An Invitation to Storytime!

Following my discussion related to digital vs. material books in a previous post, several readers responded with comments saying they also prefer the joy of holding, touching, fingering actual books of the paper-and-ink variety. In this post, I thought I’d mention a different (hardly new) dynamic:  reading aloud.

Image by Victoria from Pixabay

It’s an ancient practice, reading aloud. (Is it permissible to describe it as an art?) One person pulls out a scroll/manuscript/letter/book and others gather around, captivated by the material being read. Or let’s go even further back when tales were memorized and recited. (This train of thought brings to mind a post from 2011 in which I wrote about one of my possible forebears, the 13th century German poet der Stricker.)

On the shelves of my crowded library, I know there’s a copy (somewhere!) of Jim Trelease’s 1979 book The Read-Aloud Handbook, now in its eighth edition. When I home-schooled our four children, this volume was considered the ultimate how-to for producing children who would become lifelong readers. We read aloud to our babies, so I had a slightly tepid response to this book. Who needs a handbook? Just read!

But today is no day for lukewarm praise! I have found myself enthralled by a new read-aloud podcast which has been moved to the top of my listening queue! This recently launched podcast, Storytime for Grownups, features the traditional read-aloud format and it is outstanding!

Blessed with the superb gift of crisp diction, author Faith Moore is also (coincidentally) Andrew Klavan’s daughter. (Read about him in my previous post.)

As her first entry into read-aloud podcasts, Moore reads the literary classic Jane Eyre. She’s warm, engaging and clearly loves Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel. The podcast is no hoity-toity classroom teacher schooling doltish students from her depth of Victorian-era insights. No, not quite. In this particular venue, we’re huddled close together in cushy chairs, sipping tea from dainty porcelain cups and drinking in the vivid word pictures of Jane Eyre’s world, as read by kindred spirit Faith Moore. Occasionally, Moore interjects brief explanatory comments to clarify the odd word or phrase. Her observations are helpful and necessary, conversational tidbits to enrich the experience for her companions.

Image by Esther Merbt from Pixabay

Having read Jane Eyre often over my life, I’m familiar with the narrative. Hearing it retold by Moore is a treat. Her friendly demeanor welcomes the listener into a virtual drawing room of literary delight. Though she and I have never actually met, her manner is so endearing, I feel as though we could be close friends!

Moore is the author of two books, both of which I’ve read. With Christmas Karol (her novel), Moore introduces a modern twist to the perennial Dickens tale. In Saving Cinderella, Moore provides an excellent defense of the princess narrative and how Disney got it wrong. Both books reflect wisdom and thoughtfulness. I highly recommend them and offer an enthusiastic thumbs-up for her new podcast, Storytime for Grownups. (I only wish she had fifteen or twenty other literary classics already recorded … but I will patiently wait for upcoming productions.)

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