Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reading to My Kids

Books I have enjoyed reading to my kids in recent times:

The Indian in the Cupboard. Surprisingly plausible and emotionally believable, with a powerful, perfect ending.

Old Yeller. This one has a great voice that comes through when you read it aloud.

Roald Dahl:
The Witches
George's Marvelous Medicine
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Sorry, I like the Gene Wilder movie even better than the book! Probably just because I saw it so many times as a kid; it really lodged in my imagination, and I like the additions made, which round it out really well in my opinion. I once wrote an e-mail discussion post outlining the movie as an allegory of the Mormon plan of salvation.)

The original Mary Poppins book

Charlotte's Web

The Wizard of Oz

Two books called "Hatchet" and "Brian's Winter"

Books I don't really like much but slog through with them:

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Unfortunate Series of Events (sorry, these get old REALLY fast, and there are so damn many of them. I always dread having to pick one up, but that's all my 9-year-old daughter wants on the rare occasion when I read to her)

Books I look forward to reading:

Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (next on the list; may even start it tonight, since we just finished Matilda last night. I read it as a kid but don't remember it. I couldn't make it through the whole series: they got too religious and earnest for me.)

Harry Potter (I've never read any of these, thinking I'd read them to my kids eventually, but the main kid I read to now is 6 years old, and he hasn't requested them yet)

The Hobbit (this is one of the very few books I've read more than once, and I hope to read it aloud to a kid someday)

Where the Red Fern Grows, because I remember my dad reading it to me as a kid.

Sherlock Holmes; I read all those as a kid and would love to try reading them to someone at some point.

I think regularly reading aloud really helps a writer develop his or her own voice and style. I think the same is true for being read to aloud, such as with audiobooks. Serious writers ought to constantly have quality published words flowing into and out of their mouths, ears, and eyes. All three involves different areas of absorption in the brain, I reckon.

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