Have you ever read a story that you found so touching you were dying to share?
Now, by “touching,” I mean a story that touched you in an immediate way—heartwarming… or… horrifying. One that tweaked your last nerve? Or your funny bone?
Moved you to tears… or pissed you off? Curled your toes beneath the sheet… or effectively caused the side of your exposed neck to tingle with invisible monster breath?
A book you really really wished someone else was reading at the same time as you so you could share?
When that happens, I scour reviews looking for a kindred reaction. One star or five star depending on the validation I seek. Book clubs, like reviews, are fine, but you rarely discuss during the reading. Sometimes I just need to be able to spill the spoiler! (but without having anything spoiled for me)
My husband and I often read books at the same time. Usually, he has the audio version and I have the hard copy. It’s not exactly the same, but close enough to where you can remember what it is you (I) wanted to scream about by the time the other person (him) gets there.
We like to listen to an audio book at bedtime. Sometimes it takes us half a dozen replays to both get through an entire cd without falling asleep. It’s good to have two sets of ears though; we fill in each other’s gaps. (I do not recommend doing this with abridged versions!) It’s pretty equal, too, considering that despite his always falling asleep sooner, I rarely remember anything until reminded.
Right now we are both reading Ringworld by Larry Niven in paperback. A single borrowed copy. That’s kind of tricky because, like most reading couples, we typically read at the same time. What’s happened with Ringworld is that he reads a few pages and tucks his bookmark. Then I’ll read a few pages, enough to get past him, and I’ll mark my page. Then he reads then I read, back and forth. It’s become more about whose bookmark has the lead than what the story is about! (For the record, I’m winning.)
We’re both listening to Ghost Story by Jim Butcher in our cars. A single copy, but the difference is there are multiple discs to share. (I’m also winning.) When I have an audio book, if I’m in the car, I’m listening. His listening gets interrupted by passengers, music, and *ugh* talk radio. (Seriously, I’d rather listen to the worst audio book ever, or the squee of feedback, than call-in radio.) Because I am several discs ahead of him, he leads conversations with where he is in the story. And oftentimes, I wait with baited breath and urge with silent “hurry-ups” (don’t you have somewhere to go?!) for him to get to a certain part so we can talk about it.
It’s fun to be able to discuss the various parts of the story. It’s interesting to see what sticks out in his mind versus what resonates with me. We read differently, for obvious reasons, and his insight helps me be a better reader. And writer, I hope.
I’m in a book club, Writers as Readers, and I really enjoy it. It gets me to read books I might not otherwise choose. It’s a diverse group of women who are writers of various genres. We have in-depth discussions about all sorts of literary points and after only a few months and book selections, I already feel smarter. Being writers affects our views, I know I am much quicker to be critical. Because we discuss afterwards, we lack that immediate interaction some chapters require but we all take good notes so we can share our reactions.
Ironically, our group is split this month reading two separate books by the same author. Darn you Terry Brooks and your “every book is titled Shannara.”
I highly recommend that, if you can, you read together with someone. I promise you will get much more out of the story, and your relationship. It may be a challenge to see who gets what when, but if you can figure out a system, it’s worth it.
A recent read with lingering urgency for me… The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
Call me, we’ll discuss!