The way to my heart is not with candy, flowers, or cards. To woo me, you must read to me.
Bonus points for special voices.
On this Valentines Day, I’m celebrating the intimacy of reading aloud with a loved one. When I discovered my new beau liked this activity, his potential boyfriend-worthiness scorecard shot up 50 points. Our first read-aloud book has been Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple. This hilarious send-up of upper-middle-class Seattleites often renders us incapacitated with hysterical laughter. And I ask you – what is more intimate than deep, belly rumbling laughter with your steady?
My love for reading aloud did not originate in a romantic context, however. As a kid, my mom religiously parked her brown folding director’s chair in the space between my brother’s and my bedroom every night for story time. This ritual saw us through all the children’s series heavies: The Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder; The Indian in the Cupboard, and The Borrowers among others.
In grade four, my best friend and I read Maud Heart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series aloud to each other after school. In university, we read the local newspaper aloud in the morning over coffee and found time to read the massive Marion Zimmer Bradley fantasy classic, The Mists of Avalon, out loud to each in our tiny college rental.
To me, there is nothing more delightful than taking the private pleasure of reading into a shared realm of mutual imagination with someone you love — whether it’s cracking up over the side-splitting misadventures of Bernadette Fox, weeping together over the death of a beloved Arthurian knight, or jointly cajoling mom to read “just one more chapter! Just one more chapter!”
And if they can do the voices? You might just have a keeper.