I’ve always been a reader but from the very beginning of our relationship it’s one of the things that my husband and I didn’t have in common. I’d sit for hours and read while he’d spend time online, playing a video game, or watching a movie. I’d finish a book and launch in to this long diatribe about, “Omg Brandon…this book was so good!!!” and I’d tell him about the characters, the plotline, the twists and turns…
He’d be so confused, poor guy.
One of my favorite series’ is The Schellendorf Series by Lyn Alexander. It’s a 4-book Historical Fiction series that takes a reader from WWI through the Nuremberg trials. It’s so complex and it’s hard to explain to someone in words although I tried, repeatedly. It was a few weeks ago that I think we finally stumbled upon something when it comes to sharing a love of books and storytelling.
I was reading late in bed one night as he was slowly drifting off to sleep beside me when he whispered, “You can read out loud if you want to. It’d be nice to fall asleep listening to your voice.” and so I did. I started reading The Officer’s Code by Lyn Alexander aloud. He was asleep within minutes…but that didn’t last. Over the next few days as I read out loud at night he started to get more and more invested in to the story.
It’s been a few weeks now and he’s just as in to the story as I am. We are reading together for at least an hour every night and ending up in intense conversations about the book the next day. It’s like our own private book club.
- Did the character make the right decision?
- Do you trust this new lady?
- Why does he put up with that behavior?
- What do you think is going to happen next?
We find ourselves going to bed earlier than ever so that we can read together before falling asleep. It’s a perfect arrangement because I’m able to read my books and he is able to, as he says, “Watch a movie in his mind.” We both win.
Suddenly, we unexpectedly discovered a new way to bond over books, something I’m very passionate about. The book series we are reading right now (The Schellendorf Series from Lyn Alexander) is historical fiction which is one of my favorite genres. It’s not something my husband would typically seek out on his own but he’s really loved these books so far. I’m not surprised though, this is the third time I’ve read this series and I recommend it to literally every single person I meet.
The other night I tried to stop reading when I thought my husband had fallen asleep so I didn’t get too far ahead of him when I heard him mumble, “You’re not stopping are you?” LOL. Obviously he wasn’t asleep when I thought he was, oops! I read for another 15-minutes until he fell asleep for real.
If you want to try our new way of reading and bonding over books I recommend the following tips to get you started:
- Try a neutral genre like historical fiction, mystery, or literary fiction. Leave the war fiction, horror, and romance for another time because right now you should focus on finding a genre you could love together.
- Start out by reading for short periods of time such as 15 or 20 minutes. This allows you to enjoy the book together without requiring that the non-reader put in too much of a time commitment early on.
- Don’t expect too much “book club” style conversation in the beginning. Let interest and questions arise naturally.