Read And Enjoy Classic Literature
How It Works…
1. Virtual Library
- Listen as I read you works of classic literature, one section at a time – works by such authors as Hugo, Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Wilde, Tennyson, and Rostand.
- Access the recordings along with my commentary from any device. The Read With Me app will allow you to easily navigate chapters, mark your place, and listen on the go. (Available for Apple & Android)
- Enjoy over 50 hours of content, with more added every week.
- Unlike audiobooks and typical literature courses, I integrate commentary after every assignment that highlights what I find most valuable or important about that section.
- My commentary is not dry, soulless, academic lessons, but rather thoughts meant to draw out the real value of the book to you.
2. Live Book Group
- In addition to an ever-growing library of novels, you can join us in reading and discussing our current novel.
- Every Sunday, I will post a new reading assignment, and the following Saturday, I will share my thoughts about the reading.
- You need not stay in pace with the group. The audio and commentary will be added to your virtual library, and will be there for you whenever you’re ready.
3. Facebook Group
- Receive an invitation to our Facebook groups where you can discuss the chapter with me and many thoughtful, motivated readers.
- Participate in the discussion as much or as little as you choose. Some people enjoy sharing their thoughts to the group, others prefer merely to observe the discussion, and still others bypass Facebook and stick to the audio only.
- You need not stay in pace with the group to comment. I monitor comments on past posts, so you can enjoy feedback wherever you are in the group.
Swipe the image to see the app!
“It’s like having someone whisper in your ear, ‘Notice this!’ or, ‘Don’t worry about that!’ right when you need it. This has really helped me get to the core of the book. I think I’ve learned more about the right way to experience and analyze literature in the few weeks that we’ve been together than in my 20 years of formal education.”
“I love feeling connected to the group that’s grown here. I look forward to comments from certain people, and I love when newcomers chime in, too. As much as I LOVE having Lisa as our ‘teacher,’ it’s also nice to get perspectives from all kinds of ‘regular people.'”
Being read To
“Your reading is achingly packed with emotion, your voice so expressive, I feel carried away by it. I wonder sometimes if I’m feeling my emotions, or yours.”
“I love a passionate reader. Sometimes the most subtle change in your voice will cause me to pause the recording and reflect on what I just heard.”
“…I know what to expect. Preliminary thoughts and the reading, a focused summary, another post or two drawing out important elements, and favorites. Just enough without being too much.”
“Many books will languish in my to-read pile for ages until I decide to start a book club about them (and I therefore *have to* read them). This group is an excellent external motivation.”
“This club feels like an oasis. I feel nurtured when I interact with the group, like it’s a spa for the soul.
I always want to come back to enrich my life.”
Q: What is the cost?
I want this app in the hands of anyone who has any interest in it at all. Our world is characterized by a desperate quest for meaning, and I want to help people see how much of that meaning can be found when you crack the pages of musty, old, beautiful, timeless books.
So, I have made the app free to all – to eliminate the financial barrier in front of anyone who can’t afford it, or doesn’t yet understand its value. If you can, and you do, you can support the project with a subscription donation on Patreon.
Q: I may not be able to keep up every week. Should I still participate?
A: The app comes with access to every novel I will ever read. If you fall behind, catch up any time. Peruse the conversations in our Facebooks groups at your leisure. And you are welcome to revisit the material as often as you like.
More About Read With Me
My name is Lisa VanDamme and I am the founder of VanDamme Academy, a small private school in Southern California with big ambitions to provide students with an exceptional education and a joyful learning experience.
The single, animating element of my career – the one that provides me with an endlessly replenishing daily dose of endorphins – is teaching literature. I am not a literary scholar. I cannot classify works by “school” or “movement,” I cannot describe how they reflect the historical period in which they were written, I don’t know how to inventory their various literary devices. And I don’t care to.
If I have a unique talent as a teacher of literature, it boils down to this: I am passionate about great books. 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 derive profound personal joy from literature, and I have a knack for helping others do the same.
That is why I started Read With Me. 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…
If you are intimidated, uninitiated, jaded, disillusioned or just plain busy – read with me. Let me show you what reading can be.