"I never loved to read. One does not love breathing..."
My wife is a clever woman. Every now and then she'll suggest that my son and I read a book together. This usually happens during summer vacation when I'm off and we're struggling with ways to keep the boy occupied. The job of reading aloud falls to me, and I can manage a chapter or two before my voice gives out. Over the past few years, my son and I have tackled a few of the Harry Potter books, the Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snickety and Louis Sachar's Holes, all of which were great fun.
Even more fun, however, has been reading books I read as a child with my own child. Maybe you can't have the pleasure of discovering a classic for the first time again, but being alongside somebody who is sure makes for an acceptable substitute. I love the way my son starts with a 10-year old's indifference to our joint reading projects.
"Okay, whatever. I guess we can read that one." But before long it's "C'mon, dad, we can squeeze in one more chapter."
This summer we're reading To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel I somehow overlooked in my formative years. Before he left for day camp this morning, we finished the chapter in which Miss Maudie's house burns down and Boo Radley somehow sneaks an old wool blanket round Scout's shoulders without her seeing him. My son is completely hooked at this point and now makes me read until my voice starts to crack.
I'm no Atticus, but I sure am enjoying this part of fatherhood. All I can do is thank Tom Sawyer, Jim Hawkins and Scout Finch. And my wife. Did I mention what a clever woman she is?