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Old 03-11-2002, 03:34 PM
CheapBastid is offline
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Read Aloud Couples Book suggestions?


I have a tough request that I'll supplement with some books that have worked for us. My wife and I have fallen out of the habit of reading to each other due to the lack of good material. We started with Clive Barker's Imajica which we both loved and moved on to some Ross Macdonald mysteries (enjoyed before they became repetitive), Kinky Freedman (enjoyed but became very quickly repetitive), a book by James Crumley called The Last Good Kiss was a winner as well. Other memorable hits were: Day After Tomorrow, List of 7, Beekeepers Apprentice, and Perfume.
L.A. Confidential was too much of a struggle with the many characters (we tried to read it before the film came out). The Glass Bead Game was too heady and not engaging enough. It seems to come down to books that have male and female appeal that are engaging enough for stop and start reading for two that work as read aloud books.
I'm hoping someone out there can help us with some suggestions.
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Old 03-11-2002, 03:58 PM
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The Princess Bride was a *huge* "thing" while I was in college. There were parties where people would read it aloud (and the book is even better than the movie!). That's one book I really think the author meant to have read aloud.

I think the Fionavar Tapestry series by Guy Gavriel Kay would appeal to you (actually, any of his books are good for this).

For funny in-between times you could always go with Dr. Seuss.

I'll probably think of many, many more in a little bit..

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Old 03-11-2002, 11:03 PM
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Try "The Golden Gate" by Vikram Seth. It's a novel, but written in verse. My wife and I took turns reading to each other on car trips.
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Old 03-12-2002, 07:58 AM
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My wife and I are hooked on the Harry Potter books.

Really.

Reading them, listening to book-on-tape, the movie, whatever. We ripped the audiobook to mp3 to listen to while browsing the web or gaming or whatever (Jim Dale just nails every character voice in his reading). Try the 1st book and see if you like it... if ya do, there's 3 more (and another coming in May). Between all the books, Rowling keeps excellent continuity through all characters, and each time we go through it we pick up new things & play around with guesswork for what's to come in the next 3 books.

Like Princess Bride, you can have so much fun with the voices, and they've got interesting characters & storylines. And as far as childrens books go... these are made for adults, imo; kids books don't have words like "apoplectic"
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Old 03-12-2002, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Xixox
kids books don't have words like "apoplectic"
Well, she's a Brit.
No offense.
They say "whilst" and stuff.

I think they are children's books because of the "geek is special defeats the bullies/unhappy home" theme, but maybe that, too is a Brit thing, or maybe it's one of those books written for adults to think that children will like.
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Old 03-12-2002, 08:09 AM
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Try Stolen By Gypsies by Noble Smith.
Witty, hilarious, & erudite enough to satisfy Unca Cecil Himself.
A great read!
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:40 AM
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In the vein of suggestions like The Princess Bride, but even a level above (I think), how about Tales of Hoffmann by E.T. Hoffmann? It also sounds great when read aloud...

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Old 03-12-2002, 12:04 PM
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I'm currently on a desperate search to find John Crowley's Little, Big, so the SO and I can read it to one another. I've read the book any number of times, but have always wanted to read it aloud. Beautiful prose, great characters, and it kind of begs to be read in short installments.
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Old 03-12-2002, 12:40 PM
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Hate to ask the obvious question, but: Why would one wish to read a book aloud? I have never heard of this.
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Old 03-12-2002, 01:53 PM
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One reads books aloud for the same reason one listens to music: words, especially words in the hands of a talented writer, are pleasing to hear. Furthermore, experiencing a book as a couple or a group (kinky!) is a bonding experience.

I found that Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) worked well aloud. I suspect that Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady(Florence King) would be endlessly hilarious in when done by someone who could shift seamlessly from a White Tidewater genteel to a Black tidewater genteel to a white tidewater trashy to an educated English accent. Unfortunantly, I can't.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:01 PM
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Ok, thanks Manda. I wasn't trying to be a wiseass, I have just not heard of this before.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:13 PM
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You could try reading Anne Rice's Exit to Eden, and divide the work between the chapters written from Elliott's point of view and the chapters written from Lisa's point of view - although this distinction largely disappears later on in the book.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Debaser
Hate to ask the obvious question, but: Why would one wish to read a book aloud? I have never heard of this.
Because it's great fun. If I have to actually articulate every sentence, I read with much more care and attention to every word.

For practical purposes, I've once been designated reader on a two-week hike where we only brought one book ("The Hobbit") to cut down on weight.

"The never-ending story" is a great read-aloud book. Long, though. "The little Prince" is great, too.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by psiekier
You could try reading Anne Rice's Exit to Eden, and divide the work between the chapters written from Elliott's point of view and the chapters written from Lisa's point of view - although this distinction largely disappears later on in the book.
Or Pauline Reage's Story of O, might be interesting couple reading....

