Alex's Reviews > Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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's review
Mar 18, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2010, reading-through-history, top-100, russia, rth-lifetime
Read from April 16 to June 12, 2010

Tolstoy understands people to a finer, subtler degree than anyone I’ve ever read. You ever have one of those conversations with your significant other where you’re like Nah, let’s not go out to dinner tonight, I can just cook something, but what you’re really saying is “You’re too loose with money, we always disagree about this,” and what you’re really really saying is, “I’m not sure we can be together, especially because someday I want kids, because I just don’t care for your values”, and meanwhile your partner is like “Fine, let’s have spaghetti, your existence bums me out”? That’s what Tolstoy can communicate, the layers upon layers of human communication. He’s an astonishingly controlled, insightful, truthful writer - the best I'm aware of at peeling back the layers of human interaction.

A Bookmark
I've made a vague project out of finding the perfect bookmark for every book I own. I know, it's so cool. This might be my favorite one.

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Reading Progress

02/08/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-32 of 32) (32 new)

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message 1: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme If you're reading this soon, I'd love to join in.

Alex I'm in. My wife says it's her favorite book ever, which surprised me 'cause I thought it was House of Mirth. (I love being surprised by her; surprising how often that happens, after ten years.) I don't even know what it's about. I've never read a single thing by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. Weird how one can be an Lit major, but graduate with mad gaps in one's reading. I read a lot of, like, early Celtic lit. Shit...fails to happen?

I wanna start in about three weeks, so if you're in, order it and we'll go for it. I'm excited. People seem to like it. By which I mean, many people seem to consider it the best novel of all time. Lotta pressure. Hope it doesn't suck. I hope there are vampires and dirty parts.

Alex ps I assumed this instead of saying it: I would love for you to join in. You're awfully smart; I would love for you to have my back for this one.

message 4: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme Excellent. Three weeks works for me. I`m starting my new job next week, which means I get to commute even more than usual now. So I`m thinking I might audio book this one for my new commute.

message 5: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme Yay, good thing I use an ipod! I get to be first in line instead of 6th. This will be a new audio book record for me, it`s 33 hours long. That`s a lot of commuting!

Alex What's your new job? Congratulations.

message 7: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme The bee place I was telling you about.

Alex Oh yeah! Right.

message 9: by El (new) - rated it 5 stars

El Hope you enjoy this one. I loved it.

Btw, I think I'm going to steal your wife away from you. House of Mirth and Anna Karenina are awesome books to be anyone's favorites.

Also, I'm horrified you've never read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. I mean, physically it sort of hurts. Well, better late than never. I guess. :)

message 10: by Alex (last edited Apr 16, 2010 07:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex She's really pretty, too! Please don't be the Vronsky to my Anna, El. (yeah, my dorkometer exploded after that sentence.)

Y'know, it's a bit embarrassing for me too when the yawning chasms in my literary background are exposed like this...but on the other hand, it's exciting, too, to know that there are tons of the best books ever written, still waiting for me. To crack Anna Karenina and know I'm about to read what might be the greatest novel ever written for the first's pretty great. And you'll never get to have that feeling about Anna Karenina ever again. there?

Jayme: I started Anna Karenina just a couple days ago. You in? And how's your new job going?

...Oh, and it's a group read for the Classics group, so if you are in you might as well join them.

message 11: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme I started a couple days ago too. But I'm not far in. I joined your Classics group too.

Job's going awesome. I got where the bee suit yesterday and play with a hive.

message 12: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Oh cool! I have a head start on you thanks to an overwhelming hangover that forced me to "work from home" yesterday. I really need to remember not to hang out with Irish people on weeknights.

What do you do with the hives? And what do you usually do day-to-day other than wearing bee suits? (I'm picturing you like this right now, of course.)

message 13: by JSou (new) - rated it 4 stars

JSou You've never read Dostoevsky?! Oh, Alex.

message 14: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Don't you judge me! You know how often Top Chef is on? I have priorities!

message 15: by JSou (new) - rated it 4 stars

JSou Well...ok then. But it needs to be remedied as soon as possible. How about we throw in a Crime and Punishment read-along to go with our other thousands of book commitments? Sound good? Sadly, that was one of my New Year's resolutions that I haven't gotten around to yet. : (


message 16: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Oh yeah, Jayme kicks ass.

I'd be totally down to read Crime and Punishment, sure. Er, not right away? When I get past the awesome idea of reading Boccaccio and Anna Karenina at the same time. I want to get back to non-fiction for a bit. Maybe sometime this summer?

message 17: by JSou (last edited Apr 16, 2010 04:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

JSou Summer sounds good. As God as my witness, I will be done with Dante and Boccaccio by then.

And that'll give me time for Infinite Jest in May. (Which I had completely forgotten about until today.)

message 18: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex And you'll never be hungry again!

message 19: by JSou (new) - rated it 4 stars

JSou I just knew you were going to say that.

message 20: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme Alex, your picture link doesn't work for me, but if it's something like this, then you would be correct. At some point I also get to do a bee beard, but definitely won't be doing this...I hope that guy is wearing underwear.

And just so that I'm sort of on topic. I'm loving Anna Karenina so far. And I think you'd really love Crime and Punishment, Alex.

message 21: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Damn it. Maybe this will work.

I bought Pushkin's Eugene Onegin yesterday...I'd like to read that for the next stop in Russian literature.

message 22: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme Ha!

message 23: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme Are you planning on writing a real review? I failed at reading this. I downloaded the audio, then it my ipod overflow and I couldn't figure out how to delete it so I had to reset it and then I never redownloaded...I know, it's a lame excuse.

message 24: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex What, that's not a real review? You're so demanding.

If I follow the Frankenstein pattern, I'll write a real review three weeks from now half drunk and then delete the cheesy environmental rant when I re-read it the next morning.

message 25: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme Booo, you deleted that? It was awesome. Put it back!

message 26: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex It didn't even make sense! My thesis was that we can create beautiful things but we mismanage them, but the things we created to put us in this mess weren't even beautiful. They were SUVs. Logic fail.

message 27: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme That's what made it awesome.

message 28: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Ohhhhh, I get it. You're just entertained by me making an ass of myself. Well, fair enough. I'll try to write an awesomely inane review of Anna Karenina next time I'm wasted.

message 29: by JSou (new) - rated it 4 stars

JSou Oh man, you really did delete part of your Frankenstein review! You suck. I actually like this 'non-review', even though I'm looking forward to reading your drunken insights on it.

message 30: by Jayme (new) - added it

Jayme I am also looking forward to the drunken insights. The beautiful thing is, once you hit that submit button, it's too late to change your review to suck less. It's already been sent out in our daily Alex mail.

message 31: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex Well, as long as y'all have it so you can frame it or bronze it or whatever.

message 32: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily Alex, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this before the 'Big Read' on Bookish begins. Eh?

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