Anna Karenina Group Read 2013

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Anna Karenina Group Read 2013

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Editat: gen. 11, 2013, 9:56pm

This thread will be for Book 1, through Book 4. I also started a thread for Part 2, which would be Book 5-8:

Beware of spoilers! Thank you.

Editat: des. 24, 2012, 6:42am

Okay, let's kick-off the new year with a classic. This beloved tome has been on my radar for several years now and I NEED to finally try my first Tolstoy. I know a few LTers have shown interest in tackling this "big boy", so here is our chance.

"Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov over political issues that arose in the final installment (Tolstoy's unpopular views of volunteers going to Serbia); therefore, the novel's first complete appearance was in book form."
"Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel, when he came to consider War and Peace to be more than a novel.

"Fyodor Dostoevsky declared it to be "flawless as a work of art". His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired "the flawless magic of Tolstoy's style", and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as "the best ever written". The novel is currently enjoying popularity, as demonstrated by a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors by J. Peder Zane, published in 2007 in "The Top Ten" in Time, which declared that Anna Karenina is the 'greatest novel ever written'."

des. 23, 2012, 7:08pm

Sounds like a good start for the year. The folks over in the 13 in 13 group are doing a 3-month read starting in January with three people signed to participate so far (including our own cyderrry). Are you interested in joining them or do you want to set up something separate? Either way, I'll add it to the combined wiki.

des. 23, 2012, 10:57pm

For any aficionados of Russian literature: what is/are the best translation(s) of this giant tome?

des. 24, 2012, 3:28am

I think I may just join in.... I wanted to reread before the movie opened, which I thought was going to be on the 26th, but apparently we're not getting it until February! I think I can probably bookhorn it into my January reading schedule. :)

I have the Volokhonsky and Pevear translation, which is what was recommended to me a couple of years ago. And I'm happy to join in one the 13/13 group, although I do have a deadline of February. :)

des. 24, 2012, 6:40am

I should really join this group read, have been planning to read Anna Karenina for such a long time, but never get around to it :/
January will probably be quite a busy month though, I'm kind of expecting a lot of long days at work, so I'm not sure if it'll work out, but at least it'll be good to start it, even if I don't manage to finish it very quickly :)

des. 25, 2012, 9:24pm

Even though my track record with GRs is pathetic, I'll give this one a whirl!

des. 26, 2012, 7:59am

Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books (and Tolstoy one of my favorite authors). I probably won't reread it with the group, but I'll follow your reading with pleasure. By the way, Jonathan (#4), when I reread it several years ago I read the Pevear-Volokhonsky translation; I've been reading a lot of their translations and like both them and the notes they provide.

des. 26, 2012, 10:44am

I read Anna Karenina just a few years ago and loved it, so I will be following along.

des. 26, 2012, 9:08pm

I am in. I bought a Maude translation for my Nook. And I downloaded the Nook app for the MacBook Air. I plan on trying to keep up while I also try to keep up with my RL reading group, and maybe a stray "too good to pass up" book which calls my name from someone's thread in LT. Wish me good luck.

des. 26, 2012, 9:19pm

I echo #7 about the poor record with GRs but I'm going to give this one a whirl because I've never read the book but I really want to.

des. 26, 2012, 9:23pm

This gives me the push I need to tackle this classic.

des. 26, 2012, 10:12pm

Yah! We are starting to get a nice group going here. I wasn't sure anyone would want to commit on something so soon. LTers are not only the best and brightest, they are also the boldest.

Would everyone agree on just keeping this on one thread? Unless we get over 200 posts? Of course, as usual, we will be VERY careful with spoilers.

des. 26, 2012, 10:33pm

Does anyone have an opinion on the Nook version translated by Constance Garnett? It is substantially cheaper than the other version.

des. 27, 2012, 7:06am

Tina- That's the translation I have too! I heard some of the others are better.

des. 27, 2012, 7:23am

I was looking at the Maude translation on my Nook and the intro suggested that it uses language from 19-teens; not surprising since that is when it was translated. The Garnett translation is even earlier, I think. Some archaic language might be encountered.

des. 27, 2012, 8:51am

I think I may go the cheap route even if the language is tougher. Can't really justify spending too much this close after Christmas.

