[ adapted from my comments to rkbookreviews on his review of the book Stop What You’re Doing And Read This by Carmen Callil, Nicholas Carr, Jane Davis, Mark Haddon, Blake Morrison, Tim Parks, Michael Rosen, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson, Dr. MaryAnne Wolf, & Dr. Mirit Barzillai ]
It does sound like a good book. I liked your notes on the Dr. Jane Davis essay.
I find that I become a cheerleader for my favorite books, always trying to get my friends to read them. This rarely works … but I’ve found a different way to share my beloved stories: reading them aloud.
My roommate and I would take turns reading while the other cooked or washed dishes. It turned an unpleasant chore into an enjoyable social activity, something we would actually look forward to each night. I ended up reading the entire Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and many others.
Reading aloud resolved all the problems I’ve encountered when trying to share books with friends:
- She actually read (well, heard) the book.
- I got to enjoy her enjoyment.
- We could stop at any point and discuss the situation (Ever notice that book club members never seem to be “on the same page”?).
- And it provided a shared vocabulary/mythology for us to communicate with.
I’m also a semi-professional traveling companion, frequently conscripted to copilot on road trips. On a 15-day, 5000-mile junket out West (USA) with a guy friend, we averaged 300 miles a day — all after dinner. While he drove through the dark, I read aloud Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, and selections from The Winnie the Pooh Library (especially the poetry) by A.A. Milne.
It all began with a boyfriend with an artistic flair (future movie maker) who read aloud what has become my favorite fiction novel: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, complete with voices and sound effects! How better to share the book than to have it brought to life right in my mind? I still feel his personality coming through in the title character when I reread it.
The books that speak to us are windows to our souls — I can’t imagine having an intimate relationship (romantic or platonic) without sharing our literary lives as well.
I will definitely have to read Stop What You’re Doing And Read This so I can explore other ways to enjoy my reading and share that enjoyment with others.
Thank you for reviewing this book,