A Little Big About The Big Read
The Big Read — a large group reading project and book club — started in 2021 with Leo Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace. The idea was simple: go through the 360-chapter book at the pace of just one short chapter per day. It was so successful that I decided to continue with the same book here in ‘22. (It’s not too late to join!)
In January 2022, Substack interviewed me about this project, which you can read here.
In 2023, we’re doing things just a little differently and going through a handful of books:
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (January-March)
A non-fiction title I haven’t 100% landed on yet (April-May)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (June-September)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (October, for Halloween!)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (November-December)
If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Us This Year!
In the meantime, here’s four reasons you should consider reading War and Peace in 2022:
1. Rebel against your internet-induced shortened attention span.
Reading War and Peace over the course of a year is a great way to just commit to something for the long haul. It will provide an anchor for your days and weeks and give you an incredible sense of accomplishment at the end.
2. Cross War and Peace off of your bookish bucket list.
The idea of picking up a 1,300-page Russian classic is definitely intimidating. Going through it over the course of a year with some accountability is a great way to finally check War and Peace off your lifetime reading list.
3. Become a better, more engaged reader.
Once you’ve read War and Peace, you can read anything. No book will be intimidating. On top of that, you’ll learn that slowing down, understanding the context, looking at the details, and doing all of it in community deepens your appreciation for what you’re reading.
4. Wrestle with the biggest questions that history—and life in general—has to offer.
How is “greatness” defined?
Do people shape events or do events shape people?
How do we view the tides and cataclysms of history when we’ve living in them?
What’s the point of life? What’s the point of love?
The questions are as big as they come and you’re guaranteed to have deeper ideas about war, history, and the meaning of life when it’s all said and done.
A Few Testimonials, If You Need More Convincing
“It has been a delight to read this book as part of The Big Read. I have especially enjoyed your weekly recaps and found they added so much depth to my understanding and reading experience.” —Pam
“This book has created the experiences of self-reflection, inspiration, and frustration. I am so glad I did this and wish I had read it earlier in life. I will most certainly read this again.” —Levi
“I can say that I have loved the experience of reading the book as part of The Big Read. . . . The experience of reading one chapter a day, with Jeremy’s summaries and everyone’s insights has been an absolute delight. Without The Big Read, I likely wouldn’t have made it through the entire novel. Thankfully, I can always look back on this tremendous experience of slowly enjoying a truly magnificent work of art.” —Lucas
“These [weekly recaps] have really helped supplement the reading and make sense of everything going on in the book. I have been amazed that Tolstoy is still managing to keep my attention . . . To me, this speaks volumes about his skill as a writer. Even in the less exciting portions of the book, you can find a few lines that just pull you right back into the story.” —David
P.S. Be sure to subscribe to What to Read Next as well—it’s my free weekly newsletter about all things books.