Toby wrote an article for the Camden New Journal advocating for (what else?) the joy of Big Reads:

Full article may be found here:

“Does it help to know that others before us have felt this despair? Dante’s infernal vision arose from his spiritual sickness at the political and ecclesiastical corruption infecting his beloved Florence, his revered Church. He climbed out of the layers of Hell, punishing those who had rent the fabric of his world – and creating a beatific vision from the depths of despair.

From Homer through Joyce into Ellison and Morrison, we find analysis of the xenophobia – the fear of the stranger articulated as racism, anti-semitism, anti-immigrant, homophobia – that has reduced our common humanity. To read is to enter into the experience of another and recognise yourself.

A few final suggestions. Read with a wide-awake mind. Many of us have developed a habit of reading before falling asleep – not the most attentive state of mind. Choose a time each day and give yourself an hour. Stay with the book for at least a week, some works take 50 to 100 pages to warm up and the book will teach you to read it as you enter its particular realm or way of seeing the world.