37. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
One of my book clubs is doing a series on classics. It was my month to choose the book and I wound up settling on Anna Karenina. It is one of those classics that is constantly being referenced, particularly the ending (which means I did know what happens before reading it), so I have always wanted to read it but never had that last little push to make me do it. I’m not sorry that I finally read the book, but I can’t say it was a really enjoyable experience. The book was written in serial form over a number of years. Having read this and The Count of Monte Cristo, which was published in a similar fashion, back to back I have to say that I am not a big fan of these classic serially published works. Although I have enjoyed several of Dickens books. For the most part though I just wind up feeling like the books need some major editing because the authors are being paid by the word and thus go on and on about nothing.
I did enjoy the parts of the novel that were actually about Anna Karenina, but for a book that is titled after her she isn’t actually present in much of the novel. Instead much of the book winds up being centered around a character named Levin who is the vehicle for Tolstoy to express his views on politics and religion a little of which was fine, but the fact that it was at least 50% of the book made it get really old really fast in my opinion. If you can find an abridged version of the book that really focuses in on the characters and relationships and cuts out most of Levin’s musings then I might recommend reading it. Otherwise I can’t say that I would bother spending the time needed to read through this tome. I give it a 3 out of 10.