Relationships

Reading in Bed

reading-in-bed-couples

When Alex and I were newly dating, I got a terrible case of food poisoning, and he came over to feed me sips of Gatorade and sit very, very still on the bed. His brilliant way to distract me from aches and pains? Reading the short story The Diamond as Big as the Ritz by Fitzgerald.

It was such a sweet gesture, although seven years and two babies later, we had sort of forgotten about it. But after a difficult winter, we decided to start doing it more regularly. Reading in bed has been such a lovely way to end the day and stop an anxious mind from whirring.

We each picked a few books we thought the other person might enjoy…

Alex’s picks: This Boy’s Life (Toby was in part named after Tobias Wolff), Basketball Diaries, Dispatches

My picks: Bird by Bird, One More Thing, Sick in the Head, Thanksgiving (it’s weirdly great)

We read bits and pieces, and skim around, and often end up getting into side conversations. It’s fun to get a peek into someone else’s brain and see what jumps out to them; and also to read books you wouldn’t have otherwise (Dispatches was amazing).

Then… I fall asleep. Alex will actually start inserting nonsensical plot points (“and his head popped off!”) to see if I’ll speak up or if I’m actually asleep. Most of the time it’s the latter.

joanna-alex-polaroid

Back when we were first dating! Babies!

What about you? Do you ever read in bed with your partner or past people you’ve dated? Or kids? It’s such a lovely feeling. What are you reading these days? (It reminds me: My friend Corrie had a two-person book club on her honeymoon, where she and her husband read the same book. Sweet, right?)

P.S. Caroline’s five favorite books, and what marriage means.

  1. Oh my, that’s so sweet! I am a bit jealous… ;)

  2. A.K. says...

    Three summers ago, my then long-distance love and I spent three months just traveling around Europe. Just before boarding our plane to Paris, we bought a book at the airport that we thought looked interesting. We ended up tugging it along with us everywhere during our 2-week stay, completely enchanted by it but also the whole experience of actually reading it together. We’d buy croissants at the local boulangerie, find a bench and take turns reading out loud to each other. We’d lay under a tree outside the Louvre and keep reading. On the train en route to Versailles. And almost every night we’d end the day by reading it together in bed. It was just so wonderful and many times we too found ourselves ending up in side conversations. Would definitely recommend couples to try this. The enchanting book we read was called The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.

  3. Anne says...

    When we were first dating, my boyfriend and I took turns reading aloud “Room with a View” by E. M. Forster. I read him the first few chapters of “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, but it was an old hardcover and started falling apart. A few months ago, I showed him a picture book about Russian immigrants called “Anna and Solomon” that he referred to later in an email as “Elsa and Solomon.” I have a recording of him reading “Corduroy” that I listen to when I’m sick. I’m an absolute book nerd and couldn’t imagine being in a relationship without reading to each other.

  4. Alexis says...

    My hubby and I have never even thought of reading to one another, but maybe I will start since it seems like a great way to connect.
    Right now I’m reading “All the Light We Cannot See” and I’m loving it.

  5. Rosalind says...

    Hubby reads in bed every night and I join him when I can. We’ve been reading a few of the same books which is fun to discuss and see how we felt about different parts of the stories. Have you read Station 11?

  6. The only person that I read to bed is my son. As far as reading to my husband, that probably would never happen. Although I do like to watch a lot of drama fever while in bed. Sometimes I binge watch late into the night, and pay for it the next day at work. That was definitely a sweet gesture by your husband, you both sound like you are really in love.

  7. Jessica says...

    On a road/camping trip my husband bought the book Alive and read parts of it out loud, soon I became hooked on it and we started reading it out loud together. It’s a tragic gruesome tale but captivating. We started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude because we both loved it but we ended up getting stuck. We’ve since finished The Princess Bride and the first 3 Game of Thrones books. It takes so much longer to finish but its such a treat and a lovely ritual!

  8. Meg says...

    I have such fond memories of times when my husband and I read to each other. E went through a long fantasy series that way and it was wonderful!

    I’m wondering about the sweet picture at the top of the post – is it of you? If not, do you know the source? I love it so much.

