The Intimacy Of Reading Aloud


It shouldn't just be for kids at bedtime, Chloe Angyal insists; lovers benefit as well. Upon learning that her boyfriend had never read Pride and Prejudice, they read it together:

It wasn't always in bed. Sometimes it was over tea or in a park. Austen's chapters are short, and we would read one apiece before passing the book back over. As I had predicted, he loved her arch observations and dry commentary, and interjected, "Oh god, this guy is the worst!" whenever Mr. Collins delivered one of his long, obsequious monologues. After we were done with Pride and Prejudice, we moved on to one of his favorites that I had never read, Neil Gaiman's Good Omens. As he had predicted, I loved Gaiman's witty dialogue and his delightfully complicated plot.

Beyond the books themselves, though, there was the joy of hearing them read by the man I loved. I giggled at the voices that he came up with for Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the motley crew of kids in the quarry. We stayed up late into the night, and he listened as I occasionally stumbled over long or obscure words. It was so intimate. I lay in bed, eyes closed, falling deeper in love, as he brought new depth and shade with his voice to characters I had known well for years.

(Image from book artist Thomas Allen)