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The Big Wide Calm

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn't know it yet. She's got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions--and make her galactically famous along the way.

When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige's album for free, i
Paperback, 254 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by Langdon Street Press (first published May 6th 2014)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Big Wild Calm or TBWC (as referenced in the book), is based around the life of Paige Plant. Paige is in her mid-twenties, arrogant, and a talented musician who needs to learn what love is in order to write about it and sell her music to a wider audience.

Having been raised by a father who is an avid Led Zeppelin fan, Paige had her last name changed to Plant when she was younger and it isn’t until this period in her life that she realizes that she is living her father’s dream and not her own.

Nancy Steinle gummel
The Big Wide Calm: a Novel by Rich Marcello is a first read win and I'm giving my honest opinion. This is a beautiful book with a haunting story line. The characters arte reverently drawn out. It's a simple story and Marcello writes it perfectly. The story is about Paige Plant, named after Led Zeppelin. Her father taught her music starting with piano and acoustic guitar. After breaking up with her boyfriend is approached by John, who becomes her mentor. He believes in her and her music. He offer ...more
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.

I can't believe I read the same book as the others who reviewed it. I didn't find the characters believable, the plot twists seemed forced (particularly the violence), and some of the wording was cloying. I did find the information about the songwriting process interesting. However, if I hadn't received the book as a Giveaway, I wouldn't have finished it.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Just wow! I cannot express how much I loved this book! One of the best contemporary literature novels I’ve ever read. With all the talk about changing the world and becoming world famous in this book, I hope the book itself can find the its own place in contemporary literature history and be remembered as a classic about self-discovery, art, and chosen families.

Following Paige Plant in her search for fame, for multigenerational art, for the big wide calm was a spectacular journey. Her dynam
Anna C
Jul 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned-books
By page one, I knew I was going to hate this book. I ended up reading another 35 pages until I just couldn't take it anymore. I left that so frazzled that I went to bed without my nightcap (a nice sip of Evelyn Waugh).

The problem all comes down to voice. Say an author has crafted a very distinctive voice you simply can't stand. Do you put the book aside? Do you grit your teeth and congratulate the author on creating and maintaining just a unique tone? Do you criticize the book, but sparingly (b
Robert Duder
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“The big wide calm.”
“What do you mean?”
“For years, I’ve been wandering around with this phrase, the big wide calm, never exactly sure what it meant. I even wondered if you’d touched it yourself when I first met you. Maybe it has something to do with the place underneath emotion.”

The place underneath emotion….it was this line relatively early in the book that sent chills down my spine and I knew I was hooked. The Big Wide Calm by Rich Marcello not only won me over but I think I may place it i
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing cliché about Rich Marcello’s second novel, The Big Wide Calm. This “rock” solid story is distinctly fresh, blessedly uncomplicated and uniquely quirky. You will likely not have ever met characters such as Paige and John and their journey together is a beautiful tribute to the power of imagination and creative storytelling.

Though Rich Marcello excels at writing in an unassuming and straightforward tone, there is nothing simple about the layers of intrigue, introspection and obse
Michelle Morgan
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edited
Rich Marcello’s sophomore novel is even better than his debut. It is a rare thing to find a book with such soul, such powerful writing combined with expert storytelling, but this author has proven himself a master…again. Like “The Color of Home,” he has crafted his second novel with easy-to-read narrative infused with music you can actually feel, and his characters will leave you reeling long after you’ve finished reading.

“The Big Wide Calm” isn’t just a novel or an album or a place; it’s a stat
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I received this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway.

