The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge discussion

Anna Karenina
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Book Discussions > Anna Karenina (Quarter 1 Re-Read)

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message 1: by L (last edited Jan 04, 2018 07:47AM) (new) - added it

L (lauraactually) | 236 comments Mod
Anna Karenina was voted our first 'official' re-read. The reading and discussion of this book will take place from January 5, 2018 to March 31, 2018 (quarter 1). I have started a new thread for the re-read of this book so that way we won't see spoilers, etc. However, you're welcome to check out the original thread if you wish! I'll be your discussion leader for this novel, so be sure to look out below for my posts below. In the meantime, let us know if you'll be joining in on the reading of Anna Karenina by commenting below!

Edited 1/4/2018

I have set up a reading plan / pacing guide for us to get through this book in the first quarter below:

Part 1: Complete by January 17th
Part 2: Complete by January 26th
Part 3: Complete by February 7th
Part 4: Complete by February 16th
Part 5: Complete by February 28th
Part 6: Complete by March 9th
Part 7: Complete by March 21st
Part 8: Complete by March 30th

Please share your thoughts/comments as we read together, and at the end of each part I'll post some discussion questions as well for conversation! This plan has us reading 1 part every 1.5 weeks.


Judith Marie | 43 comments I'll be joining, or rather I still haven't finished since last time... I have just started the fifth part, so hopefully the quarter will suffice me to finally finish :D


message 3: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jennymulhenny) | 2 comments I'll be joining, too - so glad we're getting more than a month to read it!


message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2 comments Definitely joining :)

Jenny wrote: "I'll be joining, too - so glad we're getting more than a month to read it!"
I couldn't agree more! I tend to take longer when reading Russian authors.


Kiya (kiyajade) I'm very intimidated by this book for some reason so I think joining this read will motivate me :)


message 6: by Andi (new)

Andi M (andijlm) | 2 comments I am joining in here, too. What a fab way to catch up on books that have been languishing on my TBR pile!


message 7: by Marlowe (new)

Marlowe  (rotschoepfchen) | 3 comments I'm in! It's way too long in my TBR shelf and reading with a group is so much more fun.


message 8: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori Johnson I'm in! I started reading this book a few years ago but never finished it so it'll be nice to get through the whole thing and be able to cross it off my list.


Kelly | 20 comments I’m in! It’ll be my first time reading this novel, but I bet it’s the best way to start on it; with others who will inspire me to read it.


message 10: by Kirsty (new) - added it

Kirsty (kirsty1688) | 3 comments I am currently listening to this audiobook! :)


Kelsey | 4 comments I’m in! This book has been on my TBR a very long time!


message 12: by L (new) - added it

L (lauraactually) | 236 comments Mod
Reading Plan:

This book is broken down into a total of 8 parts, which means, to get through this book in the first quarter we would need to read 4 parts every 45 days.

I've set up a reading plan for us to follow:

Part 1: Complete by January 17th
Part 2: Complete by January 26th
Part 3: Complete by February 7th
Part 4: Complete by February 16th
Part 5: Complete by February 28th
Part 6: Complete by March 9th
Part 7: Complete by March 21st
Part 8: Complete by March 30th

I think this plan should give everyone a good amount of time and pacing to complete the book. It gives roughly 1.5 weeks to finish each part. As we read, be sure to post your thoughts and opinions, I'll end each part with some discussion questions for us to engage in for conversation!


Debbie (debblett) I’m in!


message 14: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea | 11 comments I'm in! I started reading this last winter and didn't get very far. I really like the reading plan, good idea!


Lindsey Buis | 3 comments I'm in. I have read this before so I am not sure I will get ALL the way through again, but I am kinda excited to do a re-read of at least most of it.


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

Kiya (kiyajade) I've just finished part 2 and I'm loving it!! For some reason I expected it to be quite bleak and unreadable but on the contrary it's had me laughing out loud! How is everyone else getting on?


message 17: by L (new) - added it

L (lauraactually) | 236 comments Mod
Ok, here are some discussion questions to talk about for Part One. Feel free to answer as many as you choose!

1. Talk about your initial perceptions of Leo Tolstoy as a writer and his sweeping novel Anna Karenina. What frightens or excites you about reading it?

2. Talk about the first sentence of the novel. "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Do you agree with its assertion?

3. Early in Part One, we meet the Oblonsky family in the middle of a very tumultuous situation: Stiva has admitted to his wife Dolly that he has had an affair after she found a letter revealing his secret. What are your first impressions of Stiva, Dolly and their household?

4. In Chapter V, we are given background into Stiva's character—he is described as "liked by all who knew him." Does he seem likable to you? Why or why not?

5. Talk about your first impressions of Levin and your thoughts on his friendship with Stiva.

6. When we meet Kitty, she is tangled in an interesting web of courtship with two men. Do you get the sense that Kitty will make a good decision for herself? Do you feel she acts "rightly" towards Levin? What does the author say that's interesting about each of the men and Kitty's feelings about them?

7. Talk about the family traditions discussed in the first part of Anna Karenina. Look carefully through the text and pick out at least five that seem to be particular to this time and culture.