  9. Whitney Ortega says...

    I’m the book lover in our little family. When we were dating my husband would read along with what I was reading so we could chat about it… I tend to be an obsessive reader when I enjoy a book and do nothing but read and talk about the book. We recently started reading “The House of God” by Samuel Shem together. I started reading it aloud to him while we were on a long car trip in an effort to keep him awake. I ended up liking it so now I read a chapter or two aloud every evening. But man, reading aloud sure is tiring on the vocal cords after too long!

  10. Reading books together is such a nice habit, you shall add a Memeoirs to the list ;-) https://goo.gl/KPuVqJ

  11. Jen Bennie says...

    Yes! I love it when my husband reads aloud to me at night, it started for us too when I was ill and it’s sort of like a treat now – if we’re both around, not totally shattered and are really into something we’re reading. It send us both off into such a deep dreamy sleep.

  12. Jess barker says...

    I just love this idea. Have strangely never thought of doing it despite reading to two children every night. Ps I’m a cup of jo addict and talk to my husband about you and posts as if you are my very close friend. He thinks I’m nuts.

  13. abbey says...

    Yes! I love to read aloud and my go-to for boyfriend bedtime is Salinger’s “Nine Stories.” I try not to get offended if my listener falls asleep.

    On one ill-fated summer mountaineering expedition with my girlfriends our climbing plan was thwarted and I ended up reading almost the entirety of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to them in a tent. It turned out to be a well-loved and memorable trip, which began a new tradition of read-aloud tent time with my trip mates.

    The Little Prince, Hemingway’s short stories, and of course Huck Finn are some of our favorites.

  14. Peggy Rowe says...

    My husband and I have read in bed for years and we have been married nearly 40 years. At times we’ve read books to each other and at times we’ve read our own books. My parents and grandparents read in bed. I thought it was a way of life lol

  15. Maybe my husband and I need to do this as I have a project called fall for my husband all over again as lately things are not great here.

  16. Samantha says...

    My boyfriend and I are both bookworms and we have been reading in bed together every night since we started dating. In the summer, we also often take our books to the park or by the river and read together outside. In the winter, we seek out cozy coffee shops and do the same, always sharing passages that strike a chord.

  17. Devin says...

    We have been reading in bed since we started dating a year ago! We’ve read sherlock Holmes, the adventures of huckleberry finn, little sister by raymond chandler and I’ve loved them all. The sound of his voice reading to me is heaven and I doze right off into his arms. It is the first time anyone has ever read to me and I love it.

  18. Caitlin says...

    My husband and I read out loud to each other all the time as we lay in bed at night. We read Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, and Edgar Allen Poe. It’s such a special, sweet time to spend with someone you love.

  19. What a lovely practice–I’m going to see if my husband would like to give it a go! Thank you :)

  20. Kate says...

    My boyfriend loves reading to me in bed. I try my hardest to stay awake, but I always fall asleep within like 2 minutes. I tell him it’s because his voice is so soothing (which it is!) and not a result of boring stories. Ha!

  21. Siri says...

    I rarely comment, but I just had to say how much I loved this post. So sweet! We’re both bookworms. Early in our relationship, we read several books to each other. We both loved it. We’ve talked so much about how much we miss that during the past few years. A couple of months ago, at christmas, we actually gave it a new try, and we did read quite a few chapters to each other during a few weeks, but then, sigh, it dribbled out, released by a lot of late night working and series. So this post really inspired me. :-) Besides, we both love reading to our kids, especially to the oldest one, who is now six years old. We can read him stories that we love ourselves, which feels so exciting and unifying!

  22. Pamela says...

    My partner and I would read a chapter each of a “relationship” book every night at bedtime to open up dialogue. It was a good way to work out issues before they evolved and to discuss what we wanted and expected of each other to make our relationship work. We are now headed into our 10th year together and no longer need a book to start a conversation…but I do miss hearing him read out loud to me while I’m falling asleep.

  23. My husband reads me ghost stories every October. I love that month.

  24. With us, I am the reaser and he hates reading, so we enjoy watching great movies and TV series together instead. But sometimes we do spend hours without any distractions and just talk.
    x M.
    http://nevermindnm.blogspot.com/

  25. Sarah says...

    I love that I just by chance stumbled on your blog today and found this post…my hubby and I have just started reading together this week! And we both are loving it…its a great way to unwind at the end of a long day and I get to share whatever book I’m loving with him (currently reading WILD)…so happy to hear that others are doing the same!

