Tomorrow is World Book Night, an annual celebration dedicated to “spreading the love of reading, person to person.” Tomorrow night, tens of thousands of people all across the US, the UK and Ireland will give away free paperbacks in their communities in order to promote reading and the love of printed books. If you want to spread the love of books in a more personal way, however, we came up with another way to celebrate the evening — by having someone read a book aloud to you, or by reading aloud to one of your friends. After all, reading a book out loud to someone else is one of the best ways to truly share and give a love of reading — at least, this author got hers from being read to every night as a child (and yes, sometimes as a grown up). If you’re in Brooklyn tonight, WORD is hosting a bookish event for the occasion. If not, click through to check out our list of wonderful books to read aloud or have read aloud to you, be sure to suggest your own favorite read-aloud fare in the comments, and then share a story with someone you love tonight!
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
Nothing beats the luscious sonority of Nabokov’s prose. It practically begs to be read aloud, so we’ll let it speak for itself:
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”