I’m a quarter of the way through Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and I have to say I’m really enjoying it so far. I never really understood why so many people say ‘I don’t read’ or ‘reading is boring’, perhaps it’s because I have such an active imagination that I really enjoy reading. Reading a novel can transport you to a different time, a different place, different culture etc. how is that not appealing? So many people would rather watch tv these days. I don’t really enjoy tv, there are a few shows that I’ll watch and enjoy, and I’m happy to watch tv while I’m eating, but otherwise if I sit in front of the tv for longer than 20minutes I tend to get the overwhelming feeling that I’m wasting my time. I just get adgitated, I could be doing something else: writing, reading, singing, playing guitar/mandolin/ukulele/piano, listening to music, drawing etc etc. I miss riding my bike, it was too wet to ride it this weekend and I’d be crazy to try and cycle in London.
Anyway, back to Crime and Punishment. I love being taken to this whole other culture. Anna Karenina is one of my favourite books, becuase it was so… rich, the characters were so detailed, it built a whole other universe for me, I loved it. Similarly, Crime and Punishment is Russian, and I love the weird names and the way Russian people seem to (in novels) over react to everything. Maybe this was just customary of that time period, I don’t know… they just seem a little over the top. I would like to read Anna Karenina again, but the 800 pages seem daunting, even though I love the novel I didn’t enjoy the long farming sections with Levin! I think I’ll save it, and read it again in the future. I’m not sure what to read after Crime and Punishment. Suggestions are welcome.
For those of you unfamiliar with Anna Karenina, I would strongly recommend it. It’s an easy read- nothing too taxing. Set in 19th century Russia, it explores the lives of two characters- Anna Karenina and Constantin Levin. There are tonnes of characters, which can be confusing at times (with their Russian names it’s easy to forget who’s who and get them all mixed up) but the reading is really rewarding, and it’s worth it for the last chapters, which are really captivating. I found the parts about Anna and (the man she has an affair with) Vronsky to be the most exciting. I did originally find Levin and his OTT misery to be annoying, but by the end of the 800 pages I warmed to him. Levin is a thoughtful character who explores the meaning of life. The novel produced a quote which I love, Anna muses: “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be. But if you don’t love me, it would be better and more honest to say so.” Because the novel is so long and rich you come to be quite attatched to the characters and really empathize with them. Anna Karenina is a great novel, and you can get it cheap (£1.99!!!) from Wordsworth Classics, so for the 800 pages you really get your money’s worth.