One essential condition of fulfillment and happiness is the philosophic conviction that your life belongs to you. But it is only a condition. A truly fulfilled and happy life requires a sense of meaning. How to achieve that meaning is a question for which we have few tried-and-true, culturally established answers. Thankfully, one resource we do have for answering that question, or even knowing how to go about considering it, is great art. This talk explores how classic literature can contribute to the vital quest for meaning.
Recorded live in Cleveland at OCON 2019 on June 26, 2019
I am writing to notify you about two big Read With Me announcements.
The first is that the app is now available free of charge, to eliminate the financial barrier in front of anyone who can’t afford it or doesn’t understand its value. If you go to the web app, or download the app for iPhone or Android, you will have immediate access to the full library of works, including Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris and Ninety Three, Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith, Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata, and more.
The second is that on December 2nd, a week from Sunday, I will begin leading readers through Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. If you’d like to join me and other members on this literary journey, now is the perfect time to download the app.
Dostoevsky said of his faith, “My hosanna has passed through a great crucible of doubt.” I believe it is that crucible – that fathomless depth and merciless rigor of thought, that unyielding determination to leave no psychological stone unturned, that intensity of moral ambition – that makes Dostoevsky required reading for everyone, believers and non-believers alike.
Too often, we adopt our own convictions with unthinking ease, rather than subjecting them to a crucible. My goal in starting Read With Me was to create a community of readers and accompany them on a journey through great works of literature that will challenge, deepen, and expand our outlook on life. Dostoevsky will.
As I said, anyone and everyone can now try Read With Me, because there is no longer a required subscription fee. I am a zealot on a literary mission, determined to show people what they stand to gain when they crack the pages of musty, old, beautiful, timeless books. Those who enjoy, and can afford, and want to support the existence of this program can become voluntary $10/month subscribers through Patreon.
I am not a professional actor. I am not a literary scholar. What I am is a sincere reader and a passionate lover of literature. You can think of the Read With Me app as providing you a book-loving friend in your pocket, always happy to read to you from my heart and to share with you what fascinates me about what we are reading.
Try Read With Me. Share it with the would-be readers in your life. Make literature part of your life.