The main premise of The Big Wide Calm seems pretty far-fetched, and many of the storylines feel almost forced and convenient. In theory it would be fun to follow along on the journey of a talented singer/songwriter on the cusp of “making it,” but the main character, Paige, is so arrogant, thinking herself beyond amazing (a goddess deserving of mega-fame, saving the world through her multigenerational art, to paraphrase her words) that it just ab
Melissa Fry Beasley
Paige Plant! Paige Plant!! Paige Plant!!!
What a young woman and what a wild ride!
This is a novel about a girl 'growing down', holding her own, and becoming herself. (with many surprising twists, turns, and loops)This fun and imaginative journey makes for a fast paced, exciting read that will leave you breathless and exhilarated in the end.
Great characters who are full bodied, real. Each so easy to love in their own way .. well, except the numbers. The Great Wide Calm has it all .. true family,
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to TL by: Goodreads FirstReads
I received this via GoodReads first reads in exchange for an honest review.

Beautifully written but just couldn't get into it... would still recommend though, you might see it differently than me.
Saskia Andriulli
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"The Big Wide Calm" by Rich Marcello is the story of Paige Plant, a mid-20's singer-songwriter on a mission to save the world through music. Having been primed for this role since she was a little girl (her dad legally changed her name to Paige Plant, after Led Zeppelin's very own Jimmy Page and Robert Plant). She stands on the shoulders of legendary notables such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Mumford and Sons, and many others. Idolized musicians who have reached out t ...more
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Goodreads rating: 4.07/5 stars

Amazon rating: 4.90/5 stars

My rating: 4.7/5 stars

I really want this review to be absolutely spoiler-free because this is a really good book that I don't want to spoil for anyone.
There was something very unique about this novel that I have not seen since I read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The writing was very honest and it was something that I can only describe as soulful, as was Paige Plant, the main character. The reader immediately falls in love with
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-read
I won The Big Wide Calm for free in a GoodReads giveaway. I received a good-looking trade-paperback with a blue-based, suitably illustrated cover, soft matte-finish and 247 pages of lightly serifed font.

The Big Wide Calm is the story of a young woman destined to become a singer-songwriter super-star, and is told from her first-person narrative. The book dives immediately into the premise of her meeting an older recording-industry veteran to be taken under his wing and groomed into a serious reco
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If it isn’t obvious right away, the central core of what makes The Big Wide Calm such a captivating story isn’t the subject of music or even the thematic concept of self-discovery and retrospective, but the amazing character development. I read and review a lot of books, but so many fall flat because of the lack of interesting or sympathetic characters. Not the case here.

From the get-go, we are introduced to a protagonist in Paige Plant, a young, aspiring singer-songwriter, in whom we find all
I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

I enjoyed Rich Marcello's previous novel much more. While there was poetic descriptions a lot of the banter and dialogue felt forced and so did the plot. I frankly didn't find Paige all that likable which normally isn't a problem but it was hard to be invested in her success when she seemed intent on sabotaging herself and having all of this be portrayed through internal narration. She actually reminded me of the female protagonist in Marcello's prev
Many thanks to Langdon Press and author Rich Marcello for this ARC "The Big Wide Calm" and for sponsoring the Goodreads Giveaway/First Reads where I won this engaging new book.

