The Seasonal Reading Challenge discussion

GROUP READS > Doctor Zhivago Discussion- will contain spoilers

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message 1: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 18132 comments Mod
If you choose to read Doctor Zhivago for the Group Reads task (or another task for that matter) please feel free to discuss it here.

message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna | 76 comments I'm intending to start reading this today. I'm snowed in today so seems like the perfect day for it.

message 3: by Petra (new)

Petra This is such a good book. I almost want to reread it but I just finished it recently. I'm looking forward to the discussion here.

message 4: by Barbara VA (new)

Barbara VA (barbarava) I have been wanting to reread this for years! I am so excited about this seasons Group Read, last quarter had nothing I was interested in. I read Little Bee but it was just OK. The Giver is also on my TBRR list and I just re-read Rebecca on a dreary day.

message 5: by Lahni (new)

Lahni | 314 comments I'm planning on reading this too but I've never read it before and for some reason I'm a little intimidated.

message 6: by travelgirlut (new)

travelgirlut | 61 comments I just finished reading this, and I have to say I'm glad I saw the movie, even if it was a long time ago, or I don't think I would have had a chance of following what was going on. My husband lived in Russia for a couple years and speaks Russian and thankfully helped me figure out who all the characters were and how to keep them straight.

I found the book somewhat depressing. The intro in my copy talked about how the book just about life, but I'm glad it wasn't my life. But I guess that's what life is, a series of ups and downs, unfortunately Dr. Zhivago's ups and downs were more dramatic than I ever want to have.

The character I felt the most for was Tonya, though she wasn't in the book much. I think she was ill-used by Yury. The book wrapped up everyone else's stories so nice and neat, but we hear nothing about what happened to Tonya and the kids. It made me sad.

But my favorite thing about this book? The way Pasternak describes light. I could "see" every scene of the book. He can describe light in every season, time, weather, etc. This was a very visual book for me.

So overall, while being depressing and slow at times, I am glad I read this book. I'm sure there are a lot of deeper themes I could have pulled from the monologues, but since I read for entertainment, those tend to go right over my head. A good read nonetheless.

message 7: by Barbara VA (new)

Barbara VA (barbarava) I am about half done with this for the 2nd time. I read this many years ago, when I was young, romantic and fresh from college and history classes. I was a Lit major and very used to reading Russian books with many characters that change names left and right and so
I was very able to keep everything straight.

I have been looking forward to this for a reread and I am enjoying it but not the way I remembered. This time I was trying to focus more on the Yuri/Tonia/Lara story and I had forgotten all of the life stories of the times. There are so many more than I remember and it is hard to find the love triangle!

I am also not finding the lyrical qualities that I thought that I remembered, or is that all from the movie? Yuri is not the poet yet. I am waiting.

message 8: by Sera (new)

Sera I read this book last year, and although I agree that it takes awhile to get through it, I absolutely loved it. I saw the movie, too, which really captured the stillness of the cold weather and what a crazy time it was to be a Russian during the revolution. I had forgotten about Tonia, too. Poor woman...

We really lucked out by having three great group reads this challenge. I had read all of them previously. I re-read The Giver, because it was my least favorite of the three, and I wanted to give it another shot.

message 9: by Elizabeth (NC) (new)

Elizabeth (NC) | 185 comments I read this book a while ago and it took me forever to finish it. I read right before I go to bed and I would only be able to read a couple of paragraphs and then I would be asleep. I don't even remember most of the story--I remember wanting to really like it but it did not stick with me at the time. I have often recommended it to my insomniac friends (either it works to put them to sleep, or they find the greatness in it that went past me--either way, it works) I've thought about rereading it for this challenge, but just can't make myself do it. Maybe I'll watch the movie over Christmas.

message 10: by Anna (new)

Anna | 76 comments I had really high expectations of this book. I love the film so expected to enjoy the book equally but I'm really struggling with it.
Still, I shall plod on as I'm determined to finish it.

message 11: by Petra (last edited Dec 19, 2010 10:17AM) (new)

Petra Anna & Elizabeth, the story was very different from what I expected and it's not an easy read, for sure. But it's so worth it, I think. I found the story amazing, once I got into it.
Try thinking along the lines of the Russian Revolution, what changed in the country for the ordinary people. The love story is between man and his country (Zhivago and the women, each of whom represents a different Russia). This is Pasternak's love story with his Country, as the country changed over the course of the Revolution.