Mark: I've not done a group read yet & I understand AK is pretty massive. Are y'all aiming for a one month read?

des. 27, 2012, 9:08am

No way with my other reading commitments that I will guarantee I can finish this in one month.

des. 27, 2012, 12:07pm

I'm not thinking I'll do it all in one month either....may take 3 months after all....

des. 27, 2012, 1:21pm

18 & 19 - I was thinking the same things as y'all.

Okay, so count me in if we can extend it beyond January... I'll buy the nook version today!

des. 27, 2012, 3:35pm

I'd suggest we just start in January, and see how long it takes :P I mean, I'd love to read it in a single month, but I think I might also need some more time, so I guess it'll be fine if some of us make it a more-than-one-month group-read :)

des. 27, 2012, 3:51pm

FYI - I added a link to this thread on the Group wiki. So if you lose it at anytime, you can find it there.

des. 27, 2012, 6:13pm

I put a hold on my library's copy today. Looking forward to starting it.

des. 27, 2012, 6:19pm

Yes, there is no time frame on reading this book! Please do not feel pressured. I'm going to try to read it in a month but that's me. I know there are several versions and I'm sure the length will vary from each one but I plan on reading at least 35 pages a day but I know that is impossible for some readers.

"I'd suggest we just start in January, and see how long it takes." I'm with you Brit!

Cheli- Thanks for posting it on the Wiki.

des. 27, 2012, 7:13pm

Mark, I feel pressured. Just kidding! I have it on audiobook, so we'll see how that goes.

des. 27, 2012, 9:55pm

ah, the famous 35 pages a day goal

I tried that once; and I hit goal a couple of days

that book took me about 1.5 months to read; or was it 1.67 months?

Well, I'll do my best, and I might even try for 35 pages a day

des. 27, 2012, 10:10pm

Mamie- Sorry about the pressure! I'll ease up.

Karen- I normally set daily reading goals for myself anyway. Actually, I would prefer a 50 page minimum but I want to see how A.K. flows before I decide that.
Since, I listened to Team of rivals, it made it much easier and faster for me.

des. 28, 2012, 1:07am

I might join you in reeading this chunkster. I've wanted to read A.K. for quite a while now as it keeps popping up in my list of 100 classics to read. So I think I should grab this opportunity and go for it.

des. 28, 2012, 6:36am

Come on Joey!!

des. 28, 2012, 5:50pm

Yay! Thanks for creating the thread, msf59. In excited to start reading in January. I'll probably read the book over a few months, but who knows. If it hooks me, I may go through it quickly.

I'm quite interested in seeing everyone's thoughts as they read a long.

des. 28, 2012, 7:08pm

I've added these names to the wiki:

#cyderry (maybe)

Did I get everyone/forget anyone?

des. 28, 2012, 7:27pm

Yep, you forgot me.

des. 28, 2012, 8:04pm

Andrea- You can call me Mark! I'm glad you will be joining us. Hey, take as long as you want or you need.

Cheli- Thanks for posting the names! What a nice group we'll have.

Go Bonnie! Go Bonnie!

des. 28, 2012, 8:15pm

Thanks, Mark!

Editat: des. 29, 2012, 3:27am

Hi, I'm interested by joining if it´s still possible. I've been thinking of reading this monster for years and the group incentive should keep me going if I'm thinking of stopping reading in the middle (it's been known to happen from time to time ...) Well I will read a french version if that´s alright ? Oh and I'm in the 2013 Category Challenge Group.

des. 29, 2012, 9:09am

I'm in, too, Mark and Cheli. This is one I tried and gave up on years ago, so this will be good inspiration to get all the way through.

des. 29, 2012, 9:57am

Welcome, I can use all the support I can get for this one!

des. 29, 2012, 10:05am

*swinging by to stay updated*

*returning to the End of the Year Read-A-Thon... worried she won't finish current read in the next 3 days*

des. 29, 2012, 10:13am

I'm going to try and join in too. I read and loved this many years ago so I'm going to try a reread of the new Pevear/Volokhonsky translation.

des. 29, 2012, 5:56pm

I'm going to try to keep up too! January seems like a good time to tackle a big book!

des. 29, 2012, 6:57pm

I'm going to join too, as I'm already pledged to read this book for one of my f2f book groups.

des. 29, 2012, 7:01pm

Wow! Why did I think I was the only one on the planet that had not read this classic? I truly felt, that I might be the only one, along with one or 2 stragglers. Procrastinators Unite!!

des. 29, 2012, 7:21pm

We're here for you, Mark!

des. 29, 2012, 7:23pm

Hi, my name is Karen, and I'm a Not Yet Read AK

I have no excuses. I admit my failing. One day at a time, I will read it; perhaps, one page at a time.

