I’m almost ashamed I only have one book to report having finished this month, but it’s a big one.
There is not a font large enough to express my glee at this accomplishment. I FINISHED ANNA KARENINA! After allowing War and Peace to follow me around for 16 months a few years ago, finishing AK in only a summer feels fantastic. I started the book on my iPad with no real understanding of how long it was. When I returned from my trip and realized that I didn’t really enjoy reading on the iPad, I went to the library and checked out a copy. Upon finding the spot in the paper copy at which I had stopped in the digital version, I almost fell on the floor: I was only a third of the way through.
Regardless, I pressed forward.I had to know what happened to charming Anna, spurned Kitty, tortured Levin – to all of them. When I did a little research on Tolstoy’s process for writing the novel I was not surprised to learn that it took him years to write this, and that his characters were constantly revised and edited. The novel is simply a masterpiece of characterization.
To my taste, the frequent, epic descriptions of warfare in War and Peace were exhausting, and I skimmed over them to get back to the small scale plot that was taking place among the people. Anna Karenina is deliberately all small scale: Tolstoy writes the epic story with the lives of individuals.
This is undoubtedly worth the time commitment. As always, I recommend the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation.
Right now most of my to-read list is fiction, so I’m reading some bell hooks essays as a palate cleanser. (As I re-read that last sentence, I am struck by an urge to slap myself for pretentiousness). What are you reading?
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