The talent, creativity, music, and painting/artwork of Paige Plant (no relation to Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin) was discovered by mega-wealthy John Bustin, (about 60) who lived on his wooded estate 40 miles east of Boston. Convinced he could mentor/sponsor Plant and another young musician "Bono" and release a music produc
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alisha Webster
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning Paige is arrogant. She thinks she is the best looking as well as the best musician there is.Then John comes into her life to say just that. She’s perfect and she’s going to be a star. That is until he matches her up with another egotistical musician. Don’t get me wrong. This is exactly how I imagine musicians. They have to believe that they’re the best to make it. John tells them that they could help each other make a multigenerational album. Which is going to be pretty tough co ...more
Thomas Amo
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
American Idol type. She wants the mega fame that comes with being an artist to likes of Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, Lennon/McCartney, she wants that mythical icon status and she has the drive and talent to go with it. Her break comes when she gets an opportunity to be mentored by John Brusk a former singer/songwriter with a certain amount of fame. He's given her the task to write 12 songs over the course of one year, a new song each month, not only write it, create it, collaborate, and record it, ...more
This was a bit of a mixed book for me, on one hand I enjoyed the slightly surreal feel of John's estate and offer to Paige to allow her to focus on her music, which takes away a lot of the real world and throws you behind the scenes of the music world. But on the other hand I began finding Paige rather annoying by the end as she relied on everyone else to help her through without really making much effort herself. Not to mention the somewhat unbelievable circumstances that constitute John's pers ...more
Stacy Litz
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I definitely feel like this book was written for me! I am always looking for books to read that I can get through within a few days and are very realistic. I read this book over spring break, & I had just enough time to finish it! I felt as if the characters spoke to me as real people, and not fictitious characters not seemingly make no sense, are filled with and less drama, and so on. I really liked how they seem to resignate my life perfectly on the pages.if you are looking for a book that cap ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, american
An unexpectedly satisfying read about a young, ambitious (albeit naive and prideful) woman looking to fulfill her long-coming path to rock & roll fame. Of course, before she brings her dreams to fruition she'll need to dig deep and work through the workings of her inner world in order to create multigenerational music. Paige undergoes a quirky, relatable journey to find "that place just beyond emotions" - The Big Wide Calm. Paige's search for The Big Wide Calm is chock-full of highs and lows. Al ...more
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This profound novel by Rich Marcello is a must read. The protagonist, Paige Plant’s voice is unique and memorable—strong, humorous and broody all at once. I found myself rooting for this budding rock star as she sets out to create a stellar album, weaving into her music the emotions she experiences along the way. The Big Wide Calm is honest and captivating and every bit what it sets out to be—perfect.
Donna Anctil
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As many young adults Paige Plant (cool name) has talent, passion and confidence. John Bustin offers Paige a once in a lifetime opportunity to fast track her way into making an album that will change the world. Little did Paige know that she was entering a year that would change her soul. Rich Marcello, in his sophomore novel, masterfully roadmaps how we can all change the world - one relationship at a time. The final two paragraphs of The Big Wide Calm will blow you away.
Rich Marcello
Jun 27, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Thanks for checking out my novel, The Big Wide Calm. It's the second of three books I'm writing about different kinds of love. The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013, and the third, The Beauty of the Fall, will be published in 2015/2016. I hope you enjoy TBWC, and I hope you get a chance to check out TCOH, and TBOTF. Thank you. ...more
Alison Loftus
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Im sorry to say I'm shocked at some of the reviews I have read about this book.
First of all I couldn't stand Paige, I thought she was VERY arrogant and completely full of herself!
The story was bizarre and felt like an utter anti-climax.

I probably wouldn't of finished this book was it not from a give away.
Miranda MK
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Where has this author been all my life?

I feel like The Big Wide Calm was written just for me. It's silly, I know, and I see that several other people are posting similar comments, so I guess I will just take it as more evidence that my other opinion about this book is correct: This is a very good novel.

Paige is a wonderful character, neatly drawn in sharp strokes, and then filled in with a surprising amount of depth. Like one layer beneath another, without the book ever becoming pretentious or d
Scott Flegal
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you were fortunate enough to read Marcello's first novel, The Color of Home, then I need not offer too much encouragement to get you to give this, his second, a go. Building on the deep emotions explored in the first book, Marcello introduces us to Paige Plant, a young woman bursting to fulfill what seems to be her destiny - a career as a global rock star. Those touched by music in their own lives will revel in the author's respect for and treatment of the creative process involved in Paige's ...more
Lisa Ann
**This Review is Based On a First Reads ARC Preview Copy, May Contain Spoilers**

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and I heartily agree. At first look, I adored this book's cover, and still do. At first read, I was not so sure about The Big Wide Calm. I have to admit that my first impression of main protagonist Paige Plant was rather disappointed. I found her to be the most self-centered, egotistical, and judgmental of women, something I might have excused in a teenager, but found
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Rich is the author of four novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.


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