The Random Person's Book Club discussion

1 view
Favorite Russian book

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I'm trying to get started on Russian Literature. I don't know why, but it has always sort of intimidated me (I think it is the names and the length of most of the books).

What's your favorite? Which do you think I should start with?

message 2: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) I loved Anna Karenian by Leo Tolstoy. Get the Oprah version; it was well translated and I referred to the "tree" in the front until I got all the names straight. It's actually a good book to snuggle up to now that the weather is turning.

message 3: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:12PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Thanks, Diane! I was actually thinking I might start with Anna Karenina.

Any other opinions out there?

message 4: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:12PM) (new)

Meghan My fave is Crime and Punishment because it really is a murder mystery (once you get past all the Russian names). It's really good (and I believe not as long as some of the other ones).

message 5: by Heidi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:13PM) (new)

Heidi I've always had a hard time with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky--the books are long and the stories are complicated and I always lose track of the family trees and other connections. My friend from Russia has the same complaint, which makes me feel a little better.

But we both really liked A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov. It's short and interesting and in some ways feels like it could have been written today.

I ended up liking Crime and Punishment when I read it in high school, so I think I might need to give it another try.

message 6: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:13PM) (new)

Robert | 7 comments I agree that "Anna Karenina" is a good place to start, but if you're looking for something less traditional, Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" is a great, unusual satire of 20th century Russia.

message 7: by Yelena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:18PM) (new)

Yelena Malcolm | 3 comments I wholeheartedly second Robert's suggestions (in fact when I saw the thread I was going to make them myself). Additionally, if you're daunted by the size of the novels, you might find yourself more satisfied initially by the short stories of Gogol (also Pushkin) or perhaps some Chekhov plays.

message 8: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:18PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Thanks, Yelena. I actually have read many of Chekhov's plays.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. The story of Anna Karenina really interests me, so I'm just going to face my fear of it and dive in!

message 9: by Recynd (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:19PM) (new)

Recynd I'm rooting for you! Good luck, and I KNOW you can do it. (This is the pep-talk I give myself when I'm worried I'm not up to the challenge ahead: "Okay, Self: take a good look around; people way dumber than you have managed to do it..." And you know, it's true!)

Did that come out wrong?

message 10: by Jon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:20PM) (new)

Jon Doyle | 3 comments Hey Sarah, might I suggest a more recent Russian novel? "The Master and Margarita" is pure genius without the 19th Century fat of Leo and Fedor (though I love both of them). Also, if the length of L.T. and F.D. intimidate you, why not start with one their more compact novels, like "The Idiot"?

message 11: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Thanks for the pep talk, Recynd!

message 12: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Sarah - since I recommended Anna I have to pipe in again and join Recynd in rooting you on. When my book club read it, I was new to the club and I thought to myself how will I ever read this book, because it never even crossed my mind to read it...and here I am two years later recommending it.

message 13: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Has anyone read the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Anna Karenina? How are the footnotes and translation? I typically find that I like the B&N editions.

message 14: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Sarah - if you like BN classics and if they have one on Anna, compare it to the Oprah version. if you go with the BN classic, make sure it has a "tree" :) My husband bought me Anna when I needed to read it for book club, and he found the Oprah version the most "reader-friendly".

message 15: by Norman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Norman (normanince) If neither Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy turn you on, try Solzhenitsyn - either A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich OR Cancer Ward.

back to top