Engaging a Non-Reader

IMG_2182My husband and I will be together 18 years this fall. I read 132 books last year. My husband has read perhaps half a dozen books in all the years we’ve been together.

I’m not quite sure how I ended up with a husband who doesn’t read. I must have fallen in love with his other good qualities.

For years, this frustrated me. There are books I want him to read, that I just know he’ll love, but when I recommend them, he says, “maybe.” (Which means no.)

Earlier this year, when I was editing my novel, Not Dead Enough, I wanted to discuss it with him, but he hadn’t read it.

At the same time, I got advice that when editing a book, you should read it out loud.

The light went on. I could combine the oral read-aloud with having my husband read the book, by reading it to him.

He loved the idea. So, over the course of a few weeks, that’s what we did. Sometimes it was only one or two chapters in a night, and sometimes we read several.

I did catch mistakes I hadn’t caught the first eleventy-billion times I read it silently to myself, and my husband did have good input.

This has become our thing. If I’m reading a non-fiction book I think he might like, I mark passages (either with a highlighter or post-it flag, depending on if I own the book or not) to read out loud to him later. This method has generated some interesting discussions.

Before I started reading audiobooks, this method never would have occurred to me. But reading is reading, and I do enjoy discussing books.

Do you have any tricks for engaging a non-reader?

4 comments on “Engaging a Non-Reader

  1. Lea says:

    Audio has revolutionized my non reader husbands life. He always liked reading but it took him forever to read a book on the bedside table. As he drives for a living he was open to audio and it has really cemented another part of our relationship! There is such value in finding a common thread whether it be reading or not.

  2. My second fiancee used to brag that she’d never read a book, not even in high school. She wouldn’t even read the stuff I wrote. She’d say “I don’t have to read it. If you wrote it, I know it’s good.” I used to tell her that was the nicest and most useless compliment I’d ever gotten.

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