Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Tag: Russian Literature

All the Charm, All the Beauty of Life is Made Up of Light and Shadow

russian literature 2014

As many of you will have already seen, o is reading Russian Literature in 2014.

A plan I had for this year but made no progress with whatsoever, other than writing many many enthusiastic posts about Anna Karenina. At the moment the list I am considering is:

  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, again, always
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev
  • Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov

There are some re-reads but mostly I’d like to read the fill some of the more obvious gaps in my knowledge. I do love this time of year when it comes to making reading lists, and plans, and lists, and piles of books stacked by the bed, and more lists, and ambition, and learning, and more and more lists of life changing books.

What Anna Karenina Made Me Do Next

I am going to make a bold claim. I have an all time, number one favourite book. My top ten, top five books change all the time, but first place never does. Anna Karenina is my favourite book because I think it is the best book ever written.

This claim is particularly bold because of the following confession: I have only read it once. Several years ago.

Having been to see the new film earlier this week I have been thinking about how much I love it and how I really should read it again.

Russian literature is something I have not got a lot of experience of, yet all the Russian classics I have read I have really enjoyed. So, after reading this article  about the top five books Russian writers on the Penguin Classics website, I have decided that next year I shall read something by each writer. The top five Penguin choose are:

  • Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  • The Devils by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
  • The Steppe and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov
  • The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov

I reckon this should get me off to a good start in finding more Russian books and authors I’d like to try. I’ve studied The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov and have absolutely no memory of it at all, so that doesn’t count. I’ve read Lolita but would love to read another Nabokov too. I’m pretty sure Crime and Punishment is on my Classics Club list because I have my dad’s old copy floating around somewhere so that will take care of Dostoyevsky and after that – we’ll see.

I am putting this goal off until next year because I am determined to read the following by the end of the year:

  • Anna Karenina because my favourite book deserves more than one reading.
  • Clarissa because it needs my full attention and wasn’t supposed to take a year to read!
  • Martin Chuzzlewit because I want to read this with o.

I am confident about having three definite good books to see the year out with. If I get time I’d love to read Les Miserables, but I think I’d struggle to read so many huge books in what now seems like not much time! Plus, I do need to leave some time free for some wintery books when the weather changes.

Here’s to favourites and spending time reacquainting yourself with them.