Growing up in a house of fervent readers, one of the biggest challenges of my relationship was getting my husband to understand my passion for reading.
My inlaws are very outdoorsy people. So it seems slightly absurd to them that I can spend several days hauled up with a book. In order to avoid the typical fights, my husband and I came to the arrangement – he gets a ps4 and I get to read. Our alone time can be spend doing what we most enjoy and we are not allowed to complain about being neglected.
My husband (a serious online gamer) was continuously asking about the stories and supporting my passion for reading. Even though it is not something that interested him, he never discouraged me from reading. But whenever I would bring up him reading, the answer would always be “I’ll wait for the movie”.
So when my sister in law and myself were raving about Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard earlier this year, the guys were watching a new trailer for a popular online game. After a while we asked them what they were so excited about and the showed us the trailer. It was like the animated version of Red Queen. (Okay not at all, but I saw my opportunity to make the story that we love relevant to the guys, and I took it)
Some of the characters in the very popular online game has similarities (and once again I use this vaguely as the aim of it was to find something relevant to my book to get my husband interested)
In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, my sis in law and I started renaming some of these characters to match our new fictional friends. This likes of Mare Barrow and Evangeline Samos made such an impact on the guys that my husband gave in and picked up the book.I vaguely heard the words “it can’t be that bad if they look like that” came out of his mouth.
I have succeeded in my first goal! He picked up the book! (Ladies and Gentlemen prepare for hell to freeze over.) The best part about it was, there was no fight. I realized in this moment that if I make a fuss, that book is going right back to it’s sacred place on my shelf. I need to be cool.
Initially the reading went slow. So slow that most people would rarely classify it as reading. (1 Chapter a night does not make a reader) But as the build started he could not put it down. Plot twist after plot twist came and he started getting curious. The questions came in a steady stream, to which I merely responded I don’t want to spoil it for you. (tip: the beauty of reading is leaving it up to the imagination.) At the end of the first book he was hooked. Who can blame him with that cliffhanger? Close to midnight that evening I saw something that shocked me to my inner core. He got up and started the next book.
Ladies and Gentlemen this is the same man whose only goal was to finish one, I repeat one and only one book, this year. I am happy to report steady progress on book two and I anticipate at this rate we just might finish the series by the end of the year. (and yes,we. As I am pretty much rereading all of this to help with interpretations)
We are taking it slow and setting up manageable reading goals. I don’t push him too hard, I don’t want to demotivate him by over pressuring. But things are going great and the other night he sat up reading even after I went to bed.
5 tips for first time readers
For first time readers, it is important to read for enjoyment. Don’t force yourself through it.
Pick a genre / author you will enjoy reading. If you don’t like fantasy movies, you are not going to like the books. (Books are always better than the movies but if it is not your cup of tea don’t start with it.)
Find a great reading space. If you find it hard to focus on the story, find a quiet place with limited or preferably no distractions.
Unless you know you are going to love the series (based on recommendations) start with a novel. Series become a serious commitment if you are starting out and can add unnecessary pressure.
It is great to be ambitious and strive towards reading the 500 to 800 pages, but don’t start out with such a huge book. Most avid readers don’t read more than 2 of those monstrosities in a year. Kick off with a small to medium books.
If you have awesome tips, please feel free to share them in the comments with us.
2 thoughts on “How I got my husband to read”
Well done on coaxing him gently into the whole reading thing!
I’m not sure I could even substain a friendship, much less a relationship, with someone whom I couldn’t discuss stories with. I got some friends who aren’t readers, but usually we play some of the same games we can rave about together, so it’s all good 😛
Thank you. It has been quite the experience and I highly recommend it to anyone. Especially if you yourself are in a slump. First time readers experience the magic of imagination with such intensity it is quite inspirational.
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