Book Review: Anna Karenina

It’s about time for another book review, don’t you guys think?

I just recently finished reading Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, and . . .

Haha, just kidding.

I only started it like two months ago.

And no one, ever, in the history of the world, has read Anna Karenina in under four years. Why? Because it’s a million pages long.

That may or may not be hyperbole. But it probably isn’t.

This book is the fourth I’ve read this year in the classic literature genre. It is the only one that’s felt like a chore.

I hate to say this about classic literature (because it makes me feel like an unrefined, tasteless millennial teenager, which I probably am anyway), but geez.

You’re losing me, Leo.

For starters, this book (seriously, now) is seven hundred, fifty-four pages long.

Too long.

“Oh, but is the print really big? Because if the print’s really big, then that’s completely different.”

2018-05-24 16.56.59

The print is not really big.

And before you ask, no, the pages are not really small.

The print is small, and the pages are big.

And there are seven hundred, fifty-four of them.

“Oh, but is it really interesting? Because if a book is really interesting, you hardly notice how long it is.”

Let’s just say this: I’m noticing how long it is.

I’m halfway through it right now.

I’ve been reading it for so long that I’m starting to forget what happened at the beginning.

If I continue at the rate I’ve been going, I’ll be done with this book in July. I thought I was a good reader, but this is sad, guys.

I’m struggling.

I’m trying harder now, though. I really am. I’m trying to get into the joys and sorrows of Anna Karenina and Alexey Alexandrovitch and Sergey Ivanovitch and Alexey Vronsky and Stepan Arkadyevitch (who is sometimes also called Oblonsky and/or Stiva) and Kitty Shtcherbatsky and Konstantin Levin and Darya Alexandrovna and Dmitrii Schratasowsky, but . . .

Do you see, now?

These Russian people. I can’t even come close to keeping them straight. I completely made up that last guy, but you couldn’t tell, could you? No, you couldn’t tell. You know why? Because I didn’t make up Shtcherbatsky.

Can someone just explain to me how to pronounce a name that begins with five consonants?

Reading this book is like watching a flock of ducks. You know a few of the ducks by name because they have relatively easy names–like Anna and Levin and Kitty and Vronsky. So that’s fine.

But then a completely different secondary flock of ducks comes in, and they all have names that are really just a bunch of consonants that got sucked onto a magnet, or something, and they can all be referred to in at least two different ways, and you have to keep them all straight because they’re all relatively important to the plot, but you don’t even get a lot of practice with their names because any actual story is broken up by long conversations (often between ducks of a completely different third flock with unpronounceable names) about what to do with the peasants. And they’re all speaking in stiffly translated English, like this: “Possibly it does not pay.”

That’s what reading Anna Karenina is like.

I’m not trying to be negative, here, but I’m just not super thrilled with this book.

But what do I know? Maybe the last four hundred pages will really kick the action up a notch.

The main point of this little update was to complain and give all my excuses for not having finished it yet or being close to finishing it.

Summary of said excuses: it’s long and not super interesting.

Okay. I’m done now.


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