Reading is largely considered a solo activity. Something you would do on a quiet night. Maybe the last hour before you go to sleep. And I do recognize the beauty of curling in a good armchair and diving into a good novel… that moment when real life fades and your imagination runs wild, recreating the shapes, smells and sounds described in the words you read. And until I discovered Audible, I couldn’t help but wonder…why don’t people do this together more often?
Many years ago, before I even knew how to read, my older sister used to read to me. One bedtime story every night. My favorite was Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, I loved that story. It made me fall in love with reading. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my sister and I, in our tiny bedroom that we shared all our lives, reading that story.
Being a few years older than I am, my sister quickly lost interest in this ritual. She didn’t want to read to me anymore. I was too young then…not even in kindergarten. But she decided to teach me how to read anyways. She is a natural teacher, my sister. And I, an eager student. So I started reading alone at the age of 4, which felt nice when my teachers found out in Kindergarten, but still, felt a lot lonelier than sharing the experience with someone. Until my baby sister grew up a little and started requesting her favorite bedtime story 🙂
Growing up, always a bookworm of course, I couldn’t help noticing that my favorite books are the ones my family or friends have given me while I was sick, or going through hard times. Even though I read them alone, they maintain the comforting quality. They become my go-to books. And that is because they were given to me in order to comfort me. Have you noticed that you never read a book/author that your ex introduced you to?
About two years back, my brother subscribed for Amazon’s Audible. He likes to read as well, but he doesn’t have the time for it. That, and the horrible traffic jams every morning made audiobooks the perfect solution for people like him. At the time, I used to intern at the same place that he worked, so we drove to work together every morning. And so, I was given the chance to listen to a favorite book with a loved one again. It felt incredible. We listened to business and fiction books and loved to discuss them in our free time. It’s an incredible app, so is masmoo3 for Arabic books.
What I mean to say is, reading doesn’t have to feel so lonely. It can be very intimate, when parents read to their kids, or when a couple read out loud to each other, or when two best friends read their favorite Harry Potter book together!
I hope that, now, with the introduction of Audiobooks, people will begin making those beautiful memories again. I cannot explain how closer I have become to my siblings and friends because of books. Reading is not boring, and if you think it is, you simply haven’t found the right book yet. Don’t give up, maybe have someone read to you! Like Cath and Levi in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl 🙂