We watch movies together and read books alone. Even book clubs read books alone – they only talk about them together.
This has always been sad to me. I’ll go read a book, discover something amazing, and then go to tell someone only to remember that if I tell them I will spoil the book for them. So, in the end, I keep it all to myself – unless luck has it that they read the book already.
Last night, however, this sadness started to slowly slip away. I began reading through a book, out-loud, with Antonia, and it was amazing to me. There was such a mysterious wonder to the whole reading: how each word was pronounced; how each page was explored; how we alternated pages as we read. As new concepts, ideas and stories were discovered together such a great beauty came flooding into my mind.
I began to remember my mom sitting down to read C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair to us at our cabin; how I used to read spooky stories to my brothers out-loud; how the scriptures were read out-loud from the pulpit; and how we read ‘popcorn’ style in school – exploring Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Giver, and many others together.
I never thought about it then, but there is such a great wonder in reading books together out-loud. It connects people in a way that they cannot be connected in reading separate books in separate rooms within separate minds with separate voices. From this all I was inspired to want to read great novels out-loud together with someone else; to have someone by my side as I imagine. I just think it’d be beautiful to be able to experience the twists and turns of a story simultaneously with another; to know that you are both journeying through a story together for the very first time.
It is something we should all get in the habit of doing.