Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reading Tolstoy

You will not hear me grousing about the holiday season. I like to make the best of it. Those who go full-Scrooge seem to think they're original, even witty. (Oy) If you are active on Twitter &/or Facebook, the double-dose of Bah humbug is wearying - & it's only December 1.

Instead, I'm mixing it up with planning outings with friends, solo outings, movies, & reading that feels like a project, but in a good way. This translation of Anna Karenina was a revelation to many, including me, in 2001. It's time to move on to War & Peace; this will be made more enjoyable by checking in with C.M. Mayo's Reading War & Peace & following her links. She's a terrific writer (& teacher) who lives here in Washington, DC (when she's not in Mexico). She's also a very generous blogger.

Now go get that poinsettia or start collecting the spices you need for cookies or mulled wine or decide on a new calendar (there are sales already) or string some fairy lights around a window or mirror. Or take a walk to the library. On the way, buy a toy & take it to the holiday toy collection for a child in need.

(Woman Reading by Alexander Deineka)


Giulia said...

Don't imagine me some goody two-shoes annoying sparkly elf, though. If you have hilarious stories, anecdotes or holiday weirdness: I love that!


A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I think Tolstoy is a good choice for this time of year (or any). I'm dying to get everything finished and spend the rest of the month reading...and baking. Happy December, Susan!
Catherine xo

Emily Vanessa said...

I love the holiday season with pretty lights, markets and spices. Yes, the commercialism is tiring but I avoid shopping on Saturday afternoons and go for walks. I've never read Tolstoy I'm ashamed to say to but a big Russian book is wonderful for this time of year; I remember being gripped by Dr Zhivago a few winters back so must get myself a copy of Anna Karenina.

Giulia said...

Catherine - yes, the long juicy settling-down feeling of the long novel feels great, esp. now. I look forward to hearing about your holiday time...always so lovely to read/see.

Emily - Exactly. Don't be ashamed: many of us who do not read Russian haven't. Thing is, I tried & just couldn't muddle through to the end. When I bought the new translation in 2001, it was suddenly clear. I cannot urge you enough to go with that one....xoxo

Monica said...

i really want to get to Anna Karenina. i downloaded it on my kindle.

simon said...

I read Alexander Solzheinitsyns "the Gulag Archipelago" when I was about 13. I think it cooked my brain because I always fall asleep reading books now. I have already had the loonies in the family have their usual pre xmas I am going "underground" this year. :o)

Giulia said...

Monica - Enjoy! (I hope you bought the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation.)

Simon - *hands on hips* you are not getting off that easy, man. Do not blame it on "Gulag" - lol. There are a lot of fabulous books out there & as a writer, I can't let you pull that one.

If you opt out of the loony-fest, that's good. I do not allow lunatics to ruin my good time. Medicate, as necessary. (W/in reason:)


Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Susan
Well my neighbourhood streets tell me xmas in Sydney is on it's way.. already the gaudy multi coloured flashing lights are up and doing their thing.. haha
now I'm not being bah humbug.. just you have to see it to understand.. none of the pretty understated.. nope.. garish is the flavour.. I miss the childhood xmases when people put more thought.. and taste into the decorating.

Have a great weekend.. ciao xxx Julie

Giulia said...

I hear you, Julie:) xo/S.

diane said...

I loved that translation, as well. It was a real jolt to realize Tolstoy's political observations could be applied to our Western post-digital world. I haven't read it since 2002, so a re-read would make it seem new to me.

Also if you are into the Russians, don't forget a few Gogol short stories.... The Overcoat is right here online:

Giulia said...

Diane - exactly!

(Love Gogol & all the Russians, really. Thanks for the link:)