Anna Karenina Read-a-long

28 Jan

Were any of you required to read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy in high school?  I might have been, but I didn’t read it.  Yes, mom, I said it.  Anyways, if you know anything about the classics, this one’s known to be a doozy.  It’s over 800 pages, translated from Russian, written by the same guy who wrote War and Peace and needless to say, few can say they’ve read it when required to, let alone for fun.  Well I’m going to do it for fun, but it shouldn’t be as difficult as it sounds.  Here’s why…

I have this group of readers I chat with online and many of them participate in RALs (Read-A-Longs) to help them get through these harder books.  Basically, the book is divided up into small sections and a section is assigned per week.  Each week, the section that was to be read is discussed.   RALs work wonders for these tough books for several reasons:  1.  Support of the group –   it helps that you’ve all taken the plunge together.  2.  Small chunks make it more manageable.  3.  The discussions after each section help to ensure you understand what you’ve read before continuing.  I’ve done one RAL for the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and it was so much easier to enjoy the book!

Here’s the description of Anna Karenina  by Leo Tolstoy (from b&n.com):

Vladimir Nabokov called Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina “one of the greatest love stories in world literature.” Matthew Arnold claimed it was not so much a work of art as “a piece of life.” Set in imperial Russia, Anna Karenina is a rich and complex meditation on passionate love and disastrous infidelity.

Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation.

Set against this tragic affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself. While Anna looks for happiness through love, Levin embarks on his own search for spiritual fulfillment through marriage, family, and hard work. Surrounding these two central plot threads are dozens of characters whom Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together, creating a breathtaking tapestry of nineteenth-century Russian society.

Here’s the reading schedule I’ll be following:

Wk 1 – Part 1, Ch 1-16 – February 14
Wk 2 – Part 1, Ch 17-34 – February 21
Wk 3 – Part 2, Ch 1-17 – February 28
Wk 4 – Part 2, Ch 18-35 – March 7
Wk 5 – Part 3, Ch 1-16 – March 14
Wk 6 – Part 3, Ch 17-32 – March 21
Wk 7 – Part 4, Ch 1-12 – March 28
Wk 8 – Part 4, Ch 13-23 – April 4
Wk 9 – Part 5, Ch 1-16 – April 11
Wk 10 – Part 5, Ch 17-33 – April 18
Wk 11 – Part 6, Ch 1-16 – April 25
Wk 12 – Part 6, Ch 17-32 – May 2
Wk 13 – Part 7, Ch 1-12 – May 9
Wk 14 – Part 7, Ch 13-31 – May 16
Wk 15 – Part 8, Ch 1-19 – May 23

Anyone want to join us?  We’d love to have you!

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2 Responses to “Anna Karenina Read-a-long”

  1. Julie February 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Major FAIL on my part. I haven’t even cracked the first page yet…

  2. julie January 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Yes! Count me in. I’ve been curious to try one of these read-alongs…and I agree that a RAL might be a great way to tackle a classic. I got the free AK nookbook so won’t even have to lug around the big tome.

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