Year in Review, 2023
Popular essays, finishing my book, Victorian literature
I have paused paid subscriptions until early January, when paid posts will resume, with much to come about Shakespeare, more on how to read a poem, and some writing about self-help and talent.
In case you missed it—
This was a good year on The Common Reader. At the start of 2023 there were 3,700 subscribers; we end the year with over 7,300. And paid subscriptions are now growing too. Thank you to everyone who has shared or recommended my work, linked to it in their own publications, and became paid subscribers.
Many thanks to all of you for reading my work and for taking great writing seriously. The best news I get every week is when I hear from readers who have picked up J.S. Mill or who have read Dickens for the first time.
If you have any feedback, good or bad, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
Here’s to a great year in 2024!
The most important thing that happened this year is that I finished my book. It’s called Second Act: What Late Bloomers Can Tell You About Reinventing Your Life. If you pre-order it today, you get the lowest price between now and the release date (9th May in the UK). Pre-orders also get the book a good rating on Amazon, which helps potential late bloomers discover the book.
Most popular essays of 2024.
Being wrong about books. How to interpret literature. (Temporarily unpaywalled)
Writing elsewhere: miracles and entrepreneurs
The two series of articles I have most enjoyed writing this year were about man made miracles and entrepreneurship.
For Entrepreneur First, the first two articles in a series of four were published, about the importance of maintaining your autonomy and how to learn from failure. The next two installments are coming in the new year.
For those of you interested in British politics, I wrote for the New Statesman about Thatcherism, Nimbyism, and Liz Truss.
Paid subscribers, Dickens, and the Victorians
Paid subscriptions started this year, and we have studied nineteenth century literature. Next year we are reading Shakespeare.You can attended the sessions, or read the essays and watch the videos afterwards.
Paid subscribers have received several essays/videos on Dickens, along with essays about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Bronte, The Lady of Shallot and Tennyson’s career, Alice in Wonderland, Christina Rossetti, J.S. Mill’s Autobiography, and Darwin. I have also uploaded videos about How to Read Poetry.
They also read about John Stuart Mill and the death penalty, how Hannah Crafts re-imagined Bleak House as a novel about slavery, Zadie Smith, the religious despair of Sam Bankman-Fried, and William Hazlitt and literary talent.
The Dickens Chronological Reading Club has been a big fixture this year. I wrote about Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, Bleak House as the great English novel, and the art of characterisation in Bleak House. I also wrote about the claim that the novel died with Dickens, and responded to Peter Hitchens about the new adaptation of Great Expectations.
You can find all nineteenth century writing in this section.
Thank you for reading and see you in 2024!