  26. lynda fitzgerald says...

    My BFF Jim and I vacation together in Wellfleet Ma (lovely!) a week each September. We’ve been doing this for over 15 years. About 5 years ago we started a tradition. We stop at Tickcomb’s bookshop (great shop!) on Rte. 6 A (best road ever) and by the same book and read it during the week. It’s such a fun!

  27. My husband and I used to read together all the time before we got married…or was it before we had kids? Then the reading went to the belly, then the baby and now the 12-year-old, 10-year-old and 6-year-old. Only recently did I read a novel…the first fiction book for must me in 6 years (The Girl On The Train). I joined a book club so I had to. So….perhaps hubby and I will start reading to each other again? Some of my happiest moments/memories with him as a partner is reading books together. I’m ready to find that in us again.

  28. Natane says...

    I so rarely comment, but this struck a chord! I read to my boyfriend almost every night (it depends on his shifts) before I go to bed. We’ve been doing that for the last one and a half years. It started when I got Where the Sidewalk Ends for Christmas from a friend (nostalgia!) and realized he’d never heard the poems. We started with that and have now read a crazy variety of books together.

  29. Love this thread! When we were first dating, I would read to my husband from “The Little Prince” as we fell asleep. It’s such a soothing little book and became a special part of our routine each night. We ended up weaving passages from the book into our wedding ceremony, years later.

  30. We’ve just returned from an extended vacation and all we did as a family was read in bed at night. No televisions or telephones to distract us, just the sounds of the crickets and bullfrogs singing in the background. It was close quarters, so we could all see each other’s books and sometimes we would share passages or where we were in the story. I LOVE it. It’s one of my favorite parts of our family vacation. I think my husband and I will have to start this new ritual at home. It sounds like a lovely way to end the day.

  31. Sara says...

    We do this all the time! My boyfriend works for research and development for a native plant nursery and is always researching so, although I start out with my own book, usually nature writing of some sort, I regularly end up reading about plants along with him over his shoulder and we stop and talk about what we want for our someday garden and what wildflowers we might have seen on one of our hikes. It’s nerdy, but one of my favorite things.

  32. Lisa says...

    This is the sweetest thing ever. I hope I will meet someone who reads for me in the future.

    Funny side note though – my parents read for me and my sister every night growing up, and when we got a bit older the books got longer and more difficult. My dad, being tired from work, promised one chapter but when he turned the page he would skip 3-4 pages and just continue the sentence like nothing had happened. If we didnt notice, he just kept reading for another minute and then he knew we were asleep. Most of the time we would loudly tell him that it made no sense.. :)

  33. annie g says...

    Many, many years ago, when my husband and I were living in London, we used to read our favourite poems to each other before going to sleep. It was very romantic and a lovely way to drop off. Now we both just tend to read our own books but every now and then we read out passages that we find funny to each other. Reading the Christmas at Dingley Dell section of Pickwick Papers is another pleasant thing to do on a cold December night.

  34. I suffer from migraines (maybe two or three a month) and the only thing that distracts me without making it worse is when my husband gets in bed with me and reads quietly to me. Even though I usually have my head sandwiched between two pillows, it so comforting having him next me while I’m in pain. This is how we reread To Kill A Mockingbird while dating. Now we’re almost three years married and onto Hemingway.

  35. My dad used to read me when I was sick. He started reading me the ”Odyssey” (in modern greek off course lol) in the age of 6 when I got a flue and finished it about 5 year latter, when I was 11 (in bed again with a flue)!
    That is one of my sweetest moments alone with dad, that I always remember…. my dad will be 91 in a couple of weeks!

    beautyfollower.blogspot.gr

  36. raquel says...

    my boyfriend and i have a 3rd book, one specifically meant for nite reading. we each go our way with our own reading through the day and have a small -getting bigger, 10 years together- selection we read before bed. we take turns but i rather prefer his voice. we’ve done fitzgerald, capote, reinaldo arenas, jorge luis borges, read about boxing and even, the confederacy of dunces. its a such a treat. glad to see it goes around.

