Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reading aloud

A couple of days ago, I wrote about reading aloud, a great pleasure.  It gives a chance to act, concentrate on producing emotional voice tones that convey what the character is showing.  The reader gets a chance to talk good language, carefully crafted by the writer.  I wondered why more book clubs don't read books of interest aloud to each other.

A friend responded:

The Epiphany Party

Each year, on the Saturday closest to January 6, a couple who lived in the next block would invite colleagues from their respective law offices, friends, and neighbors for a multi course dinner. They would hand deliver the invitations and say, "We really want you to be there!" (The husband reminded me of my brother in looks and in personality.)

Their home was large, basically an open-style, and sported one of those shiny indigo stoves that weighs more than a car. In one section, chairs were arranged in rows similar to an old time mini classroom. At what would be the front of that space, there was a lectern where throughout the evening, the husband's friends took turns reading aloud Dickens' A CHRISTMAS STORY.  Each man read a chapter and while the audience rotated, the oral delivery progressed. Not everyone went in to listen; some who did, stayed for a few minutes and others left only when a new food course was announced. By the time the reader completed the final line and closed the book, it was almost midnight and everyone began thanking the host and hostess. The party was over and everyone had had a wonder-filled time.

Another wrote:
There's a group in this area that does readings of plays with each person doing a different part - similar idea to reading aloud at book club and something I think would be very entertaining.

I suspect that some drama experts have noted that much of the pleasure of attending the play or the movie must come from experiencing the story's up and downs, its laughs and tears, quite together, along with others.  I used to doubt the idea that laughter is, among other things, a social event.  So, even a poorly written show can lift our spirits when a laugh track is supplied, at least for a while.

Are there You-Tube clips showing an excellent paragraph or two being read aloud?  What is the maximum allowed length of a You-Tube clip?  Got time to listen to a whole book?  Oops, I suppose that would constitute a violation of copyright, at least some of them.  I have read that in the days before the invention of

punctuation and

space between words and

UPPER and lower case letters,

people used their voices and ears to tease out what the letters said and the meaning of the words.

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