A Boy Who Reads


Brock, I know it frustrates you that I don't read what you read. That I prefer to spend my hours poring over the New York Times rather than Hugo, Nabokov, Hemingway, Tolstoy. I want to tell you something. Ready? Listen carefully: I'm listening.

I'm listening to the sound of your voice as you desperately try give each word the inflection you think it deserves. I'm listening to how you hang on and let go of syllables as you try to capture the nuance of every sentence. I'm listening for the pause that comes after you finish reading aloud, with the invariable "Isn't that beautiful?" that follows. I see your heart sink as you look up mid-passage and realize that I'm not focusing on the words.

Were you just listening to anything that I just read?
Yes! I mean, kind of.
What did it mean to you?
Um . . .
You weren't listening.

But I was. (Not to the words, although I can tell by the way the vowels and consonants dance on your tongue that they're lovely.) Pretty words have been strung together in pretty ways for ages. The cluster of scribbles you just read from War and Peace has stirred souls and moistened eyes long before we came to be. The beauty to me is not in the words themselves, but in the way the words move you. That's what I'm listening to.


  1. I understand how Brock feels. Greg doesn't like reading other, fun material now that school has taken over. But he reads... articles on economics and other stuff I wish I didn't have to care about in his spare time.
    I think the best part about being a woman is that we can carry a purse. I love having a large purse to stuff a book in and carry it everywhere (as long as it isn't something like War and Peace). Brock should look into it. ;)

  2. AnonymousJuly 28, 2011

    I'm with you, Suzannah. I always carry a book.

    And Kristi, I love how you love how much Brock loves beautiful words. I thought this was touching. Now I'm going to tell you what I tell Ryan: It's not enough. LISTEN, you idiot!



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