What I read: August 2013

I’m almost ashamed I only have one book to report having finished this month, but it’s a big one.

Anna Karenina

There is not a font large enough to express my glee at this accomplishment. I FINISHED ANNA KARENINA! After allowing War and Peace to follow me around for 16 months a few years ago, finishing AK in only a summer feels fantastic. I started the book on my iPad with no real understanding of how long it was. When I returned from my trip and realized that I didn’t really enjoy reading on the iPad, I went to the library and checked out a copy. Upon finding the spot in the paper copy at which I had stopped in the digital version, I almost fell on the floor: I was only a third of the way through.

Regardless, I pressed forward.I had to know what happened to charming Anna, spurned Kitty, tortured Levin – to all of them. When I did a little research on Tolstoy’s process for writing the novel I was not surprised to learn that it took him years to write this, and that his characters were constantly revised and edited. The novel is simply a masterpiece of characterization.

To my taste, the frequent, epic descriptions of warfare in War and Peace were exhausting, and I skimmed over them to get back to the small scale plot that was taking place among the people. Anna Karenina is deliberately all small scale: Tolstoy writes the epic story with the lives of individuals.

This is undoubtedly worth the time commitment. As always, I recommend the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation.

Right now most of my to-read list is fiction, so I’m reading some bell hooks essays as a palate cleanser. (As I re-read that last sentence, I am struck by an urge to slap myself for pretentiousness). What are you reading?

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Purchases made through these links send some change back into my piggy bank.


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5 Responses to What I read: August 2013

  1. Karen says:

    I am puzzling, pondering, giggling, scratching my head and laughing out loud at Geoff Dyer’s truly amazing book about NOT writing a book about D. H. Lawrence – Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence. I’m dreading the end, because I have never read another book like it – part erudite literary criticism, part comic essay, but mostly just about what it’s like to be human.

  2. I read Manalive by GK Chesterton

  3. Mark Allman says:

    I recently read these fiction books: Brad Metzler “The Fifth Assasian a follow up to his book The Inner Circle, Clive Cusslers’ Lost Empire and Orson Card’s Xenocide.

  4. Christian says:

    Anna K- my wife favorite, which loomed large at our marriage proposal.

  5. Christian says:

    Finshed Covenant and Communion; am currently reading The Accidental City; The Creature from Jekyll Island; and The Romance of Religion.

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