Announcement: Slow-Read Sunday

I’d like to slowly read/re-read some classics this year with any of you that are interested. So, I’m announcing a new weekly blog feature I’m going to call “Slow-Read Sunday.”

I’m sure some of you have read the article by Maura Kelly that appeared in The Atlantic in March. Kelly argues that 30 minutes a day of slow-reading is not too much to ask of anyone and I tend to agree. Along the theoretical grounds she established I think we should shoot for a book a month. In a year we’ll have read 12 classics together.

The Plan

What I plan to do is generally prescribe our weekly goals. Then, on Sundays, I’ll try to summarize where we’ve been that week and do my best to inspire some discussion in the comments.

By slow-reading, aiming for only a book a month, I hope you won’t feel like you’re being forced to read nothing but the month’s selection. You’ll have time for whatever else is on your reading plate. Those with limited time can find a way to read 30 or so pages a day, and if you do that every day for a month you’ll have finished one of the greatest novels ever written, a true classic.

February’s Selection: The Brothers Karamazov

In February, I think we should have a go at The Brothers Karamazov. It’s on every list of my favorite books that I’ve ever attempted to put together and Alyosha is one of my top ten favorite literary characters of all-time. I realize this is an awfully ambitious place to start a slow-reading project, but it’s the perfect book for it in my opinion because it’s long. If you can read this one you can read anything. It’s also a beautiful story with several fully developed characters.

I’ll be reading the Pevear translation. There are some cheaper editions that you could manage with, but the Pevear translation is generally viewed as superior.

For the first week I propose we read Part One, up to p. 161 of the edition above, by February 3, 2012. By my math that’s 23 pages each day for a seven-day week. If you’re using a different edition you should be able to manage by reading Part I in your edition.

Here are a couple of resources that might help you with your reading:

1. Dartmouth Resources for The Brothers Karamazov.

2. Middlebury Study Guide.

A Comment About Our Pace

We should average about 30 pages a day through the course of the month. If you get behind you can always just wait to read the week’s post until you’ve caught up and join the discussion then. Every Sunday I’ll post my thoughts on the section we’ve read that week and you can join in with comments whenever you get the time.

Look at this as an opportunity to start a daily reading habit if you haven’t already or as an opportunity to read a classic all over again with some new folks.

Who’s in? We’ll discuss Part One of The Brothers Karamazov next Sunday, February 3rd.

Photo: Some rights reserved by blumenbiene.


  1. Deanna

    I was hoping to get the title of the next selection. I will not be able to participate this first time around, but am excited to join in the fun next time.

    1. Brandon Monk

      I’m leaning toward an in depth reading/viewing of “Hamlet” in March. I hope that’s something you’re interested in Deanna.

      1. Deanna

        That sounds wonderful!

  2. Jocelyn

    I’m definitely looking forward to participating in this!
    It’s a great idea 🙂

    1. Brandon Monk

      Glad to hear that Jocelyn. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our selections.

  3. Anita

    What a good idea. I’m currently working on another blog reading challenge (through February) so I’ll probably not commit to this first one. But I shall stay tuned.

    1. Brandon Monk

      Sounds good Anita. Looking forward to reading with you in March.

  4. Chris(ty)

    Downloaded the book, I’m in! Needed this push to read some more classics, especially by great Eastern European authors. Have you read “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” —seven shades of awesome, that.

    1. Brandon Monk

      Awesome. Glad to hear it. I’m interested to hear your thoughts The Brothers Karamazov. I have read The Unbearable Lightness of Being and it is one of my all-time favorites. Kundera is a master and I think that’s my favorite by him.

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