a chair, a gag, and thou.


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