|photo by Anna Reavis|
"The sun was up when I awakened and the world was remade and shining. There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I." John Steinbeck in Travels With Charley
I decided a long time ago that whoever I chose as a partner needed to be a reader. Unfortunately, until now, I have never enforced that rule. I had no idea what I was missing. Since we started dating, K has read several books from my library, and we have consistently read aloud to each other. A couple of weeks ago, after perusing my hundreds of titles, he came into the kitchen having chosen two of my favorites to read. It was like a Magic 8 Ball coming up "All signs point to yes." But what I have enjoyed the most about his interest in reading is our reading aloud to each other.
Our first read aloud was Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. It's been on my TBR pile forever, and I was so thankful to have an impetus for finally reading it. Given K's profession (minister) and my own belief ambiguity, I thought it would be a good starting point for our discussions about faith or lack thereof. It did serve that purpose somewhat, but the book was disjointed and lacking real depth and insight for me. I did love reading aloud together and being able to discuss ideas and process our thoughts together.
Our second read was Woodrow's Trumpet by Tim McLaurin. I had remembered really liking this years ago and thought I remembered its being laugh out loud funny. Isn't it odd how your expectations affect your experience of something? We both did enjoy the story, but I didn't find it nearly as funny and entertaining as I had remembered it.
Next up was Steinbeck's Travels With Charley, which I had read before and loved. Here my memories were true. I love Steinbeck's voice and outlook on life. And what a dream to amble around the country with an old dog. Travels is different from his novels, but an entertaining read and a nice insight into the mind of one of our greats.
K's love for Africa led me to choose our current read, Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa. I read Green Hills maybe ten years ago and thought I remembered liking it, so here again my expectations were high. There is so much minute detail in the book about big game hunting that K and I are both having trouble getting through it. To our pacifist, naturalist sensibilities the descriptions seem almost obscene. We may have to abandon this one.
Funny thing about expectations...you go into something expecting marvelous and you get mediocre, but sometimes, when you get really lucky, you expect mediocre, and you get marvelous. Read aloud with someone; it may change your life.