  37. I love this, I got a very nasty stomach bug early in my current pregnancy, and it took a lot of out of me, but my partner was great, he brought me a get well package of gatorade flowers and a new book, what to expect when expecting. I led on his chest for hours while he read what to expect when expecting to me…. this made me think of that time and I look forward to lying next to him with him reading with our baby on his chest..

  38. Kristen says...

    A couple of years ago, when (at age 30) I was going through cancer treatment for ovarian cancer, I was full of anxiety and worry and was experiencing terrible insomnia. My husband started reading aloud to me at night to help me fall asleep. It was perhaps the simplest, sweetest gesture I remember from that time.

  39. Isabelle says...

    Just finished reading Deux garçons à la mère, about a mother who has two sons with autism (french, I live in montreal) and just have started reading The Omnivore’s dilemma, very intersting so far!

  40. I love the idea of this, but my auditory processing is so poor that whenever my fiancee reads aloud to me I can’t really comprehend. And when I read aloud to him I feel like I can’t really focus on it either! But I do like reading the same book so we can compare notes!

  41. Kathryn says...

    When my husband and I were first married, I purchased Pablo Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets. All the poems were in English and Spanish. We would read one to each other every night.

  42. marie says...

    My first love and I would lay on the beach and read out loud until one or both of us dozed off. Salty, slightly sunburned, and terribly happy in our little haven from the world.

  43. erin says...

    You two have such a sweet relationship. Thank you for sharing.

  44. We read in bed sometimes, but not nearly enough. It’s usually the paper or something newsy because I haven’t had a chance to catch up on anything all day. But lately we’ve started listening to records. My husband will pick a record he thinks I would enjoy, and we lay together and really listen to the music, the words, the story telling. It’s so calming and sweet, and usually I end up falling asleep.

    https://brooklynboysblog.wordpress.com

  45. I love reading in bed! It’s such a great way to relax at the end of the day and prepare for bedtime!

  46. Jodi says...

    My fella and I do read-alouds, mostly on road trips. Once when we were traveling for 6 months in India, we read aloud the entire Harry Potter series! We (magically, of course) managed to find the next book at random book exchanges at hostels along the way!

  47. Aidel.K says...

    I love this idea, and I’m going to suggest it to my husband. I read books aloud to my kids until they were in high school. The books gradually got more difficult, and we all enjoyed it. I believe it fostered a real love of reading.

  48. Pamela says...

    My boyfriend and I love to listen to books on road trips. We recently moved in together and now listen in bed. We set the timer so we don’t miss too much if we both fall asleep. We are reading Boys in the Boat right now and are loving it!

  49. Liz says...

    In this photo, Alex totally has the look in his eyes of “too late, dudes, I’ve got her and I’m making sure she’s sticking with me”

  50. Shannon says...

    One of my favorite adolescent memories is reading to my good friend Melia. We would spend all weekend together and I would read to her. Because we lived a town apart once the school week started we would resume reading over the phone. Guess what we read? V.C. Andrews!

  51. Fitzgerald is my favorite author! I go back to him whenever I need some comfort. (I am actually finishing The Last Tycoon now.) I love the idea of a two-person book club! Will have to try that!

  52. Mallory says...

    We do this every time there’s a David Sedaris piece in the New Yorker, though we fight over who gets to read because we can never remember who read last!

  53. Natalie & Ryken says...

    Ryken and I love reading in bed. It was his way of getting into reading when we first started dating. Mostly because he knew I was a reader. Recently we read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. We’re both medical students, so we enjoyed the read. Thanks for posting!

  54. Hannah says...

    I love this. My husband reads to me and our daughter every night before bed, and most often IN bed. I look forward to it all day. She cuddles with us, and I(pregnant!) usually doze off a chapter or so in. They are the sweetest moments, and I’m beyond delighted to read here that so many others enjoy this with their spouse also!

  55. Claire says...

    I (very) recently started seeing a new guy, and on our first night together, we were avoiding sleep by talking into the wee hours of the morn. When I asked him what his favorite book was (apparently his favorite question), he leapt up, faster than I’ve seen anyone move, and grabbed a well-worn copy of “Norwegian Wood” by Murakami. He read many paragraphs out loud to me, and I countered by reading him Frank O’hara and Mary Oliver poems. Sparks flew through the intimate gesture of sharing our favorite verses, paragraphs, and phrases. I have to admit I was very surprised by how calming and sweet it felt to read out loud to someone I didn’t know very well.

