Below is an excerpt from an 1857 issue of the Happy Home and Parlor Magazine, a Christian publication, which details some of the impolitenesses that younger people exhibited.
Sometimes reading with friends went beyond just reading and became a dramatic reading. Poems and short plays were published frequently in magazines of the 19th and 20th centuries for people to entertain each other with in the parlor.
Dramatic readings of literature were even public events. Remember in Anne of Green Gables when Anne gets to recite two poems at a concert? (I never miss a chance of inserting an Anne of Green Gables reference.)
We still have this innate desire to share our reading adventures with others. We frequently discuss books we read with friends, some people belong to book clubs and there are numerous online book forums. Not to mention the recent popularity of book series' such as Harry Potter, Twilight (okay, using the word "book" loosely here,) and the Hunger Games.
Some Civil War Era Reading Material for Your Pleasure:
This next one is a skit from Godey's Lady's Book from 1860 about an artist and his highly stereotyped house servant, Tillie. It is an interesting read because you can see the use of derogatory terms and stereotypes as were used in a commonplace way during the period. You might have to right click on the images and open the them in a new window to zoom in.
Does anyone still read aloud with family and friends? Andy and I have been reading Sherlock Holmes together (among other things) over the last few years. Reading aloud is slow going but the dramatics and conversation are irreplaceable. It's much different than watching a movie together because you and your friends contribute to the story. Parts in the story become memorable because of the interactions that accompany the story.