Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary Discuss Their Suicides

"Anna Karenina" is not quite letting me go. Partly that's because it was just that good. I went back to re-read Part 8; and generally I don't re-read books until years later; but I had to drink in that last section of the novel again, and slowly. Partly the book is hanging on because I've … Continue reading Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary Discuss Their Suicides

Anna Karenina – Parts 3 and 4 (of 8)

“Anna Karenina” is not a book you can read quickly. It just doesn’t move at a hungry pace. You can read a couple of chapters and feel like you’ve moved into a single character’s soul; and you’ve got more than enough to digest for one night, without thinking of moving out into some other character. … Continue reading Anna Karenina – Parts 3 and 4 (of 8)

Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

A few years after finishing “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy sank into a spiritual funk or crisis that resulted in his work, “A Confession.”  In the latter work, he shares the following recollection from his formative years: The kind aunt with whom I lived, herself the purest of beings, always told me that there was nothing she … Continue reading Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

Koheleth and Tolstoy

February 1, 2021 Reading “Koheleth” and Tolstoy's “Confession” back-to-back lifts both works for me.  Both works struggle with the fact that death is coming for everyone.  Both observe constantly how the good and the wicked have random rewards in this life; both hang on to the idea of knowledge/wisdom while questioning both its extent and … Continue reading Koheleth and Tolstoy

Northanger Abbey

November 13, 2020 Spoilers ahead Finished “Northanger Abbey.”  Ok, I’m going to be grossly unfair to Austen here, but I’ve got to call this one “The One With the Brothers and Sisters”: the Morlands (Catherine/James), the Thorpes (Isabella/John), and the Tilneys (Eleanor/Henry/Frederick). “Persuasion” can be “The One With the Widow(er)s.”  I guess “Emma” would have … Continue reading Northanger Abbey