    • He sounds like a keeper! Norwegian Wood is the best.

  56. I used to love reading in bed, with a cosleeping toddler it rarely happens. Need to bring it back!!

  57. Alexis says...

    I travel for work which can be tough. But when I’m on the road, my husband reads a chapter of a book over the phone to me (or I read to him) before bed. Its a special moment that we both look forward to.

  58. Emily says...

    this post brings back such sweet memories for me. i’m an avid reader, while my husband can take over a year to get through one book (and he hates to read anything aloud). about three years ago, i had an extensive brain surgery that left me laid out for a long time. He read to me every day through my recovery – knowing that I would miss my books. He did a lot of difficult things while caring for me those months, but that gesture was by far the most lovely one.

  59. I love the bit about him throwing in nonsensical plot points! I always do that to test if my boyfriend has fallen asleep. The best is when I say something like, “A UFO landed in our office today.” and he will respond with something like “Oh, okay” like I had told him the most ordinary thing in the world.

  60. Ahhhh, so lovely. We have never read one book together in bed, though we of course have read two books in bed together. Does that count?

    We’ve long had a tradition of a two-person book club, though – most notably throughout our 3 weeks of honeymoon in Turkey and Greece, we tore through the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which despite the awful movie it was adapted after is one of the best works of fiction I’ve ever read.

    Thanks for the reminder of this – we’ll have to restart the tradition.

  61. emily says...

    this is so sweet- reading about your and Alex’s sweet relationship makes me feel gooey for my husband (of 1.5 yrs). I love it and hope we can be like you! thanks for giving such positive-yet real-view of modern marriage and motherhood.

  62. Connie says...

    Joanna, I love these posts! You and Alex have the sweetest marriage. I love hearing about the special little things that you guys do because they’re usually such sweet ways to learn more about your partner, usually in ways that I haven’t thought of. :)

    • Julianna says...

      I agree! I get so much inspiration from Joanna, she’s so great, but so down to earth and simple. Cup of Jo is the best blog in the world.

  63. Julianna says...

    I will always read aloud any particularly well worded, juicy, interesting, or crass paragraph to my husband. I always loved reading aloud in school too, my uncle told me when I was younger that I should be a news anchor, which I took as very high praise indeed.

  64. Chloe says...

    Your husband seems oddly drawn to movies that have been brought to life by Leonardo DiCaprio? The Beach is an AWESOME book, much better than the movie! ;)

    • Chloe says...

      to *books* that have been brought to life by Leo, that is..

  65. Lilly says...

    Random comment: I read again the post on what marriage means (love!), and there are a TON of comments on spellcasting! So funny!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      arg, those are our most annoying spam comments! we’ve deleted thousands and thousands. we’re on it! :)

  66. I’ve been reading myself to sleep since I can remember. Luckily, my (newlywed!) husband shares the same habit. We like to get into bed about a half hour before we really want to be asleep and read. It’s so cozy and comforting. Sometimes one of us will fall asleep first, and it’s so nice to have him snoozing next to me. :)

  67. Lauren says...

    While I was studying abroad last year, my boyfriend got a kick out of me reading Modern Seinfeld tweets to him over the phone (https://twitter.com/SeinfeldToday). Eventually, he requested that I do the voices as well – I’ve gotten SUPER good at all them, but Kramer is my specialty!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg now i want to hear you do it!

  68. We’ve definitely done this, alternating who reads each chapter. We also do audiobooks in bed! It’s a nice alternative to watching TV in bed (which experts say will basically kill you) but is good for people who still like to be entertained in that last hour before bed. I love doing non-fiction books or podcasts that lead to good discussions; “Brandwashed” and “Salt, Sugar, Fat” were some recent picks, and the “Middlesex” audiobook is fantastic if you’re into fiction. (Possibly even better than the novel itself, which I did not think was possible.) We also did “The Hunger Games” trilogy. :)

  69. Kimmie Merkley says...

    My husband and I started this when we had a long layover on a trip to Brazil. He hadn’t brought any reading material (I was aghast when I heard) and I had packed an old favorite, East of Eden. We were waiting in the airport and I was trying to read but he was trying to talk to me, so finally he proposed that I just read out loud to him. I had been wanting him to read East of Eden forever, so this was a dream come true. I read bits and pieces to him the rest of our trip and finished up over the next months when we were home. We haven’t read out loud since then, but it really is a wonderful way to spend time together

  70. allie says...

