A few multiples of months back we were discussing literature and Martin mentioned an intriguing book. As such, Haroun And The Sea Of Stories by Salman Rushdie has been in my collection since Christmas — but it has just recently climbed to the top of the reading stack and been a priority read.
Other than being something of a confusing children’s novel (though a dark one at that) I was ultimately pleasantly surprised by the book — overall. Yes, a little bit disappointed at the obvious deus ex machina (quite popular in children’s lit, I’m afraid) but definitely no regrets on the time spent with this little book.
I should clarify. I began to really enjoy the novel only after I realized that it is not a book to skim or read “silently.” You know how you do that: skim, jump, read, backpeddle, etc. Rather, this is a book to carefully read out “aloud” (but noiselessly) enunciating in one’s head the words to achieve the full effect. After I got this sussed I enjoyed the story much more.
The requisite explanation: Haroun is a twisting, wordy tale that is wrapped around the premise of a young boy who must save the Great Story Sea from deliberate contamination by evil forces and a mysterious shadow army.
The interesting part was that the wandering language of the book had me thinking about reading aloud to kids. I would need to ponder the opportunity much more, but for some reason (perhaps the pregnant woman lying beside me as I was reading) the book got me thinking about when it might be a good time to get in the habit of finding novels that I can read aloud.
Now, I’m not talking about kids books, picture books, cloth books, or cardboard books. What I refer to specifically is the act of actually reading normal, everyday novels aloud to kids. Is this a good thing to do? I don’t fool myself for a minute in thinking that a month-old baby would actually understand the plot. But it this a way to multi-task? To do something vocal with a child, while getting through a book of your own?
I’m not sure, but in a way I’m determined to find out, and this might be just such the book to start with… thoughts?