Found via Open Culture, the New York Times has created a new section that allows readers to read and discuss classic books online:
Earlier this month, The New York Times Book Review launched an online Reading Room that lets readers tackle great books with the help of "an all-star cast of panelists from various backgrounds-authors, reviewers, scholars and journalists." The first reading starts with Leo Tolstoy's 1200+ page epic, War and Peace (1865-69), and it's led by book review editor Sam Tanenhaus and a supporting crew consisting of Bill Keller (executive editor of The Times), Stephen Kotkin (a Russian history professor at Princeton), Francine Prose (author of Reading Like a Writer), and Liesl Schillinger (a regular reviewer for the Book Review).
It's great to see the classics breaking through into a mainstream media outlet, and I'm interested to see how the discussion group with "all-star panelists" works out. I would have loved something like this when I was reading 2000 page novels in my pre-blogging days.
On a related note, for those of you who enjoyed PickTheBrain's free audio book and podcast resource collection, Open Culture has a some free audio educational resources that might be of interest: