Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reading Aloud Makes a Comeback at My House

In three short weeks I'll be getting married to a physicist. Needless to say, our tastes in books are wildly different.

As an MFA, I'm required to at least say that I prefer experimental literature, the less comprehensible, the better, with added points going to literature that references french existentialists, incorporates snatches of Urdu poetry or contains sentences which require footnotes.

The fiance prefers genre fiction -- anything with aliens, gadgets, supernatural phenomena or Nero Wolfe.

Lately, we've found a peculiar middle ground: the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris, which stars Sookie Stackhouse, a young cocktail waitress cum telepath who has grit, brains and beauty. Recently, the series was made into an HBO show called True Blood. The books combine vampires, mystery and a little romance novel sensibility.

Rather than watch TV after dinner, we've been reading these novels aloud to each other, and it's proven a wonderful way to spend time together. I find it soothing to listen to his voice, or to talk myself. The act recalls many dinners of my childhood -- my mother used to read to me all the time. We talk all the time about whether Sookie will end up with Bill or Eric (both vampires) and who is behind the latest hijinks that Sookie has stumbled into.

The Sookie Stackhouse books are perfect for reading aloud because they're plot driven. Now that my life is busy with work and book-writing and Fringe, I appreciate being able to simply let a story unfold without exercising too much of my brain power.

We've gotten ourselves in trouble several times by staying up to 2am, desperate to find out what happens next, but it's totally worth it.


Jill said...

I think this is one of the best things I've heard in a long time.

Sam said...

I'm so glad people do this!
Sometimes I daydream about a brooding Hungarian guy who will tell me strange stories in a deep, soothing voice... But um, he's yet to manifest himself into reality.
You are living the dream. Bask in my envy : )

Nellie said...

Thanks so much for this! I'm a huge YA/fantasy fan and I think I am gonna love this. Keep the recommendations coming! Plus reading aloud was always a favorite part of my growing up and I love hearing that others are still doing it. We all should more often!