Introducing “Read With Me”

I’ve started an online book club to make it easy for people to consume meaningful, exciting, beautiful works of classic literature.

I’ll read you one chapter a week (you can listen, read along, or just read the assigned chapter yourself), and then I’ll share my highlights. You’re welcome to discuss each chapter as we go with me and other thoughtful, motivated readers in the group—but that’s not required.

When you join the group you’ll get a weekly email with my reading of each chapter, and one with my highlights commentary. These will also be posted to a Facebook group, where we can discuss them. If you’re joining after we’ve already started, you’ll get a list of quick links to all the listening/reading to catch up with the rest of us.

You can join the Facebook group here.
You can join the email list here.

I know so many people – thoughtful, intelligent, motivated people – who avoid reading the classics. And for understandable reasons: they’re busy, they don’t know what to read, they’ve never been taught how to enjoy it, they have unpleasant memories of tedious discussions in high school English…

Bring me your intimidated, uninitiated, jaded and disillusioned. Let me show them what reading can be.

More about me:

I love classic literature. I LOVE classic literature. Hugo wrenches my heart and makes me weep tears of anguish and of wonderment. Rostand stirs me to noble ambition in work and love and life. Tolstoy challenges me to think – and to feel – on planes higher than I had ever known. Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Jane Austen, Maupassant, Rattigan, Sinclair Lewis – all have helped me to see, in the words of English professor Mark Edmundson, “that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intense—more alive with meaning than [I] had thought.”

I love helping others to discover that meaning.

I have often written about my experiences introducing my students at VanDamme Academy to the power of literature. A graduate once memorably wrote to me, “I could not be who I am, and I am proud of who I am, without you. Literature has given me a new sense of individual identity and self-worth.”

Knowing I am a self-proclaimed “evangelist for classic literature,” someone recently wrote to me asking for a book list. I sent some suggestions, and then made the off-hand comment that I should start some sort of on-line “Read With Me” book club, where I could offer guidance, accountability, inspiration. I immediately thought I SHOULD REALLY start on online book club. Nothing could be more satisfying. So, I’ve decided to test the idea with my favorite book of all, Victor Hugo’s “Ninety-Three.” I’m offering membership for this first book completely free.

To Review…here is what I provide to members of the group:

  1. Audio: I send out a chapter at a time of me reading the book to you. This gives you a discrete, manageable assignment and someone to guide you through it.
  2. Discussion: I highlight and draw out what I find to be most valuable about the chapter. My comments are not soulless, academic lessons, but thoughts meant to draw out the real value of the book TO YOU.
  3. A Forum: The Facebook group gives members the opportunity to discuss the chapter with other thoughtful, motivated readers.

Join me in reading Ninety-Three. Follow this link to the Facebook group and click “join”:

OR, if you’re not on Facebook, and you just want to get the emails, sign up here:

Whether you think you could never make it though a book of classic literature or you’ve read dozens of the classics, I look forward to the challenge of making literature a more meaningful part of your life than you ever imagined.

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