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Ten Years of Big Readers

In April 2003 the BBC's Big Read began the search for the nation's best-loved novel and they created a forum so people could discuss those novels. The discussions continued even after the BBC forum closed. Ten years later we're still discussing.

That calls for a celebration. Virtual champagne all round.


Yes, cheers to us!  Thanks for remembering, Marita - can't believe it's been ten years.  Though I remember Verity being 14!

Three cheers for the Big Read board!

When I first got online - some time in the late 90s - I soon found myway to the Penguin Classics board. But by 2003, that was on its last legs, so I migrated to the BBC Big Read board. I am still in touch (via Facebook) with the main contributors to the Penguin Classics board. Indeed, one of them, with whom I had crossed words on many occasions, turned out (after a few years' acquaintance on the board) to be working in an office just ten minutes walk from were I lived: we soon met up, and we remain friends.

I have met a few people from the Big Read board (and its successors), and it has always been delightful. But, online or  offline, despite the various ups & downs, it has all been quite lovely!

As a relative late comer to the forum - I joined a few months before the beeb board closed, and I always like love reading comments and contributing where I can.

Happy birthday Big Readers!  occasion9

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to those who have worked so hard and given so freely of their time and expertise to keep this site going through all its manifestations. I know some of your names, but as I cannot find a list, I think I would be sure to miss out someone who deserved a mention, so I will stick to a global vote of thanks.

I have loved reading this board for the last 10 years and look forward to continuing for even longer into the future. I have 'met' some delightful people here and also, through their recommendations, come to enjoy books and authors who would otherwise have remained unknown to me.

Thank you everyone! I wish the champagne could be more than virtual...
Joe McWilliams


How long have I been on board? Half of that time, maybe? I value it highly, though you might not see a post from me for weeks at a time. Keep up the good work!

Cheers everyone  occasion5

I don't know how I remember the date, but I believe 26th October 2003 was when I first logged on, a bit later than E/V and Himadri and some of the other old hands (I include myself as an old hand, I'm not being intentionally ageist). I have a few months to go before I can celebrate my personal ten-year anniversary, then, but I'll break out the Martini, or would if I could find an appropriate emoticon.

snorting  elephant  Safe

The pig is because I was born in the Year of the Pig, the elephant is because I will never forget the many happy events of this board and its ancestors, and the man wearing a condom as a hat is for novelty value.

Yes, I too was born in the Year of the Pig, although not the same one, I am quite sure!

Although I do a lot more lurking than posting, I am thrilled the forum is still going strong.  occasion5

Here's to the next ten years!

I was in England with time on my hands while my husband was working when I came across the BBC Big Readers' message board.  And what a delight it has been over the years, and not just in itself, but it lead me to several others, mostly historical ones or language ones.  And I have made some good friends from them.  In those days people suggested that everyone you 'met' on the internet was someone other than what they said, and I have been so pleased to find so many lovely people wandering round it.

Thank you all.
Joe McWilliams

Hi Caro

Not to impose, but I would be interested in checking out the historical and language boards of which you speak, if they're still active.
Joe McWilliams

I see I never got a response to this. Still interested, though.

Hi Joe,

I don't remember seeing this before, though quite possibly I just thought I would reply later and forgot.

The boards are a bit tricky.  This one, which I would recommend as a very friendly little group of mostly men, is a closed board so you have to apply to join.  But normally if people seem genuine we accept them, and we would certainly accept you, since I would say I knew you, and liked you.  They do talk a lot about war - best generals, strategies, planes, artillery, weapons, etc.  I have to mostly ignore those threads since I know nothing about them, but I can join in other war-related threads.  And there are quite a lot of other discussions about history and other things too.  I think you would enjoy it - there are a couple of people on it who live or have lived in Canada.  Others from NZ, England, and Australia.  [url]!forum/worldhistoryjiglu[/url]

The one dealing with language and words has become a little moribund at the moment, with some people leaving and others away for various reasons.  If it picks up a bit I will get back to you.  The third one is a very intellectual one run by a very clever man who knows everything and can be a bit strong and cutting, so I am not sure if you would enjoy that or not.  It is here:

Hope you do join one of them, you would be a big asset.

Cheers, Caro.
Joe McWilliams

Thanks Caro. I'll give it a whirl. I'm sorry to hear about the language and words group not being active. That was the one that most interested me.

Hello Joe,

That board seems to have come to life a bit recently, at least with the language stuff.  It is at and the language threads are at Word of Mouth.  It is very British-oriented, but still interesting for me at least.

I don't know what you have to do to sign up for it though.

Cheers, Caro.

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