message 12: by Sera (new)

Sera Well said, Petra. I really think that you nailed the meaning behind this one.

message 13: by Petra (new)

Petra Thanks, Sera! I found it an incredible story. I wasn't at all surprised to find that the Russian Regime squashed the book in Russia and was dismayed that it was smuggled out of the country and published. I can see why they'd have issues with it.
Pasternak was a brave man for going through so much trouble to have this story told.

message 14: by Anna (new)

Anna | 76 comments I have finished the book this morning and to be honest, if I hadn't been reading it for the challenge I would have given up about half way through. I tried really hard to get into this book but for some reason it just didn't work for me. With the exception of Tonya I didn't really like any of the characters. However, I did think that Pasternak's descriptive passages were good. They way he described the cold, the snow and the wolves was very good.

message 15: by Sera (new)

Sera Petra wrote: "Thanks, Sera! I found it an incredible story. I wasn't at all surprised to find that the Russian Regime squashed the book in Russia and was dismayed that it was smuggled out of the country and publ..."

Agreed, Petra, and one no doubt who felt much passion for his country.

message 16: by Petra (new)

Petra Sera wrote: "..... and one no doubt who felt much passion for his country...."

and disappointment (sadly).

message 17: by Sera (new)

Sera Petra wrote: "Sera wrote: "..... and one no doubt who felt much passion for his country...."

and disappointment (sadly)."

Indeed .

message 18: by Bea (last edited Jan 08, 2011 02:04PM) (new)

Bea | 4203 comments I read this book for another task but wanted to add my two cents to the discussion. Like many of you, I found it a difficult book to wade through. The scenery descriptions were incredible but the monologues later in the book about the philosophy were hard to maintain interest in. I never really liked any of the characters much. Their story got a bit tedious for me as it seemed repetitious. Although I had seen the movie a long time ago, I did not remember much about it and the book did not really bring back much of the feelings the movie evoked. I am glad that I have finished it, and I admire Pasternak for telling this story of the Russian struggle; but I did not enjoy it enough to recommend to others.

message 19: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 3157 comments Bea, I agree with you. I think this is one of those few books where the movie is better than the book. I think Pasternak wrote an incredible book for the time and place (and took great risks getting it published) but it was not a good read for me. I have a feeling that a great deal of that is my fault as a reader--I have gotten into lazy habits and want stories that are quick and easy to read and this isn't either one.

message 20: by Patricia (new)

Patricia | 696 comments I really wanted to love this book because, well, it's Dr. Zhivago. Unfortunately though it just dragged for me. There were parts which I found interesting (Yuri's youth, Yuri & Lara's experiences during the war, Tonia's acceptance of their affair, how Yuri who was fatherless himself ended up subjecting each of his children to the same fate and the correlation between the women in his life and the different stages of Russia: pre-revolution, during, and post). But it was just too politcal and overly descriptive of the landscape for my liking (I'm not a Russian history buff). I had no desire to read his poems at the end! I agree with Bea and Donna Jo that I would not recommend it. I would however like to see the movie as a comparison.

message 21: by Coralie (new)

Coralie | 2208 comments I had read the book before many, many years ago but still had difficulty at first keeping track of the characters. I kind of liked the way that I didn't like any of the characters. If I had really liked them I would have felt terrible about the dreadful lives they all had. To me, this is a book where the author is trying to pack too much into one book. Instead of giving us a view of one portion of the revolution he takes us from the country to the city, to the war, to the city, to the country, to the partisans, to the country, to the city and so on. Sometimes the book seemed to go into great details, then at others it glossed over things and made great leaps. Overall I found it a depressing book, but I don't think it could have been anything else without losing credibility. I found the role of Yury's brother to be quite mysterious. He was always successful, but we are never told just how he succeeds.
I am glad that I reread it as I always enjoy seeing a completely different world to the one I live in.
I will stop rambling on and go off to think about all that snow and try to believe that there are worse things than today's sweltering heat.

message 22: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 148 comments I am like many of the others who have made comments here that I really wanted to love this book but that I had a very difficult time getting through it. I can see the beauty of it but at the same time I also found some of the discussions boring. I enjoyed the story of the book though.

message 23: by Gayla (new)

Gayla Bassham (sophronisba) I was so looking forward to this book but I really couldn't get interested in it and I also found it very difficult to get into. Very disappointing as I was excited about the new translation.

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