Over the years, my first book’s readers have told me, “You know, Gina, the only thing that really made a difference for us was sitting down and reading your book, out loud and together.”
I liked the idea of my husband and I reading a book aloud, together. But the last book I’d want to read aloud is that book. Dio Mio! Can you imagine how many drafts I read? Hundreds! And my long-suffering husband…he read every page at least twice.
Instead, we selected a book I’d gifted him for Christmas: Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl.
Every Sunday morning, we spend about an hour sitting in the garden, reading, and talking about what we’ve read. “Can you imagine living with a barn owl in your bedroom, for years?” and “Gross. Where did she find all those mice to kept him fed?”
That’s us (above), with my husband, Dr. Goat (below), reading. Our flock of goldfinches feeds nearby. We could swear that, between mouthfuls of sunflower seed, they are listening to story hour. My garden is looking raggedy, stretched beyond it’s drought-tolerant limits. But there’s still a bit of color.
I love this time. We marvel at the lengths the author went to to care for, and learn about, this quirky owl. We learn fascinating details about owl behavior. And we slow…..down.
Have you and your partner tried reading any book aloud? How did it go?
9 thoughts on “The Couple That Reads Together”
We don’t read together, mostly because we read so differently. I love books, and they are one of the few things for I have to be mindful of hyperfocus. In my Goodreads reviews, level of sleep deprivation is often a measurement of a book’s quality.
Sometimes I read to my husband from a book that would mutually interest us, but he usually sees this as an interruption (which it is — it never occurs to me to wonder whether this is a good time to talk about my book). He does it, too, talking to me at length about every detail of his current audiobook. I daresay his audible subscription is one of the biggest sources of joy in his life. I recently got him addicted to podcasts, in some ways just to save money because he was going through so many audiobooks 😛
Now, I wish a book titled “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adult ADHD” wasn’t gathering so much dust on his nightstand. Maybe I’ll have to read that one to him in bed…ha!
That sounds like a great idea, Jaclyn—if he has insomnia! 🙂
I mean, the book is solid. I refer to it often. Not knocking the book at all. Just well, it’s probably not the best bedtime reading. And yes, I knew you were kidding.
Hey, maybe we should create a line of Bedtime Reading for ADHD Couples. 😉
Dr. Math says he doesn’t need to read online news; he’s certain I’ll tell him anything of importance. 😉 (ENFP here, for the win!)
At the start of our ADHD quest, we typically bought two copies of every book, beginning I think, with your book Gina, “Is It You, Me or ADD?” We read together, but it could be an arduous process with many fits and starts reflecting my spouse’s ambivalent denial, like trying to get the kids to eat their broccoli once or twice a week even when they’re old enough to know it’s good for them.
Initially he was convinced he had ADHD after scoring high on every casual test he took, acknowledging that it certainly explained a lot about him, then quickly lapsing into skepticism when it meant he might have to reconsider the way he did and reacted to things.
One of the most valuable benefits to reading the ADHD literature together was that, for a long time, it was the only way that he came to understand the ways that his ADHD affected me. He never got that through me telling him about it or explaining it to him, he never saw my pain or suffering, he couldn’t get that there were TWO people involved. That idea meant that I still wasn’t understanding HIM. Anyway, reading the direct experience of ADHD partners started explaining my life to him, and for that I am eternally grateful!
Thank you for your insightful-as-always comment.
It’s true. The issues often don’t become “real” until an outside source validates them.
That also goes for adults with ADHD, when they first encounter an Adult ADHJD discussion group, and it goes for their partners in their group. When it comes to ADHD, in oneself or a loved one, everyone seems to doubt their own perceptions—or want to attribute them to something else—until they hear so many others repeating similar perceptions.
We read and share things we see online. I often talk about articles I’ve read, he likes to share funny things and jokes 🙂
And I get lots of pictures of goats. 😉
We read together almost every night. DH loves to read, but doesn’t do it very often on his own because he hyper-focus’s on the book and can’t stop reading….not even to eat.
I love to read – novels, history, biographies, science, etc…I find many things I want to share with him and will sometimes just read him portions of what I’m reading, but for something special…..
We have almost finished ALL of the Outlander series of books AND short stories. These are huge books that he would never read on his own, but he has almost singularly read all 9 novels (average 1000 pages or so) AND in a Scottish accent too. 🙂 It has been great fun, but that’s about to end.
We’ve read together many Terry Prachett books, all of the Harry Potter series, some delightful Christopher Moore and the next book on our to read list is The Jungle Books by Kipling. I’ve always got an eye out for something we can share.
Our routine is to read after dinner. We don’t have a TV and haven’t for 15 years now. I settle in after taking my evening medications with my almonds & frozen chocolate mocha cup that I make every morning by mixing some coffee/mocha blend with chocolate milk into a tupperware cup that holds probably about a cup of liquid and freeze it.
I munch while he reads. After I finish, I set that aside and float off to sleep to the sound of his wonderful voice. He notices I’m asleep and sets the book aside to be taken up the next evening.
Sometimes he will read to me while I cook dinner since I’m the cook in the house and he likes to eat.
It’s so nice to spend this time together. It’s really special and makes us feel so close. TV? Naw, don’t miss it at all.
Oh, and Wesley the Owl? Read that one (to myself). I think I’d have to let that owl live somewhere else if he tried to feed ME regurgitated mouse while I slept!
Delightful! All of it! Thank you for sharing your story.