Thursday, November 29, 2012

From Russia with Love

“If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”
  ~~Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

# 1858 Tolstoj

 I read Anna Karenina when I was in my early 20's.  I didn't have to, but at that time in my life I read a lot of the classics.  Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Thomas Hardy were among the many authors I poured over in my spare time.  It took me months to finish Anna Karenina.  I learned a lot from that book.  Namely, that you don't have to finish a book you don't like.  I haven't finished a book I haven't liked since that one, unless it's been a you-have-to-read-it-for-book-club book.

I know, it's a classic.  I know, you loved it.  Or everyone you know who has ever read it loved it.  I hated it.  I read the unabridged version.  I almost want to read the abridged version to see if I can find out why people love the book.  Almost.  I want to see if my ideas about the book have changed now that I'm older.  Maybe it just wasn't the kind of book a single 22-year-old girl could relate to.  Maybe I would really enjoy the book now as I approach the big 4-0.  Then again, maybe not.

For having hated the book, I kind of am glad that I read it.  You see references to it here and there.  Leo Tolstoy's great book, one of the greatest books ever written!  I read it, and hated it.  I never was one to follow the herd.  (I didn't much care for Les Miserables either.)  But, I can say that I read it.  I tried it and didn't like it.  (Same for Les Mis--listened to the audio book and saw it on Broadway.  I liked the book better, but only slightly.)  Reading the classics is a great way to expand your horizons.  It lays the foundation for so many other things.  

The latest movie version of the book comes out on Friday.  I don't think I'll be going to the theater to see it.  I'll wait until the DVD comes to the library.  I'll try to find the abridged version of the book and read that in the meantime.  Maybe now that the internet is so readily available I can track down some discussions about what things mean in the book.  I can get find out what it is about the book that made others love it. 

Now and coming soon are a bunch of movies based on books.  Some of those books I've read and truly enjoyed.  Others I haven't found time to read yet.  Maybe I'll go see one of those instead of Anna Karenina.  Probably Rise of the Guardians, since I never got around to reading it even though I checked out the first of the books in the Guardians of Childhood series last winter.  With the movie in theaters, there is now a long wait for me to get my hands on a copy of Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King again.  There's nothing like a movie to bring back interest in a book!

“One of the world's most tiresome questions is what object one would bring to a desert island,because people always answer "a deck of cards" or "Anna Karenina" when the obvious answer is "a well equipped boat and a crew to sail me off the island and back home where I can play all the card games and read all the Russian novels I want.”  ~~Lemony Snicket

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