Five Minute Read Aloud

Image By Rebecca Angel

My husband is a night person. I’m a morning person. We try to connect as best we can, but he doesn’t really want to chat as he’s trying to leave for work, and my sociability is over by the time he comes home at night. Lunchtime would be perfect for us, but alas, our schedules don’t allow a regular lunch date. We usually catch up on the weekend, but I want us to have more shared experiences together. Last year I figured out a way to get my face into his world on a daily basis: online videos.

His Christmas present last year was a series of short videos I would make for him to watch over lunch. I kept them five minutes or less so he had no excuse (I know he rarely takes a lunch break, but eats in his office). I read him a poem or sang a song or found an interesting quote. I uploaded daily for the month of January, making several at a time since I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to record each day. He really enjoyed it, commenting when he came home in the evening.

This year I decided to be a little more ambitious: we are going to read a book together… in five minute increments. When my husband and I first met we bonded over the fantasy and science fiction books we both enjoyed. A fellow nerd! Alas, once he started his PhD program twenty years ago, reading for fun went by the wayside. I think he’s read one or two novels since. (Our kids have bought him short story collections, which he enjoys.) Even if it takes half a year (or more?), I’m going to read him a book. A fantasy book. An EPIC fantasy book; one that I haven’t read either. I will record videos of myself reading out loud and upload them for his lunchtime viewing pleasure.

I haven’t decided on the book yet. Way back when, his favorite series was Shannara. That’s a classic, epic fantasy. (It has recently ended.) Lately he has been enjoying the short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, which is more contemporary and contemplative fantasy. So I’m not sure exactly what he will like best. I have some ideas.

The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is one of my favorite books, with rich language and beautiful characters. This new one has fantasy overtones to it, but I’m not sure it is my husband’s style.

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher. I adore the Harry Dresden Files, so I know the writing will be good. Can’t say the description really catches my attention (why I haven’t picked it up before) but my husband might like it.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has gotten a lot of good reviews and attention from readers I respect. It doesn’t sound like there is real magic involved but more “magical realism,” which I just don’t know is up my husband’s alley.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. The second book in this series came up second place on GoodReads best books of the year, so I’m guessing it’s good. The premise sounds intriguing. Hm…

Suggestions? Opinions?

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3 thoughts on “Five Minute Read Aloud

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I highly recommend Furies of Calderon. It is an engrossing read and will most definitely result in you picking up the other 5 books in the series. Butcher weaves a deeply intriguing narrative that really draws you into the book. The true history of the book is based around a dare that was made and while I won’t ruin the concepts. You can really feel the inspiration as you complete the series. This book series probably rates in my top 3 favorites of all time, even better then the dresden files.


  2. My family and I are all suckers for all things dragon, so I would recommend the Temeraire series by Naomi Watts, starting with His Majesty’s Dragon.

    It’s alternate historical fiction which takes place during the Napoleonic wars, but there are dragons. Not quite fantasy, but it’s quite epic.

  3. Great gift idea. Did you decide yet? I’m a big fan of reading aloud, and miss my regular audience member! Have you looked for something by Terry Pratchett? Or have you read all of his? I also love Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, cuz I’m a YA reader!

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