Brad's Reviews > One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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it was amazing
bookshelves: historical, russian-lit, classic, notorious, to-read-again
Read 8 times. Last read November 5, 2009.

I want to appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does.

I want to take pride in my work; I want to taste every bite of sausage, suck the marrow out of every fish bone, enjoy every puff of every cigarette, bask in a sunset, watch the moon cross the sky, fall asleep content; I want to focus on the necessities of living; I want to focus on life, but I have too much. It's not much compared to most everyone I know, but it is still too much.

And because it is too much I can't appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does. Reading about it is not enough, but right now it is what I have.

I'll keep trying.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
Finished Reading
Finished Reading
Finished Reading
September 6, 2008 – Shelved
September 13, 2008 – Shelved as: historical
October 22, 2009 – Shelved as: russian-lit
Started Reading
November 5, 2009 – Finished Reading
November 8, 2009 – Shelved as: classic
November 8, 2009 – Shelved as: notorious
November 8, 2009 – Shelved as: to-read-again
Started Reading (Audiobook Edition)
March 1, 2011 – Finished Reading (Audiobook Edition)
March 8, 2011 – Shelved (Audiobook Edition)
March 8, 2011 – Shelved as: audio-book (Audiobook Edition)
March 8, 2011 – Shelved as: iron-curtain-lit (Audiobook Edition)
March 8, 2011 – Shelved as: soviet (Audiobook Edition)
Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
October 14, 2011 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
October 14, 2011 – Shelved as: soviet (Paperback Edition)
October 14, 2011 – Shelved as: russian-lit (Paperback Edition)
October 14, 2011 – Shelved as: the-best (Paperback Edition)
October 14, 2011 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Eball (new)

Eball Read this for college English class....if memory serves me correct, quite a stirring book...maybe I should pick it up again. Aunt Elaine


Tatiana Wow, I never thought of the book in that way, that he was lucky to be in his position. I loved the book mainly because it was so unsentimental and just told the way life was for the prisoners simply and without fanfare or emotional drama.

Maybe it's only after we've had too much that we can learn to appreciate having just enough. I don't know. We could always sell everything we have and give the money to the poor and sit at the feet of the spiritual teacher, or meditate for 60,000 years or maybe just be here now in our life as it is?

It's definitely a great book.


Chelsea The way that you write your review makes me think of my father and the way he eats chicken... or the way he USED to eat chicken. Dad used to take his chicken and eat every little bit of it. He even opened up the bones and sucked out the marrow just like you are talking about with the fish. My mother didn't really like that so she made him stop. He still eats every single little bit of meat he sees, but he leaves the marrow. Just thought I'd share that interesting tidbit with you :P


Brad Your Dad sounds pretty cool, Chelsea, like someone I'd like to know.


message 5: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber Tucker I know what you mean by too much. I know exactly. I just haven't related it to a fictional character before. One more reason for me to read this.


Lotus I love your review. I've just started the book but that's the feeling I've already gotten from it.


Brad Thanks, Lotus. I hope you are able to keep that feeling after you're finished too.


Gilles Achache I thought the idea of the book was simply to convey average daily life for millions of Russians in the Soviet era, so I don't think Solzhenitsyn did think he was playing up absolute hell.....Ivan's life has qualities of when I worked for the Department of Highways in Britain.


message 9: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh Yates Although a prisoner might be stripped of his "external" freedom, to go inside thyself would be the only escape. Over the past 25 centuries, philosophers have spoke about this knowledge. Inside or outside of prison, I can hold myself hostage no matter what the circumstances are in my life. I'm now 39 years old and have experienced a life which I took for granted, although I view my previous self as a blind mouse bumping into the walls. As a young child, no true education, 18 year alcohol dependent career, in and out of relationships, completely lost in the abyss of the american society, bustling around, people pleasing, materialism, etc.

I discovered philosophy at age 36 weaning off alcohol.

Your post reminded me of a quote by Lucretius, "It is a great wealth to the soul to live frugally with a contended mind."

Today, I live as a minimalist and no longer sucked into the lies of the american society. I cannot eat at restaurants, buy expensive clothes, etc.

I have almost exiled myself from this "American Dream".


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