One of my favorite things about marriage is having someone to read with (or to, depending on how you look at it). Experiencing stories with loved ones is delightful, and though we’ve attempted to read heavier fiction together (like Dosteovsky), I’ve found that lighter, usually humorous, stories work best. Obviously, you can read anything aloud… but I’ve compiled a short list that might help you get started. Here are a few of my top suggestions for reading together, as a couple or with kids!
- The Pickwick Papers. What happens when you put four English gentlemen together—a sportsman, a poet, a ladies’ man, and their fearless leader, an “observer of human nature”? And when Charles Dickens is writing the story? This comedic magic. Though the short chapters are connected by characters, The Pickwick Papers is more of a collection of episodes than a novel, which makes it perfect for reading together even if you’re not consistent about it. This is the work that made Dickens famous, and for good reason. A great way to develop your sense of humor! Very!
- The Hobbit. Obviously a classic, this shorter tale from Tolkein is a great way to explore heroism, friendship, and courage. And if you’ve seen the recent movies? Not even close to the charm of the book. If you want to read together as a family, but don’t like reading aloud, this is one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to, and worthy of a long road-trip.
- Any of P.G. Wodehouse’s stories. I sing his praises often. Will and I were in tears over The Code of the Woosters this summer. I’ve read Wodehouse with my brother, my students, my husband, recommended him to friends, and given his short stories as a wedding gift. If you need a laugh, he’s your best bet!
- Watership Down by Richard Adams. A friend recently recommended this to me, and Will offered to read it together. It’s delightful so far, and the short chapters make it the perfect read if you don’t have much time daily to devote to reading aloud.It is, simply, a story about talking rabbits fleeing from danger and establishing a new homeland. Especially known for appealing to all ages, this will become a family favorite!
- The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor. Studying O’Connor with my high school students is one of my favorite memories. Not only is she witty, but she has a profound understanding of the South, fiction, and religion. If you want to laugh and encourage conversation about heavier topics (race, relationships, religion), this one is for you.
- Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe. A perfect companion for a dark and story night, these are psychological suspense tales that forever changed the short story form. Oh, and each story has to be read in one sitting—Poe wouldn’t have it any other way.
7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Need I say more?
I hope this list has inspired you to read with your family. Let me know which books you’re reading together!