    One of my favorite traditions with my husband is when he reads to me. We started it on a family holiday to lord howe island, where we’d drink a glass of wine in the outdoor bath before dinner with the rest of the clan! He was reading an old Ian Flemming book (the creator of James Bond) and he still buys any Flemming book he finds at yard sales to read to me – complete with the british accent for Bond himself <3

  71. Jill says...

    Tried in vain – husband is the type that as soon as his body hits the sheets (yes, not even head-to-pillow), he’ll be drowsy and fall asleep. I’ve timed him… Disappointing as I’m a book worm and would love it, but I guess it’s not a deal breaker ;)

  72. We also have a collection of poems by Wendell Berry- one of our favorites- and we try to read one out loud to each other every night.

  73. This is so sweet. Not exactly the same, but my husband and I have been reading Modern Love from the NYTimes out loud every Sunday for 7 years. I secretly love when we forget/don’t have time for a few weeks and they pile up, so we take turns reading.

  74. Laura says...

    This is a great idea. If you haven’t already read Tobias Wolff’s Old School, I highly recommend it. Lately I’ve enjoyed The Rocks–not at all my husband’s taste but a bit like going on vacation for me. I recommended that he read Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and he enjoyed it just as much as I did–absolutely riveting nonfiction. I want to read The Narrow Road to the Deep North now, but am not sure I’m up for more time in Japanese POW camps…

  75. My husband and I have been reading The Chronicles of Narnia together. They’re still my favorite books, and they really impacted me as a child, and he’s never read (all of) them! So since it’s a pretty easy read, and each book is only about 100-150 pages, we go through them pretty quickly, and it’s so fun to see what things catch his attention, and also to share what parts are particularly meaningful to me or affected me as a child (or still do!). It’s one of my favorite things we do, and such a great alternative when we’re both tired of watching TV but want some kind of story. :)

  76. Ivy says...

    On our “babymoon” for our first son, we went to a cabin at a state part for a long weekend, and read “the Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” a sci-fi classic by Robert Heinlein, in front of the fire. A perfect memory.

  77. Robin says...

    My husband would read to me when I was pregnant. We would lay in bed at night, and my babies (both times!) would kick like crazy when they heard dad’s voice. They really loved hearing Stuart Little… and we still read it to them now (3 and 5 years later).

  78. Bekkah says...

    Before my husband and I were married we read all seven Harry Potter books aloud to each other. We loved it so much we have since read Matilda, The Phantom Tollbooth and are currently working on Divergent. There are so many young adult/children’s chapter books we love and we have found we enjoy so much more when we read them together.

  79. I love this! It has been far too long since Josh and I read together in bed! I want to do this tonight! I think one of the problems is I tend to go for trashy chick lit and he goes for out there science fiction! haha

    Her Heartland Soul
    http://herheartlandsoul.com

  80. katie says...

    My husband and I started doing a devotional book for newly married couples when were first married. There was a short story, then a handful of questions. The questions ranged from parenting, finances, God, and everything in between. It was such a sweet time of exploring how were were going to merge our two sets of ideas into one game plan for our family. We’ve kept up the tradition and have done many more devotions along the way. Last was a devotion on Song of Solomon. It was an intense, but great way of steaming up the bedroom ;)

  81. I love this idea, but I think it would be difficult to find a book we would both be into…but will give it a try! I just finished Kim Gordon’s book, Girl in a Band and I will try it out on my bf (‘loved it so much and wouldn’t mind reading again)! Yes, you too are adorable! xo

    Kisses,

    (=’.’=)
    -Lauren
    adorn la femme

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i know! i’m always reading books like After Birth or Dept of Speculation, which are decidedly books alex would relate to. that’s why i mostly go for comedy with him. :)

  82. we do that in the car. i drive, he reads and he loves loves loves loves to add something inappropriate to the plot to see if i’m paying attn.

    in bed, sadly he and i are on our phones. i’m reading or catching up on FB and he’s reading reddit.