8. Do you feel Anna's relationship with her brother and his wife Dolly is a good one? Discuss this dynamic and how you think it may play out as the book progresses.

9. Talk about the ball and the way Tolstoy writes about the interactions between Kitty and Vronsky, and Anna and Vronsky.

10. What do you learn about Anna's family life at the end of Part One that seems significant? How is that reinforced by the details the author chooses to show you about her marriage and home?


message 18: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori Johnson 10. What do you learn about Anna's family life at the end of Part One that seems significant? How is that reinforced by the details the author chooses to show you about her marriage and home?


Karenin only becomes concerned with Anna and Vronsky because he notices that others seem to be having an issue with their conversation. He states to himself while standing in her room that “what is most terrible of all” is this is happening at the ending of his big project when he needs to focus all of his energy at work. Again, his concern and attention are on his career. He suddenly, for the first time ever, thinks about what Anna may be thinking and feeling. What’s going on in her personal life? He has no clue to any of these things because they don’t matter to him. He even says to himself that her feelings are none of his business which I find so weird. He conducts his marriage like a business transaction. It’s evident that Anna is very alone in her marriage. Karenin is consumed with his career. He’s passionless and dull, an empty vessel, which is the complete opposite of Anna who seems to have buried her true self and desires. This suddenly becomes clear to her when she meets Vronsky and he awakens something in her that is no longer satisfied to simply exist in a marriage of nothingness. I got a little excited when Anna become somewhat ‘rebellious’ and acted uninterested when Karenin confronted her after she came home. I feel like this is a girl that is going to do her own thing and follow her own happiness despite what others may think. I hope I’m right!


message 19: by Calvin Tower (new) - added it

Calvin Tower (calvintower) | 7 comments I just got my copy from the library and plan to start it soon. This has long been on my to-read list because of its reputation, but I know very little about it. I am really looking forward to this one.


Debbie (debblett) Thanks for the discussion questions!

1. I had been putting off reading this book, I think I was intimidated by it. I'm delighted it was chosen for this challenge!

2. I hadn't heard of this before starting, but this sentence gave rise to the 'Anna Karenina principle' - essentially that there are many more ways to fail (or be unhappy) than succeed (or be happy).

3/4. Poor Dolly! Stiva describes her as 'limited in her ideas', is not in love with her any more, and thinks that because she is 'a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and in no way remarkable or interesting, merely a good mother, ought from a sense of fairness to take an indulgent view.' It saddens me that being a good mother is so unimportant. I would love to have Stiva in my circle of friends, but I would hate to be married to him!

5. I love Levin. He's awkward and shy and sensitive, and is searching for meaning and purpose. His whole happiness depends on having a wife and family (unlike Stiva who doesn't seem to feel very deeply about anything). Unfortunately I don't think that reality can measure up to the 'ideal of all perfection' Levin has imagined.


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

Kiya (kiyajade) Debbie wrote: "Thanks for the discussion questions!

1. I had been putting off reading this book, I think I was intimidated by it. I'm delighted it was chosen for this challenge!

2. I hadn't heard of this before..."



I love Levin too! I think Tolstoy has done an excellent job of making developed characters that we can really sympathise with. I hope Levin gets a happy story arc!


Laura Patton I had a change in my daily commute in December with 40 minutes in the car every morning and then again every evening. Instead of wasting that time I decided to try an audiobook and just happened to pick “Anna Karenina”. I knew with the size of this book that I was going to struggle with it and listening to it has been a wonderful experience. I’m fully invested in certain characters and have moved on to also listening while cooking and cleaning so I can consume more of the story.


Kelly | 20 comments I am a little behind on this novel, but I am starting to really catch up some speed the past couple of days. Hopefully I can catch up with everyone!

I can really relate to Anna in the beginning; Part 1 and am curious to see who she morphs in character through this book.


message 24: by Rosa (new) - added it

Rosa (rowza) | 83 comments I'm sorry to awaken an old thread here, but I intend to start reading Anna Karenina in a couple of weeks and was wondering if anyone can recommend a specific translation. My library has three available, all claiming they captured the author's voice best. Can someone please share which version they read? Thanks!


message 25: by Caroline (last edited Jul 17, 2019 09:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caroline (carolinerudolph) | 49 comments Rosa wrote: "I'm sorry to awaken an old thread here, but I intend to start reading Anna Karenina in a couple of weeks and was wondering if anyone can recommend a specific translation. My library has three avail..."

I’m reading the edition I have in my "Currently Reading" translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky and I’m really enjoying it. There is a family/name chart index as well as a footnotes section explaining some cultural and political background that I wouldn’t have understood. I can’t speak for the other volumes, but I’m really enjoying this one.


message 26: by Rosa (new) - added it

Rosa (rowza) | 83 comments Thank you for the recommendation, Caroline! I'll see if my library carries that one or look for something similar.


message 27: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Johnson | 299 comments I just started listening to this audiobook. Its 32 hours long! My goodness!!


message 28: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Johnson | 299 comments Im over halfway through this book. It is interesting and Im excited to see the movie when Im done. But it is just, SO much.


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