Actually, my husband read Tuesdays with Morrie aloud to me while I was in labor. It was a great way to pass the time, and a fairly quick read.

In the vein of children's books, I would suggest Father's Arcane Daughter by E. L. Konigsburg.
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:26 PM
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I have read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series to my SO twice. He absolutely begs me to read until I become hoarse. We are on the first read of the fifth (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber Voyager, Drums of Autumn, Fiery Cross) in the series now.
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Old 03-15-2002, 01:31 AM
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A couple of my favorite read-aloud couple books:

The Wild Party This one is fun because it's a sex and crime story from the 1920's written entirely in rhyming couplets! Think you can't talk about steamy sex in rhyming couplets? Think again. Try the edition with the Art Spiegelman illustrations for more fun!

Any books by Tom Robbins. His use of language and metaphors begs to be read aloud and shared with someone you love!

And Sufi poetry. Sufi is a mystical sect of Islam which believes that the closest we can get to anything Divine is through human love. The poems are really gentle, often funny, and always profound. And they also just sound good. Look for Rumi and Hafiz as two poets with which to start. (My favorite couple-reading book of all time is The Subject Tonight is Love by Hafiz. Do yourself a favor and track down this book now!)
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Old 03-15-2002, 08:39 AM
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Shakespeare. The comedies in particular are fun. Get two copies of Taming of the Shrew and read to each other. Actually acting out the parts isn't necessary, but does add to the enjoyment.
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Old 03-20-2002, 06:30 PM
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Thank you all!


FYI - we did read through the Harry Potter series together and loved every minute of it (disappointed by the movie).
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Old 03-20-2002, 09:28 PM
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Watership Down by Richard Adams is the first book my SO and I read out loud together. I was amazed at how creepy and exciting it was, given that it's about a bunch of bunnies.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is another great read-aloud book. I read it as a child and never realized just how funny parts of it were until I re-read it as an adult.
Another favorite of mine is When the King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermer. It's set in a world just a hair different from Renaissance Europe and it's a truly lovely story.
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Old 03-20-2002, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Xixox
My wife and I are hooked on the Harry Potter books.

HEY! me and the mister are doing the exact same thing!
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:17 PM
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Mrs. Tygr and I enjoyed reading the back-and-forth correspondence of the Griffin and Sabine books. They are beautiful to look at and a very interesting story as well.

We have the full, single volume Globe Annotated Shakespeare which we bought intending to read together, though we've not done that yet. I actually find that Shakespeare seems easier to "get" when read aloud.

Watership Down is a great idea. Maybe we'll try that.
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Old 03-21-2002, 01:58 PM
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How about The Eye of Argon. Reportedly, no one can read it all the way through out loud without cracking up:

http://www.wulfarchives.com/eyeintro.html
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Old 03-21-2002, 10:49 PM
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My ex-wife read the whole of Brennu-Njalls Saga to me. The book was in Old Norse, but she read it out in English--without using a dictionary. I still marvel at that.
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Old 03-22-2002, 08:08 AM
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If you want more good quality contemporary crime fiction as mentioned in the OP, you might like Carl Hiaasen. (I've recently had some reading-out-loud-to-the-girlfriend success of my own with his book "Native Tongue", so give him a try!)
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Old 03-22-2002, 12:52 PM
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If you liked Imajica, I bet you'd like Gene Wolfe. Start with Litany of the Long Sun, which combines the first two books of the Long Sun series. Really great stuff, in a somewhat similar vein to Barker's Imajica.
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Old 03-22-2002, 06:31 PM
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Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
Why read aloud? Because Drachillix has a sexy voice!
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Old 03-22-2002, 06:48 PM
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I second Carl Hiaasen for fun stuff-- we liked Sick Puppy best.
Yesterday, we read much of Daniel Pinkwater's Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories, it's great if you like dogs. Another collection of amusing essays is David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day. I used to love Farley Mowat. I'm gonna assume you've read Lolita if you like the stuff where the authors just roll in the rythms of their words. Margaret Atwood's Wilderness Tips is a good short story collection. P.G. Wodehouse' Bertie and Jeeves stuff is fun too.
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Old 03-24-2002, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tygr
Mrs. Tygr and I enjoyed reading the back-and-forth correspondence of the Griffin and Sabine books. They are beautiful to look at and a very interesting story as well.

We have the full, single volume Globe Annotated Shakespeare which we bought intending to read together, though we've not done that yet. I actually find that Shakespeare seems easier to "get" when read aloud.

Watership Down is a great idea. Maybe we'll try that.
I forgot to mention Griffin and Sabine, we really loved that series, as the wife is an artist as well. We do have Shakespeare, but the wife was a bit theatre geek in college and worked on so many of the plays that it is kind of moot to re-read them. We might try it anyway.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!
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