Lee Gowan, author of Confession and other novels, lives in Toronto, while his mother lives in western Canada. Time spent with her is very precious to Lee.
One day several months ago, Lee and I were part of a small group of writers invited to read excerpts from our books and chat with an audience in a large Toronto bookstore.
Out of the blue, Lee said something that moved me nearly to tears. (That’s Lee, extreme right, and that’s me, third from left, trying to compose my face — and failing.)
Lee told the audience that he’d read A Good Home to his mother. She’d loved it, he said. Day after day, he read the book to her. They laughed together at some of the comical parts. And at certain points, Lee said, he and his mother were both so choked up with emotion that he had to stop reading for a bit.
As Lee spoke, the image formed in my mind: of an adult child reading to a parent.
Why did I find that a remarkable thing? Well – for one thing – my relationship with my own mother is one of the major themes in A Good Home. But she died before the book was completed. As Lee spoke, I realized that I’d never get the chance to read the book to my own beloved mother – who’d always encouraged my writing.
I also knew that Lee’ s mother’s health was already declining — and I felt happy that he had been able to read my book to his mother while she could still enjoy it.
We know that children love to be read to. We read books to our children when they are young. They clamour for more, even when their eyes are full of sleep.
But sometimes we forget that many adults – especially elderly people – like to be read to as well.
Letters and cards from readers of A Good Home have reminded me of this fact. It turns out that a good many people have read my book – or parts of it — to a parent, other relative or friend.
Reading is a cherished past-time for many people. Mother’s Day in Canada, the US and many other parts of the world is just around the corner and Father’s Day follows in June. If your Mom or Dad (or favorite older relative or friend) is still alive, you might consider buying them a book.
Most people prefer to read a book by themselves — and it’s great if they are still able to do so. Others would like to, but can no longer do so. Whatever the situation, consider offering to read a chapter of a favorite book to a relative or friend. Whether or not they need the help, the sound of a beloved voice reading to them might just be a balm to a person’s soul.
This post is dedicated to everyone who loves reading, or being read to. And to those who read to others.
23 thoughts on “Please Read to Me”
That is a wonderful suggestion. We do like to be read to, to listen, at any age. As I age, I am returning to my love of the radio. The concentration on the voice is soothing. It gives us time to make our own images from the spoken word. How lovely that your book brought so much pleasure to Lee and his mother.
Thank you for this.
It is indeed soothing.
I find myself reacting in similar ways to the spoken word.
Wonderful post and idea Cynthia. My Mom loves to read, I have bought her books, but not for a while. I wonder how she would feel about me reading to her. Right now, she’s still quite mentally sharp. to mothers, children and everyone who loves to read or be read to,
Thanks very much, Brad. I always like hearing from you.
Ask your mother and see what she says. Tip:
It helps if it’s a passage that you feel very interested in yourself, or better yet, something that you know would also interest/entertain her.
Cynthia, your post has special meaning to me because not only am I an avid reader, but have read to many people. My children as well as nieces and nephews knew I was always up for a reading or story telling session. I also read to my husband and the elderly. Thank you for passing this on. Wonderful suggestion. 🙂 Have a happy weekend.
How kind of you to visit my blog and share your experience with reading to others. I love listening to others read.
I love reading to my lad, although it takes ages because we have to have a 20 minute discussion about each and every picture, as well as the words! On a more serious note, I do absolutely understand what you said about your Mum. My parents are both knocking on, as you know, and they’ve always encouraged me to write so I feel very lucky that they’ve been able to read my stuff.
Bleagh and now that sounds like gloating. Ho hum…
Hah! The Pan of Hamgee got to you.
Always looking behind me… 😉
You’ll stub your toe if you do….
Or walk into a tree.
Gee whiz, MT, would you expect any child of yours to be anything but very curious? A sharp developing mind, indeed.
Glad your parents are able to read your writing.
So interesting to read your post. I agree that reading to the elderly would be very therapeutic too as there are those who may have impaired eyesight but do enjoy reading. Thank you for sharing, Cynthia. Kind regards, Iris. 🙂
Thank you, Iris! How good of you to take the time to drop me a note.
Happy spring. (Unless you’re Down Under – in which case, happy almost winter!)
Thank you, Cynthia. Am now in the tropics and enjoying sunny days. It’s a pleasure to read your posts! Hope you are having good spring weather. 🙂
Thank you. It’s sunny and warm, then sunny and cold. Then windy and sunny and cold.
And I’m giving thanks that it’s not winter!!
Enjoy the tropics.
Thanks. Sounds like Melbourne weather! Glad I’m back here.
What a lovely post. I love reading, and I can’t wait to be able to read to my nephew. I can imagine reading to my mom, once she gets to the point that she can’t see the printed word, but that is (hopefully) many, many moons from now.
Rose, thanks for this. I’m not at all surprised that you love reading. Your writing is very vivid.