    • PS. something we don’t do often enough: sometimes we read Ask Amy, or Dear Caroline, before bed. we try to come up with our own advice and then we read to see what the professional offered up.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha, loved these notes, lan.

  83. I love this!! My husband and I started reading War and Peace together, but haven’t gotten very far. We are having a lot of fun, though – he does all the voices for the different characters :) On our most recent plane ride, we read One More Thing, which is so so good. I’d read a story, laugh out loud, and then hand the book over to my husband. We particularly loved Kellogg’s (or: The Last Wholesome Fantasy of the Middle-School Boy). Speaking of funny, Alex is (“and his head popped off!”).

  84. When my husband and I were first dating, we attended an out of state wedding together. The reception went really late, and then we had to leave really early the next morning. He was driving the winding roads outside of Asheville, NC, where there aren’t a lot of exits (or even shoulders) to pull off on. It’s so curvy you have to be really, really alert, and he was struggling to stay awake. I talked about anything and everything I could think of, but that’s hard to do when sleepy as well.

    Suddenly he said “Just read me your book.” I had just started Bridget Jones Diary (this was a long time ago!), and I started over at the beginning. I must have really gotten into the reading, because I didn’t notice when he pulled into a gas station an hour later and just sat there, listening without interruption while we were stopped.

    We took turns reading to each other the rest of the way home, and then he flew back to his city (we were long-distance dating for several months), and we finished up the book over the phone, paying long distance rates, pre-cell phone plans!

    We kept the tradition up, although we have to watch the material now that we have two kids in the car. I used to get headaches when reading in the car, but this “cured” me of that. I think it’s terribly romantic, and it’s one of my favorite things about those early years in our relationship.

  85. MK says...

    I love this idea!

  86. This put such a smile on my face! What a lovely post.
    My husband and I read every night in bed, and it’s something we both look forward to to help us wind down after the day. We’ve never read out loud to each other (although, now I want to try this) but we have exchanged book titles of ones we particularly enjoyed. For example, recently my husband, whose favorite genre is Science Fiction, asked me to read Rendezvous with Rama (Clarke) and I asked him to read Howard’s End (Forster.) We do this every few months or so and it’s fun to try something we normally wouldn’t and often end up thoroughly enjoying!

  87. Twyla says...

    My hubby is too interested in sleeping to listen to me read in bed, but we did take turns reading The Princess Bride to each other on a road trip one summer (YES it’s a book and YES it’s amazing!). We did the voices and everything, it was so fun! And once, I recommended Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer to my Mom, and she loved it so much she started reading it to my Dad while they were lying in bed. It was so intense they often couldn’t fall asleep after!

  88. Georgina says...

    My partner and don’t do this in a formal way. But we always go to bed at the same time and we ALWAYS read, so we’ll often share particularly funny and interesting passages with each other. And we often read the same books; I studied English and he studied Physics so up until we met he hadn’t really read much fiction. One of the things we fell I love over was sharing new books! Reading together in bed is always my favourite part of the day, and it’s the thing I miss the most when we’re not with each other.

  89. Emm says...

    I love this conversation. My husband and I have not read to each other in a while, but I am inspired to. We do have a habit of doing crosswords, or as we call it, “doing a clue”. This consists of my hubby reading out the clues while I contribute without looking at the grid because I’m ready to sleep. Usually I get lazy and drift off, but then I’ll hear a clue I know the answer to and I’ll chime in. Most of the time it sends me to sleep. I find it a good way to focus the mind away from anxious thoughts, of which I have many. We like the crossword in The New Yorker, it has the perfect level of difficulty. The other thing we like to do in bed to chase away the stress of the day, is to look up videos of cute animals on YouTube :) Not quite as literary!

  90. Darcy says...

    Back when we were dating, I used to read to him on long car drives all the time – we seemed to do a lot of them at the time. We have a lot of sweet memories of that time!

    I love the idea of this — after 17 years together, and 2 kids, new ways to bring intimacy are always welcome, KWIM?!?! :-)

  91. Yes – love hearing what my boyfriend reacts to, laughs at, or thinks I need to hear. It’s a surprisingly “together” activity.

  92. This is adorable. Back when I worked in the hospital my coworkers would always tease me about my crush on a super nerdy doctor and comment that if we got married we would read together in bed every night because we were such nerds. I know they were just poking fun but it was kind of the dream. ;) I’m single right now but the idea is totally lovely and hopefully one day I’ll get the chance to try it out.

