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How To Read a Book with Someone Else

If you've been following along with the Moby-Dick Reading Challenge, you might be aiming to finish Moby-Dick by the end of 2020 too! Reading Herman Melville's masterpiece has definitely been a rollercoaster—all the more so because my husband, who isn't a big reader, decided to join in on the challenge with me.

How hard could it be, he reasoned. Moby-Dick is supposed to be exciting, right?

Wrong. We very quickly discovered how difficult it is to stay engaged with this tale of the white whale. Perhaps the greatest evidence of this is the fact that almost as soon as I'd start reading out loud, my husband would doze off.

It was frustrating, yes, but I figured he'd lost interest. Not a problem, I thought, I'll just continue reading on my own and save him the boredom and trouble.

Which resulted in the following offended response to a question I posted in the Proseposters IG stories recently:

This got me thinking about better ways to approach Moby-Dick together. After all, reading a book with someone can be a wonderful shared experience. In fact, some psychologists say it has the power to strengthen a relationship, and, while reading can be a solitary venture, we all have those really great books we'd love to share with someone else.

If you'd like to embark on a literary adventure with a friend, family memer, or significant other, here are 3 great tips to help you not only choose a book, but enjoy the reading process together!

1. Identify each other's taste

It's unlikely you and your reading partner will have exactly the same taste, which means you should pay special attention to what they like, and vice versa. You may enjoy thrillers and classic novels, while your partner leans more towards historical fiction and the occasional self-help book. Whatever the case, pinpoint each other's tastes before choosing a book to read together. Most likely you will have to compromise, but you'll also have the chance to explore or combine genres for a fun joint reading experience!

2. Keep a list

One of the best ways to approach choosing a book together is by keeping a running list of books you're each interested in. Share the list and add to it whenever you come across a title that catches your eye. But remember to keep your reading buddy in mind before adding a new book to the list. Ask yourself if it's a book they can enjoy too, even if it's a little outside their comfort zone or usual genre. Whenever you finish a book and want to start another, pick three titles from your list at random and decide together what you want to tackle next. Keep in mind you both need to agree on the new title before you start reading!

3. Choose different methods

One of the ways in which my husband and I went woefully wrong in our reading of Moby-Dick is that I'd be the only one reading aloud, hence he'd fall asleep a few paragraphs in (and who can blame him). We've learned our lesson and have since started a new method where we switch back and forth, each of us reading a chapter aloud. This keeps both of us engaged with the book, and can be a lot of fun when trying out different accents or reading styles. Audiobooks are another great way to read a book with a partner because you can turn it on during commutes, road trips, or even while cooking together. Or what about getting really creative with one of our readable posters made from the words of famous books?

Have you ever read a book with a partner?

Share in the comments below your tips for choosing, and reading, a book with someone else!


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