Lockdown 2020: “Decameron” to “War and Peace” & Reading Aloud

Vonnegut is great for reading aloud.

Everyone listens to audiobooks these days.  In fact, it’s hard to find a time when we’re not plugged into something. A few years ago a blogger wrote about listening to audiobooks with her boyfriend.  That’s rather sweet, but it’s even nicer to read books aloud with your boyfriend.

It used to be a cheap evening in for us, and now it still is:  plus, now we have t to stay home.  You don’t have to devote a lot of time to the project.  Reading a chapter or two every day is a pleasure.  Any genre you like, though we tend to stick to short books.  I recommend Kurt Vonnegut.


100 Days of Decameron


Anna Barker, a professor at the Univeristy of Iowa, will lead a discussion of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron on Twitter starting on April 1.  She will be using the Project Gutenberg edition translated by J. M. Rigg.

She writes,

As the Great Plague, known as Black Death, was devastating Europe in the middle of the 14th century, Giovanni Boccaccio was writing a book of unparalleled wit and imagination to help rally the sagging spirit of humanity. Written between 1348 and 1352, The Decameron takes place in a Tuscan villa where seven young women, Pampinea, Filomena, Neifile, Fiammetta, Elissa, Lauretta, and Emilia, and three young men, Filostrato, Dioneo, and Panfilo, are self-quarantined while the plague is ravaging Florence. Being young and of active disposition, they stave off boredom by establishing a routine – every day they take walks, sing and tell stories.

Then there’s The Decameron Project.

According to the Tor website:  “Over on Patreon, award-winning author (and Tor.com contributor) Jo Walton, poet and author Maya Chhabra, and librarian, singer, and SF/F fan Lauren Schiller recently launched the Decameron Project, which aims to provide readers with a new donation-supported short story or novel excerpt every day as long as the world is under threat by the coronavirus.”

Then there’s Tolstoy Together. Read and discuss War and Peace with Yiyun Li and A Public Space. Starting March 18, join us for a free virtual book club—a moment each day when we can gather together as a community.#TolstoyTogether.

Let me know about other “lockdown” projects!.

%d bloggers like this: