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What Are You Reading

Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,214
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Oahu, North Polynesia
When I was contemplating reading this book, a friend said to me “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who have read Anna Karenina, and those who have not. You definitely want to be in the former group.” Nonetheless, I hesitated. Was I really ready for 800+ pages about a fallen woman? But eventually I dove in and spent almost 3 months reading this thick, dense tome filled with Russian brooding and angst.
Verdict: I loved it. it is one of the few books where I can honestly say that I was sorry to see it end. I will be thinking about the characters and their actions for a long time.

Now I’m going to try to convince you to buy Anna Karenina and spend the summer reading it.

First off, I read the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation which was smooth and easy to read. Additionally the book is organized into very short chapters of three to five pages, which makes it very easy to set a goal of reading one or two chapters a day. Warning: the book is so compelling that, although I set myself the goal of one or two chapters, I often wound up reading five or six.

Anna Karenina is, IMHO, a better book than War and Peace. It is more tightly plotted and written, and lacks the pointless digressions that slow down W&P.

The book is only partly about Anna’s downfall. The book follows three couples plus the ex husband. In addition to the scandal and downfall of Anna and the dashing cavalry officer, Count Vronsky, there is also the upward trajectory of the heart warming love of Kitty and Levin. Interestingly, Levin is Tolstoy himself. More about that later. A third couple, Dolly and Oblonsky, is thrown in to show us how Saint Petersburg/Moscow aristocrats live and highlight the differences between city and country elites and between the younger and older generations. A large number of peasants, aristocrats, intellectuals, and merchants also cross the stage.

One of the things that I like about AK is that Tolstoy writes it so that you get to know each of the main seven characters in such a way that you get to kind of like each of them, despite their faults. For example, Oblonsky —representing the younger generation of cash strapped, party hard aristocrats— is a shallow, womanizing lightweight. Nonetheless, you can’t help but like the guy because he’s so cheerful and is always wiling to help a friend.

Levin is my favorite character. As mentioned, he is patterned after Count Tolstoy himself. Levin lives in the country and takes seriously the responsibility of running his large agricultural estate and seeing after the peasants who were freed from serfdom only ten years earlier. Levin is a bit socially awkward whenever he has to go into the city and deal with the slick, fashionable set. Levins courtship and marriage with Kitty is very honest and sweet. Although sometimes gruff, Levin actually has a heart of gold.

So, what is Anna Karenina about? Yes, it’s a cautionary tale about going against the norms of society (affairs were not uncommon. But Anna was just too open and honest about it.) But the book is about so much more. It’s about Tolstoy’s search for the meaning of life. He finds it at the end of the novel in a satisfying manner. It’s about the soul of Mother Russia as she plunges towards modernity. Yes! We even meet an early communist. It’s about the church and Christianity and pan-slavism and Russias views about Europe and its place in the world. It’s also about understanding death. More than that, Anna Karenina is about how men and women misunderstand each other but still fall in love. Men and women grind against each other like tectonic plate; creating both earthquakes and soaring mountains. I am not making this up: Anna Karenina contains emotions that I did not know existed before reading this book! Ha! The novel is about delusional egos and putting on appearances and doubts and fears and faith and hope. It is a peek at the very fabric of Russian society in about 1870. And yet the story and the people are strangley timeless. Did I mention that Levin stumbles across the meaning of life?

Anyway, Anna Karenina is now one of my favorite novels. Next time you are in a bookstore, at least take a look at it. There are worse ways to spend a summer than in the company of Tolstoy.
 
Last edited:

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,651
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Nota bene, Dostoyevsky foresaw the emergence of communism in his The Brothers Karamazov.
There is a darling film romance set approx 1917 with splendid direction but its title eludes, though not Zhivago.
Russian women are lovely and I've been fortunate to know several post Cold War. They're well schooled in the
whole of Russian lit and for most, Anna K is a subject of acidic criticism. My professed admiration for her is quickly waved away with being British usually faulted. Dickens often dragged in leaving me a mere whipping boy for defending Anna. :confused:
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,443
Location
New Forest
When I was contemplating reading this book, a friend said to me “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who have read Anna Karenina, and those who have not. You definitely want to be in the former group.” Nonetheless, I hesitated. Was I really ready for 800+ pages about a fallen woman? But eventually I dove in and spent almost 3 months reading this thick, dense tome filled with Russian brooding and angst.
Three months! It took me almost a year. Back in the days when I was a penniless student, being unable to indulge in the national sport of all students, involving copious amounts of alcohol, owing to my penniless state, I spent my spare time in the company of Anna Karina and Count Vronsky.

For the benefit of those who might read it, Leo Tolstoy’s epic 1878 novel, is the tale of a beautiful but unhappily married Muscovite who begins an affair with a dashing young cavalry officer. When their dalliance is discovered, scandalising Russian high society, Anna’s world begins to unravel and, well, locomotive tragedy ensues.
 
Messages
16,932
Location
New York City
When I was contemplating reading this book, a friend said to me “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who have read Anna Karenina, and those who have not. You definitely want to be in the former group.” Nonetheless, I hesitated. Was I really ready for 800+ pages about a fallen woman? But eventually I dove in and spent almost 3 months reading this thick, dense tome filled with Russian brooding and angst.
Verdict: I loved it. it is one of the few books where I can honestly say that I was sorry to see it end. I will be thinking about the characters and their actions for a long time.

Now I’m going to try to convince you to buy Anna Karenina and spend the summer reading it.

First off, I read the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation which was smooth and easy to read. Additionally the book is organized into very short chapters of three to five pages, which makes it very easy to set a goal of reading one or two chapters a day. Warning: the book is so compelling that, although I set myself the goal of one or two chapters, I often wound up reading five or six.

Anna Karenina is, IMHO, a better book than War and Peace. It is more tightly plotted and written, and lacks the pointless digressions that slow down W&P.

The book is only partly about Anna’s downfall. The book follows three couples plus the ex husband. In addition to the scandal and downfall of Anna and the dashing cavalry officer, Count Vronsky, there is also the upward trajectory of the heart warming love of Kitty and Levin. Interestingly, Levin is Tolstoy himself. More about that later. A third couple, Dolly and Oblonsky, is thrown in to show us how Saint Petersburg/Moscow aristocrats live and highlight the differences between city and country elites and between the younger and older generations. A large number of peasants, aristocrats, intellectuals, and merchants also cross the stage.

One of the things that I like about AK is that Tolstoy writes it so that you get to know each of the main seven characters in such a way that you get to kind of like each of them, despite their faults. For example, Oblonsky —representing the younger generation of cash strapped, party hard aristocrats— is a shallow, womanizing lightweight. Nonetheless, you can’t help but like the guy because he’s so cheerful and is always wiling to help a friend.

Levin is my favorite character. As mentioned, he is patterned after Count Tolstoy himself. Levin lives in the country and takes seriously the responsibility of running his large agricultural estate and seeing after the peasants who were freed from serfdom only ten years earlier. Levin is a bit socially awkward whenever he has to go into the city and deal with the slick, fashionable set. Levins courtship and marriage with Kitty is very honest and sweet. Although sometimes gruff, Levin actually has a heart of gold.

So, what is Anna Karenina about? Yes, it’s a cautionary tale about going against the norms of society (affairs were not uncommon. But Anna was just too open and honest about it.) But the book is about so much more. It’s about Tolstoy’s search for the meaning of life. He finds it at the end of the novel in a satisfying manner. It’s about the soul of Mother Russia as she plunges towards modernity. Yes! We even meet an early communist. It’s about the church and Christianity and pan-slavism and Russias views about Europe and its place in the world. It’s also about understanding death. More than that, Anna Karenina is about how men and women misunderstand each other but still fall in love. Men and women grind against each other like tectonic plate; creating both earthquakes and soaring mountains. I am not making this up: Anna Karenina contains emotions that I did not know existed before reading this book! Ha! The novel is about delusional egos and putting on appearances and doubts and fears and faith and hope. It is a peek at the very fabric of Russian society in about 1870. And yet the story and the people are strangley timeless. Did I mention that Levin stumbles across the meaning of life?

Anyway, Anna Karenina is now one of my favorite novels. Next time you are in a bookstore, at least take a look at it. There are worse ways to spend a summer than in the company of Tolstoy.

Outstanding review/comments, I enjoyed reading them.

AK Is one of my favorite books. I read it in my twenties and remember wanting my work day to end so I could get home to see what was happening to all these people I cared so much about. I also remember waiting in a doctor's office and being annoyed when the nurse called my name because that meant I had to stop reading it.

Now, touching sixty-years old, I am torn between the perennial conundrum of reading it again at some point or reading one of the many great books I haven't yet read.
 

Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,214
Location
Oahu, North Polynesia
I am torn between the perennial conundrum of reading it again at some point or reading one of the many great books I haven't yet read.

Exactly! I almost said that I would even consider reading it again, but I know myself too well. I’m always looking for “ the next thing.” (Sort of like travel. Do you return to a favorite city or opt for undiscovered destinations?)
 

The Lost Cowboy

One Too Many
Messages
1,328
Location
Northern Alabama
When I was contemplating reading this book, a friend said to me “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who have read Anna Karenina, and those who have not. You definitely want to be in the former group.” Nonetheless, I hesitated. Was I really ready for 800+ pages about a fallen woman? But eventually I dove in and spent almost 3 months reading this thick, dense tome filled with Russian brooding and angst.
Verdict: I loved it. it is one of the few books where I can honestly say that I was sorry to see it end. I will be thinking about the characters and their actions for a long time.

Now I’m going to try to convince you to buy Anna Karenina and spend the summer reading it.

First off, I read the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation which was smooth and easy to read. Additionally the book is organized into very short chapters of three to five pages, which makes it very easy to set a goal of reading one or two chapters a day. Warning: the book is so compelling that, although I set myself the goal of one or two chapters, I often wound up reading five or six.

Anna Karenina is, IMHO, a better book than War and Peace. It is more tightly plotted and written, and lacks the pointless digressions that slow down W&P.

The book is only partly about Anna’s downfall. The book follows three couples plus the ex husband. In addition to the scandal and downfall of Anna and the dashing cavalry officer, Count Vronsky, there is also the upward trajectory of the heart warming love of Kitty and Levin. Interestingly, Levin is Tolstoy himself. More about that later. A third couple, Dolly and Oblonsky, is thrown in to show us how Saint Petersburg/Moscow aristocrats live and highlight the differences between city and country elites and between the younger and older generations. A large number of peasants, aristocrats, intellectuals, and merchants also cross the stage.

One of the things that I like about AK is that Tolstoy writes it so that you get to know each of the main seven characters in such a way that you get to kind of like each of them, despite their faults. For example, Oblonsky —representing the younger generation of cash strapped, party hard aristocrats— is a shallow, womanizing lightweight. Nonetheless, you can’t help but like the guy because he’s so cheerful and is always wiling to help a friend.

Levin is my favorite character. As mentioned, he is patterned after Count Tolstoy himself. Levin lives in the country and takes seriously the responsibility of running his large agricultural estate and seeing after the peasants who were freed from serfdom only ten years earlier. Levin is a bit socially awkward whenever he has to go into the city and deal with the slick, fashionable set. Levins courtship and marriage with Kitty is very honest and sweet. Although sometimes gruff, Levin actually has a heart of gold.

So, what is Anna Karenina about? Yes, it’s a cautionary tale about going against the norms of society (affairs were not uncommon. But Anna was just too open and honest about it.) But the book is about so much more. It’s about Tolstoy’s search for the meaning of life. He finds it at the end of the novel in a satisfying manner. It’s about the soul of Mother Russia as she plunges towards modernity. Yes! We even meet an early communist. It’s about the church and Christianity and pan-slavism and Russias views about Europe and its place in the world. It’s also about understanding death. More than that, Anna Karenina is about how men and women misunderstand each other but still fall in love. Men and women grind against each other like tectonic plate; creating both earthquakes and soaring mountains. I am not making this up: Anna Karenina contains emotions that I did not know existed before reading this book! Ha! The novel is about delusional egos and putting on appearances and doubts and fears and faith and hope. It is a peek at the very fabric of Russian society in about 1870. And yet the story and the people are strangley timeless. Did I mention that Levin stumbles across the meaning of life?

Anyway, Anna Karenina is now one of my favorite novels. Next time you are in a bookstore, at least take a look at it. There are worse ways to spend a summer than in the company of Tolstoy.
Excellent review - you have convinced me to try it.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,651
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Researching deep-dive derby dirt race track Churchill Downs.
Gate post to ponies to percentage poker and thence payoff rich handled pot rake in mission accomplished.
Jokers discard tomorrow; find the mudders if rain; longshots with speed and stamina.
Sierra Leone has phenomenal cover while Fierceness drew a far post.
And jokers abound.
Will post picks Derby/Oaks Fri late or early Saturday.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,443
Location
New Forest
Will post picks Derby/Oaks Fri late or early Saturday.
Are you off to Epsom in June? Here's a treat for you. It's 70 years this year since the 1954 Derby when some young 18 year old upstart of a jockey, name of Lester Piggot, came home on "Never Say Die" at odds of 33/1. My mother, I learned, years later, had drawn Never Say Die in the sweepstake. Thinking that it was a good omen, she had a few shillings bet on it.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,651
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Researching deep-dive derby dirt race track Churchill Downs.
Gate post to ponies to percentage poker and thence payoff rich handled pot rake in mission accomplished.
Jokers discard tomorrow; find the mudders if rain; longshots with speed and stamina.
Sierra Leone has phenomenal cover while Fierceness drew a far post.
And jokers abound.
Will post picks Derby/Oaks Fri late or early Saturday.
Objectivity in horse racing for gambling purpose sifts chaff from wheat for further separation
of potential for probability but not exactitude, since chance element remains untouched.
Saturday's Run for the Roses includes possible rain and mudtracks are exponential fateful quirks hazardous to better bankrolls.
Nevertheless, 2, 4, 7/2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 17/19, 20 round the derby trifecta. Churchill Downs, RACE 12.
Fierceness #17 is excised for mercurial performance and a doubtful blood line for distance;
otherwise he would be included as a win contender.
A derby superfecta can be had for $1.00 basic and the Super High Five achieved as with a
superfecta wager with second/third tier redundant usage.
A more conservative but profitable play is to ''win-place'' all three top tier horses.
And #17 bet a win wager to allay chance.

Friday's Kentucky Oaks, CD RACE 11
11, 13/8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15/16

The betting handle is excellent on Derby Day and the Super High Five should be considered
if affordable. A ONE DOLLAR wager will run $150-$200 with its numerical spread.
Opposite a long play an exacta or trifecta dollar drop is rewardable too.
 
Last edited:

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,443
Location
New Forest
I tend to eschew the home scene which I frankly find as depressing as a Joseph Conrad novel.
When I was just a young teenager boy I spent a year in hospital recovering from a serious road collision. Being an avid reader I went through, what was known as, the book trolley. It was a mobile book holder. One of those books was Joseph Conrad's: "The Secret Agent,"
It's been a long time since then, I would have to re-read it before commenting, but I can't remember it sending me to sleep.
 

Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,214
Location
Oahu, North Polynesia
Decided to take a break by reading something a little lighter.
Just finished The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, published in 1905. 269 pages.
Of course, the story takes place during the French Revolution. It is the dashing tale of a British nobleman, whose true identity is a closely guarded secret, as he embarks on covert missions to France to snatch French aristocrats and their families from certain death by guillotine. Our hero’s nom de guerre is “the scarlet pimpernel”. It is a fun and romantic tale and the pimpernel is indeed daring and resourceful. The book was a quick read and it was amusing. The ending was a bit surprising, but no spoilers.

The Baroness writes in a very old fashioned style which adds to the atmosphere of the story. The pacing is brisk, but bogs down in sentiment once or twice. Also the author is a little heavy handed in that, if she wants you to pick up on a detail, she will beat you over the head with it.

Most importantly, this book is famous because it started the whole tradition of super heroes with secret identities. Batman and Superman both got that trope from this book.

An entertaining light read. Has its problems, but overall: not bad.

 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,443
Location
New Forest
Conrad is a literary Caine. His Heart of Darkness stirs depressing thoughts in my mind so I abandoned him along jungle inlet somewhere and never shared his page again.
A great writer but not for me.
You have my sympathy, like you, Heart of Darkness was something that I found so difficult, I didn't finish it. Even now it still makes me shudder.
Decided to take a break by reading something a little lighter.
Just finished The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, published in 1905. 269 pages.
Of course, the story takes place during the French Revolution. It is the dashing tale of a British nobleman, whose true identity is a closely guarded secret, as he embarks on covert missions to France to snatch French aristocrats and their families from certain death by guillotine. Our hero’s nom de guerre is “the scarlet pimpernel”. It is a fun and romantic tale and the pimpernel is indeed daring and resourceful. The book was a quick read and it was amusing. The ending was a bit surprising, but no spoilers.

The Baroness writes in a very old fashioned style which adds to the atmosphere of the story. The pacing is brisk, but bogs down in sentiment once or twice. Also the author is a little heavy handed in that, if she wants you to pick up on a detail, she will beat you over the head with it.

Most importantly, this book is famous because it started the whole tradition of super heroes with secret identities. Batman and Superman both got that trope from this book.

An entertaining light read. Has its problems, but overall: not bad.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was banned at my school. Well not exactly banned, more cold shouldered. Having just read through most of Wiki about The Pimpernel and the author, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,651
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Objectivity in horse racing for gambling purpose ....

Friday's Kentucky Oaks, CD RACE 11
11, 13/8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15/16

The betting handle is excellent on Derby Day and the Super High Five should be considered
if affordable. A ONE DOLLAR wager will run $150-$200 with its numerical spread.
Opposite a long play an exacta or trifecta dollar drop is rewardable too.
A rain soaked muddy Churchill Downs track this London evening; or Kentucky afternoon rather, prompted a split superfecta gamble with intuitive second look at win-place choices
for bankroll insurance cover. I went outside my probables for Thorpedo Anna to score the win and boxed bet #11; 13. Having bet my arse off on a heavy High Fiver fan spread-eagle I most
sincerely regret placing, rescued my roll for tomorrow but busted flat the Oaks. :(
 

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