Like Hannah, I have a healthy addiction to books. Not just that jonesin’ to get back to a good story, but the act of reading, too. Which in my case also includes reading aloud with Joe.
We started this ritual over 18 years ago at bedtime one night when I was feeling some particularly strong tugs of loneliness for my son, Nathan, who lived with his father. Before my divorce I read chapter books to Nathan every night, cuddled up next him in bed as he either got steadily drowsier with each word or jazzed up with the story and begging me to read just a little bit longer. It was such a habit that I found I physically missed it when we were apart, and it was a happy fix when Joe suggested I read aloud to him. When my voice grew hoarse he would take over and I found myself in Nathan’s role; gradually getting sleepy or, more likely in my case, getting ever more alert and into the story, begging for more.
Over the years we’ve gone through nearly all of Stephen King’s books, the Harry Potter series, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, all of Lee Childs’ Jack Reacher novels (thanks to Hannah’s husband, Andy), and countless others. We don’t exclusively read at bedtime anymore, but might grab the book-of-the-moment on our way out the door and one of us will read-shotgun while the other drives, or if one of us has some mundane household task (that doesn’t require too much mental concentration; like, no math!) the other might read, and we’ll switch if need be.
Like Hannah waiting for her fix, I find myself at times during the workday longing to be wedged into the cozy-chair with Joe, as he takes on the different voices of each character with zeal -me whining like a little kid when he slips up and uses the wrong voice… Because we have such fun reading to each other, I think it helps keep us feeling and acting young. It’s good for our relationship, too, because we’re discussing the story with each other, like our own daily book club. It can be an intimate or playful time, as well, like when we come across the titular line…
We still read our own books, too, but the shared experience of reading to each other is its own distinctive pleasure, and has been a strengthening aspect of our relationship. I highly recommend it.