I like to read my work aloud. It's essential for picture books - after all, if I don't like reading it aloud, then no one else will! And if I stumble on awkward phrasings, then other readers will too. But for me, reading aloud is essential for my novels too. Reading aloud slows the pace - I notice things I wouldn't have noticed with silent reading, such as the repetition of phrases. (Just how many times can I let my characters "hesitate" or "frown"?) Reading aloud makes me focus on the words and the rhythm of the writing - it has to be pleasing to my ears. Reading aloud alerts me to continuity problems (I have no idea why - it just does).
But back to the engineer. Already he must suspect that I'm a little "different." After all, I have children's books, posters, and toys in my office. And my sticky notes represent plot outlines, not action items. But my dramatic renditions (in different accents and volume) must totally spook him. And so today, while he is gone, I can read Lizzie aloud to my heart's content without causing him to doubt my sanity. The rest of the time, I suppose I'll have to shut my office door.