Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Anna Karenina read-along

Here's today's plan:

I'm taking my guide book as I wander off to Lamma Island. My goal is to find a nice cafe and sit there, reading Anna Karenina and watching life go by. It's too hot for much walking about, but I'll have a ferry ride to enjoy and a modicum of sight-seeing on the island.

This idea has been prompted by my friend, Andrea from Inspired by Hope and Surprised by Joy. One of her 2010 goals is to read Anna Karenina, which is a rather large book, and so we have decided to do it together. And I'm here to invite you to read along, too! Neither of us has read any Tolstoy before, so we are excited to embark on this project. Two bloggers on opposite sides of the world, and YOU!

We are setting a modest pace. The book has eight parts, each of which are about a hundred pages. The plan is to read one part each month from August until next March. Even if it takes you a few days to get a copy (hello, local second hand bookstore!), you will still have plenty of time to read the first part during August.

What do you think? Who's up for joining us? In anticipation of your answer in the positive, I am posting a character list here! Unless you want the plot spoiled, don't go reading around on the web for help with Russian names. Just stick to this list!

Note: Every Russian has three names: first name, patronymic, last name. The root of the middle name is that of the father, plus a suffix meaning "son of" or "daughter of." Thus Anna's middle name is "Arkadyevna," while that of her brother is "Arkadyevitch." Russians call each other by the Christian name and patronymic, rarely by surname. For the sake of clarity, however, English translators use the characters' family names wherever possible.

Anna Arkadyevna Karenina: High society heroine

Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin: Anna's husband; he is a frigid, lonely man with an influential government position in St. Petersburg

Sergei Alexeyitch Karenin (Seriozha): Anna's son

Count Alexey Kirillovitch Vronsky: An honorable, rich, handsome aide-de-camp with a promising army career

Konstantin Dmitrich Levin (Kostya): Autobiographical hero of novel

Princess Katerina Alexandrovna Shtcherbatsky (Kitty): The eighteen year old debutante

Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (Stiva): Anna's brother who is a pleasure-loving socialite

Princess Darya Alexandrovna Oblonsky (Dolly): Stiva's long-suffering wife and Kitty's older sister

Nicolai Dmitrich Levin: Levin's profligate brother

Sergei Ivanitch Koznyshev: Levin's elder half-brother who is a famous writer and intellectual


Andrea said...

I finally got my post up! And I'm up to XIV now and getting pulled back into the story. Loved the skating scene. I'm trying to pace myself so I don't finish the first section too early in August. It helps that I'm also reading "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold.

sarah said...

Woohoo! We are on a roll now. I started getting into the story, too, and I've almost finished part 1. I was a bit sad when I realised that I wasn't meant to go further until September. But that's fine, because I think I got two friends interested by also posting about it on Facebook: Bronwyn and Karen. They are still deciding, but expressed some interest. :-) It's great to hear that you are also getting into it more now. I'm finding that there aren't really that many characters now that I've figured out who's who.

I really liked The Lovely Bones as well, once I got over my concern about the out-of-body character. :-) I'm reading a food book for my online book club, at the same time. But they're so different it hasn't been a problem. It's just good I'm on my holidays at the moment because now I have time to do it all.

AnnaMcC said...

Okay Sarah, I have just decided that I'm in too. What kind of pace do you recommend?

sarah said...

Anna, wonderful news! :-) We are reading one part a month. So August is part 1. There are eight parts, so we plan to finish in March 2011. Quite relaxed! Both Andrea and I found that once we got going, it wasn't strenuous at all. Thanks for taking part!

Bree said...

Matt and I are inspired. I've started AK before but never finished...we're considering joining the challenge and appreciate the slow pace! Great to hear an update from you Sarah!

sarah said...

Wonderful news, Bree! Both of you? Cool! We're pleased y'all are reading along with us. :-)