Monday afternoon was spent reading chapters of Jane AUsten novels aloud to members of the local Tea Society. The Tea Society is -- as best I can tell -- a group of women, mostly of a certain age, who gather together to drink tea, eat little bits of cake, wear hats that are no longer seen in public, and talk.
Reading to them was...interesting. I shared the duties with my buddy the bookstore owner R, who is a good reader and a sweet person. She read two chapters, and I cut my second reading when I noticed the natives were beginning to look restless. There were a few in the audience my age or younger (some much younger, the bitches) who were particularly aggitated, as if distressed over the lack of channels to surf.
Afterwards, we discussed, R and I, how the genteel pastime of reading aloud to one another has faded in this age of multi-media entertainment and 300 channels of nothing. Books on tape/CD still do well for those who only read when they drive, but the general populace has difficulty listening to another voice without being able to interrupt for their part of the conversation.
I flatter myself, based on the several post-reading compliments I got (the one being most important coming from Ruth, who is honest) that it wasn't our readings themselves. We were animated, making slight changes to illustrate the voices, and looking up as often as possible from the page. I know R worked hard and has much experience in reading to children, so she can usually hold the attention of adults. My main concern was in being heard and projecting well.
Husband loves it when I will read to him. If I find an article, a bit of a story, or anything, really, in print, he will defer reading it himself, prefering I read it to him. I should note he does not frequently return this little service. Considering my opinion of his usual choice of reading material, I am grateful, in general, for his circumspection. It's rare he actually cracks a book, unless it has pictures. He CAN, he just DOESN'T.
Still, that makes him head and shoulders above the type of person I usally see who can't be bothered to sit for more than an hour without changing a channel, passively sucking in whatever appears on the glass square.