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Reflections on the puddle of life

Reading challenges

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It's the end of June and already I'm thinking about my reading challenge for next year. I think that because this year's reading challenge has been such a rewarding experience, and now I simply have too many long books to get through in 12 months, that it's got me to thinking about how I carry this forward into 2013. Not that I'm all about advanced planning or anything.

Reflecting back on this year, it's been a great experience. I've been ploughing through those longer novels and I've found that it's not so difficult to read a longer book after all. I have, still, an attention span that can take in 1000 pages in spite of the Facebook/Twitter influence to the contrary. The books themselves have been a bit mixed. Genji was brilliant, as is Kristin Lavransdatter that I'm reading at the moment. The Poisonwood Bible was much better than I was expecting, whereas the Sea of Fertility Tetralogy was a chore. I've got enough books to get me through the rest of the challenge and well into next year, but next year whilst I'd like to keep reading the longer books, I want to merely drop them in on an ad hoc basis rather than specifically challenge myself to read one a month.

So I was thinking, there's slim likelyhood I'll get to War & Peace this year, and I'd like to read Anna Karenina and re-read Crime and Punishment. The Master & Margarita is sitting on my shelf accusingly, after I've tried to read it twice and failed. So there's a theme here, and it's Russian, and I think that'll be my challenge for next year. I'd like to read more Dostoevsky, and I have Dead Souls by Gogol that I picked up in a swap.

So, well versed Litnetters - any good recommendations for Russian novels? I've got on my radar Dr Zhivago, The Cancer Ward, The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, Anna Karenina, War & Peace. Any other suggestions?

Cheers m'dears


  1. qimissung's Avatar
    Good grief, isn't that enough?

    OK, you may proceed with being the most awesome reader, ever. I've got "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch" on my shelf, and I'm just hoping I can read that. Sigh.
  2. prendrelemick's Avatar
    A Day In The Life, is an easy read and a fantastic one.
    I Like the "Voice" of Russian Literature it is kind of gentle and sweet. Probably down to way Russian syntax translates.
  3. qimissung's Avatar
    Thanks, Prendrelemick. That gives me hope.
  4. TheFifthElement's Avatar
    Qimi, have you heard the phrase 'your eyes are bigger than your belly' that's kind of how me and books work. Except in this case my eyes are bigger than my brain. Sadly. I hope you like A Day in the Life. You'll have to tell me about that one.

    Mick - you're right about Russian literature. I haven't read any in a while but when I was studying Soviet Russia in college I read quite a lot. It has a humanistic touch, but like you say how much of that is down to the translation is hard to say.
  5. Virgil's Avatar
    Fifth, we must be on the same wavelength. I was going to put out my summer reading plans. I think you've got the major Russian novels. You might want to add Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky. And for me, Tolstoy is at his best in the short novels, The Death OF Ivan Ilych, Master and Man, others. In fact you reminded me I had planned to read The Cossacks, but I'm not sure I'll get to it this year.

    @Qimi - We read A Day in the Life as a group read here on Lit Net a few years ago, I think in conjunction with Solzhenitsyn passing. You can read the Lit Net commentary on it if you can find it. It's probably an easy search. I remember thinking it an important work, but rather boring.
  6. TheFifthElement's Avatar
    Thanks Virgil I've read Notes from Underground before. It's an odd little book.
  7. rootinghog's Avatar
    If you're open to a bit of variation, Chekov's short stories or plays are a must, and could be a good breather between the bricks.