NO SPOILERS AHEAD :)
A cumulus of suggestions about which book should you be reading next must follow you everywhere today. Not just through friends and colleagues, but through YouTube motivational videos, Banners, articles streaming through your feeds, and all other forms of media that have been exploited to offer you the bait! I, with all the unauthorized permission, am here to lend you yet another suggestion — To read ‘Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy’.
Coming straight to the point-
“The book is pure art. It is amazing! You must must must read it. The language, the ideas, the way it is written! Oh my! Your bookshelf must be crying for it!”
Cutting to the chase didn’t work? Read along!
The rich language and ideas in this book are indubitably one of the best ones ever written. The Russian society in the 19th century has been presented with great precision, and you feel belonged at various points in the book. Each character has been dealt with by Tolstoy in such depth, that half the time you will probably be marveling at his excellence over consuming what’s written, but you should always get back to the essence of every bit in the story, because there is so much to learn! The language will leave you in awe, but the experience will leave you a better human.
The basic appeal of the book is the way the thoughts of the characters are penned down. If you have felt something at some point in your life, and have found no words to express them, chances are, you will be reliving those memories at some instance in this book. You will be thinking with so many perspectives through the strange minds of distinct characters, that your soul shall be left enriched, and might even help you find answers to some situations in life.
The one you can read for long
It’s a long book. 760 print pages and over 3,40,000 words. If you read with an average speed of 250 WPM (which seems impossible, because you need to chew each word of the novel and read slowly if you wish to enjoy it), then you will need approximately 23 hours to finish it. The good news is, you don’t have to gorge on it in one go. Even if you read ten pages a day (taking about half an hour), you will leave with a fulfilled experience every time. In fact, that is how literature students are recommended to read this book. This way, you can read it for 2 months! If you don’t like spending a lot of money on books, this one is a good deal. P.S.- It’s cheap to buy too :)
The number of quotes and passages I have collected from this book! You get at least one great thought in each chapter (3–4 pages), and you want to cherish it, relate to it, sing it, dance with it, for days further. I am going to add an image(spoiler alert) below to justify the pretext:
It’s a Classic
Many writers and readers consider this book the ‘greatest work of literature ever!’. Leo himself called this one as his ‘first true novel’. These are less exaggerations than they are facts. It is a classic novel. Although, it is still much of a vague terminology, all I can personally interpret is, it is relatable in all times. It is very much relatable today, and shall be relatable for next many decades. Also, if you are one of those individuals, who like to flaunt the kind and number of books you have read, Anna Karenina on your bookshelf is only going to boost your pride.
It’s not just another Love story
The various adaptations of the book, especially the movie, have set a perception that the book is all about love. It actually isn’t. Yes, there are characters in the story who fall in love and question it, there are marriages, infidelity, but the book is not about love. It is about the passion for life. The book talks about desires, business, a little politics, comparison of lifestyles, betrayal, societal dominance, the lush culture of the Russian society, among a lot of things. But mainly, presumably it talks of the human mind put into so many difficult situations, and layers beneath it, forming a million perspectives to life.
Bottom Line- it is a great book and you MUST read it. The translation that you read is also a major determinant of your experience of the book, and mind you, there are many. The Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky version is what I chose to read, and would recommend the same. It is regarded as the best in terms of maintaining Tolstoy’s sentence structure and tone. You can order it from amazon, here.
Ciao! Happy Reading! :)