  93. Mary Jenkins says...

    I loved bird by bird! My friend has a tattoo of two birds because of that book.

  94. jess says...

    yes, i love this! for some reason we have only read each other books while on vacation. quiet beaches or early mornings bleary eyed and awake from jet lag. it’s something i’d like to try at home, too.

  95. Joy says...

    You guys are adorable <3

  96. I love this! There’s something incredibly sweet and romantic about reading to someone you love.

  97. Bethanne says...

    Love this. When my husband and I got married we decided to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series together before bed. The Long Winter really sticks out in my memory, since we read it while we were going through our first long winter together in Michigan:) Just this past year we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder house and museum together, which was something we talked about doing while reading them. Nerds, I know.

  98. Erin says...

    During the last trimester of pregnancy with my daughter, I was barely sleeping. My husband and I had stumbled upon a book that looked funny in a shop in Austin and he began reading it to me one night. The book was Shitty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us. My husband read a couple of chapters to me each night and we’d laugh ourselves to sleep. After that, we worked our way through a couple of the Harry Potter books – a perfect escape when you’re a week past your due date. It’s such a fond memory and I highly recommend it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that!

  99. I love this! One of us will often whip out the book we’re reading at the moment to read select favorite passages to the other when we have some down time or even just time commuting together on the train. Usually, it’s touching or thought-provoking portions from a book that’s really affecting one of us. Sometimes, (when he’s lucky ;)), it’s a dramatic reading of my favorite poet–Wendell Berry.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that!

  100. Clare says...

    During the first trimester of my pregnancy I was quite sick and my husband often read Harry Potter to me in bed to fall asleep. Now that I’m feeling better (yay, second trimester!) I still ask him to read to me at least once a week since I imagine our son listening in. We’re still working through all the Harry Potters – so fun!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so sweet. (and congratulations:)

  101. Mollie says...

    I’m currently reading Judy Blume’s “In An Unlikely Event” — it’s interesting to revisit an author I loved so much during my preteen years.

  102. bridget says...

    there’s something so romantic about this! my husband and i started reading to each other in bed when i started reading one of his favorite books. to entice me to read it, he read it out loud to me one night, and it sort of became this sweet habit we maintained until we finished the book. i love the idea of continuing it with short stories and other books!

  103. My parents do this! Mom reads to Dad cause Dad doesn’t necessarily like to read, but likes to listen. Although he has terrible hearing. He has hearing aids that he turns off for fun so he’s in silence or that he can switch to zen music. Mom might just be reading out loud to herself, come to think of it. It’s still cute in a dysfunctional way.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that is adorable.

  104. Teresa says...

    My husband and I also read the Hobbit together, then the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and are now reading Ed Abbey’s Monkey Wrench Gang–all books he’d already read, but I had not. Since the books are new to me, usually, I do the reading, and he stays awake for a little while (i may have to try Alex’s idea of inserting random plot changes just for fun!). Next up, after the Abbey, I think we’ll pick up something that is new to him. Its the nicest way to unwind. It helps both of us turn off “to-do” lists, work, and worries that constantly run through our brains so that we can both sleep. And it creates a sweet, intimate moment for just the two of us outside of all the distractions a day can bring. I love it!

  105. Emily says...

    I met my current boyfriend when I was visiting my hometown for only 3 weeks. After I left we spoke on the phone everyday for almost 4 months before we lived in the same city again. At the time we read each other bits of what we were reading over the phone – I mean how could we have something interesting to talk about everyday? The funny part is neither of us like to talk on the phone and at the time he was reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian- which is awfully gory-but nonetheless transportive in its language.

  106. We also read together on our honeymoon! Death comes for the archbishop- very appropriate for Santa Fe! Sometimes in bed, definitely on car rides. It’s lovely.

  107. Samantha says...

    This is such a sweet idea. Both my husband and I love to read; it would be fun to see what the other would pick.

  108. My husband and I have only read one book together..The Hobbit. We had SO MUCH FUN reading it together..in bed or on long car rides. It is such a sweet memory for me. We should read another one! :)
    http://www.sweetlytattered.com