Yiyun Li on “Decanting” War and Peace
In Conversation with Alexandra Schwartz at Greenlight Bookstore
Founded in October 2009 by Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore is an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. Combining the best traditions of the neighborhood bookstore with carefully curated, community-minded events, Greenlight has earned a reputation as a literary destination. Greenlight has continued to serve its community during the COVID-19 pandemic with a diverse array of virtual events, and has been inspired by the movements for racial justice across the country to engage in the work of becoming a more anti-racist company. Learn more at greenlightbookstore.com or check them out @greenlightbklyn.
When acclaimed author Yiyun Li and A Public Space invited people to read War and Peace together at the start of the pandemic, thousands around the globe joined for an 85-day journey through Tolstoy’s epic novel. They read together, debated favorite characters, discussed Tolstoy’s craft lessons and concealed structure, found resonances between the novel and our own world.
Tolstoy Together, based on this experiment, is a book about the art of reading. It is a daily motivating companion for the solo reader, a distilling of Tolstoy’s masterful craft, and a template for the book club of the future.
Li is joined in conversation at this launch event by New Yorker writer Alexandra Schwartz, who says of Tolstoy Together’s topic, “Experiencing [War and Peace] over such a stretch is like decanting it; it begins to breathe, to take on new color and flavor, and to perfume everything with its own essence.”