It’s not just for kids. Reading aloud with someone else is one of my favourite things to do, but in conversation this past week I’ve realized just how rare an activity is for people over the are of seven. Adults will readily sit down and watch TV/movies with a friend, but reading tends to be a solitary activity. I think that takes all the fun out of some books — particularly if you’ve got an extroverted friend who’s great at doing character voices.
I’ve put together a lit of my Top Five Books for Reading Aloud. Even if you read them quietly by yourself, these books are not to be missed — they’re just more entertaining when shared with a buddy.
The Lies of Locke Lamora
This fantasy-meets-Ocean’s Eleven is an adventure well worth sharing with a friend. Full of twists and turns, it’s great to have someone to debate with about where the plot might go, or to remind you of details that make all the difference later in the plot.
An orphan’s life is harsh–and often short–in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. Born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora dodges both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains, neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected family of orphans “Gentlemen Bastards”. Locke grows to lead, delightedly pulling off one outrageous trick after another, infamous as the Thorn of Camorr – no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. But the Gray King is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game–or die trying.
World War Z
This novel is written as a series of interviews rather than in traditional prose, so it lends itself incredibly well to reading aloud. I’d recommend it for fans of politics and sociology — or for anyone who is too scared to read horror alone (yeah, me).
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, is simultaneously moving and hilarious. You’ll be glad you shared it with a friend when you don’t have to laugh at the jokes alone, and though it’s a humour book, it’ll stimulate some great conversation about history and theology.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have read–and reread–Christopher Moore’s irreverent, iconoclastic, and divinely funny tale of the early life of Jesus Christ as witnessed by his boyhood pal Levi bar Alphaeus (a.k.a. Biff). Now, in this special (check out the cool red ribbon marker, gilt-edged pages, and gold lettering) gift edition of Christopher Moore’s bestselling “Lamb,” you, too, can find out what really happened between the manger and the Sermon on the Mount. And, in a new afterword written expressly for this edition, Christopher Moore addresses some of the most frequently asked questions he’s received from readers since Lamb’s initial publication, about the book and himself.
It won’t take longer than fifteen minutes to read this, but you’ll be giggling and talking about it for weeks. Gorey’s wickedly illustrated storybook lists all the bizarre, brutal, and just plain interesting ways that kids can meet a premature demise.
Check out this cute video interpretation:
This is a book that my mom bought for me when I was twelve, and she intended for us to read it together. She’d read a review of it and even though it was a Middle Grade book, she was interested. We read the first chapter together before bed, she kissed me goodnight, and left the room. Then I stayed up until 1am and read the next ten chapters. She was a tad annoyed. To this day, I’m pretty sure she hasn’t finished the book.
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.