Words on Wheels

What better job could there be than reading novels aloud to someone who will pay to listen.  Alex Collins writes about his British expat experience as a literary call boy in his article for the San Francisco Chronicle, “Words on Wheels.”  Wearing his tuxedo and non-prescription glasses for effect, and modulating his words with his British accent, Alex rides his bike to his clients and charges one dollar a minute to read to them.

British classics – Austen and Bronte – are popular, but all requests are entertained.

Starting as a way to raise funds for the annual AIDS/Lifecycle charity bike ride, his enterprise has evolved into a business, fueled by a website for requests.  Collins describes some of his clients: a woman who introduced him to the poetry of Rilke, a man who fell asleep listening to Paulo Coelho, another who just liked to hear British literature read by a Brit.  I can relate – listening to an Agatha Christie book on tape read with a Southern accent somehow diminishes the story, but Jane Austen read by Judi Dench – just adds to the pleasure.

I think of the experience as…bibliotherapy…’When you can have the messiness of life read out loud to you, why bother with therapy?’

Read the Article here:  Reader for Hire Has British Accent, Will Travel