Monday, August 11, 2008

Anna Karenina - a long, long book

I love the account about Teddy Roosevelt that David McCullough gave at a commencement speech:

. . . Once upon a time in the dead of winter in Dakota territory, with the temperature well below zero, young Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat, accompanied by two of his ranch hands, down-stream on the Little Missouri River in chase of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized row boat. After days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then, after finding a man with a team and a wagon, Roosevelt set off again to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. He left the ranch hands behind to tend to the boat, and walked alone behind the wagon, his rifle at the ready. They were headed across the snow covered wastes of the Bad Lands to the rail head at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in that eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina."

Then David said: "I often think of that when I hear people say they haven't time to read."

Well I did it. I finally read Anna Karenina. It has taken about nine months. I've been reading it in snippets via DailyLit.

The story displays life in Russia in the 1870s. There are broad strokes taking place in at a variety of places, with a wide range of characters. One of the main characters is Anna Karenina. Anna falls in love for Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky. Vronsky falls in love for Anna. Anna leaves her husband and runs away with Vronsky.

While reading this I often thought that so many problems would be avoided if people just did the right thing. Anna ended up destroying so many lives.

I can't say I enjoyed the book. I found it interesting. I'm glad I finally read it. But it wasn't a fun book. It wasn't uplifting. It was a classic Russian novel and most everyone suffers.

I've decided to go for something a little smaller. My next book via DailyLit will be 100 Ways to Succeed/Make Money by Tom Peters.

If there is a book you've been putting off for awhile, check to see if it is in DailyLit. Having snippets pop up in my email helps me to read some books.

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