Book Bingo: Read Out Loud

Join The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our 2nd annual Summer Book Bingo for adults! Follow us throughout the summer for reading suggestions based on each category.

It is no surprise to anyone around the library that I love to read out loud. They even let me do it in public, twice a month! My wife and I used to read big novels aloud together – All the King’s Men, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov – and we’ve just started on Stephen King’s Dark Tower books – though these are hardly titles I’d suggest to those working on their Book Bingo cards. Parents or grandparents already reading aloud to children get a freebie with this square, but for others this category may be among the most challenging. A century or more ago, people read aloud regularly, as Verlyn Klinkenborg writes:

…recapturing the physicality of words. To read with your lungs and diaphragm, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The language becomes a part of the body, which is why there is always a curious tenderness, almost an erotic quality, in those 18th- and 19th-century literary scenes where a book is being read aloud in mixed company. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading.

For this reason, reading aloud can be a wonderful form of intimacy with a loved one. But what to read? Here’s a great recent blog post with one writer’s suggestions, including Peter S. Beagle’s charming fantasy The Last Unicorn and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. And here are some additional suggestions of my own:

Don’t have a person or a pet handy to read to? Check out an audiobook, and let Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Juliet Stevenson, Claire Danes, Kate Winslet, Patti Smith or Alan Cumming read aloud to you. 

   – Posted by David W.

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