Thanks. I am so glad you folks are here to support me.

des. 29, 2012, 8:29pm

I also had this feeling I was the last person on the planet who hadn't read it yet... It's always good to know there are more people like you :) I feel comforted being part of such a lovely group of Not-Yet-Read-AK-ers :)

Also, for those of you who are doing the TIOLI challenges: I put AK in challenge 3.

des. 29, 2012, 8:55pm

You might as well add me to the wiki. I should be able to download a copy.

des. 29, 2012, 10:06pm

Wow, 21 of us are going to be giving this a try!

des. 30, 2012, 1:12pm

Hi. I'm at the library picking up my copy. I have the first off with nowhere to go. Thinking I will get a good start.

des. 30, 2012, 1:26pm

Go Tammy! Go Tammy!

Cheli- Wow, that is very cool! We are approaching a small army!

des. 30, 2012, 1:29pm

I picked up my copy (in Dutch) from the library as well and cheated a bit by reading the first 60 pages. I was hooked immediately. I think I'll try to read 30+ pages every day.

des. 30, 2012, 2:03pm

Is it allright if I'll join you? Anna Karenina is on my shelf for ages and this is a good opportunity to finally read it.

des. 30, 2012, 5:26pm

Oh, I'm in. I'm just a bit slow to find 2013 threads....

Mamie, the edition I have is the second from the left in the first post on this thread: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition. It does have deckled edges. :-)

des. 30, 2012, 6:43pm

Count me in. I'm reading this for my book club and we meet at the end of January, so I hope I can finish it in the month. Many years (decades!) ago I read AK, and am now tackling the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. I read their War and Peace a few years ago (in a LT group read) and it was excellent.

I've read the first 25 pages, and already the characters are coming alive for me.

Editat: des. 30, 2012, 7:50pm

I have the wordsworth classics edition; it's translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude, with introduction and notes by EB Greenwood. I guess it's the same version as Karen has...
I have no idea if it's a good translation, I bought it a couple of years ago at a booksale, so, you know, it was cheap and I didn't really make a study of what translations were available.

des. 30, 2012, 7:55pm

I'd like to join as well if it's okay. Never read the complete work, which is a shame since my mom teaches Russian language and literature to middle and high schoolers :( Also never done a group read and this seems like a good time to try.

des. 30, 2012, 8:33pm

Oh Ellen - Thank You!! I'm off to Amazon to spend my Christmas gift card!

des. 30, 2012, 8:47pm

I picked up my copy from the library and I'm excited because it's the new translation. I saved myself $15 because if they hadn't had it I was going to buy the Kindle edition. Ready to go tomorrow, right after I finish the book I'm reading tonight.

des. 30, 2012, 9:01pm

I live that so many people are interested! Should make for some great discussion.

des. 30, 2012, 9:20pm

I am very pleased with the attendance. Wow! I thought I would get 3 or 4 at the most. Who wants to start the year with a major chunkster? Well, I guess we do! LOL.

des. 30, 2012, 10:05pm

Here's the version I'll be reading - does anyone else have this one?

des. 30, 2012, 10:17pm

25 participants and still counting?

des. 31, 2012, 1:23pm

I'm starting to wonder if there is someone else in my little town also on LT. This is the 3rd time I have tried to check out a library book for a GR and it is has recently been checked out. I didn't want to wait for a copy to come from another library, so I purchased a paperback from the local Book World this morning.

des. 31, 2012, 2:03pm

Nope. 26 and counting. I haven't read it since college, but can't wait! Now where is my copy...

des. 31, 2012, 2:17pm

62: Tammy, I'm having the same thing happen to me! When I go and check my library online often the copy at my local library is checked out but none of the others are. ??? Strange, isn't it? It keeps happening with series books too, and ones that have been out for years. A few of us must be keeping pace (if you can call it that since it's so sporadic). Even though I know it's a privacy issue, I wish there was some kind of LT Local map so you could see how many people are living nearby.

des. 31, 2012, 3:29pm

Add me please! I have been trying to read Anna Karenina for a couple of years...

des. 31, 2012, 5:13pm

Tammy and Laura,
I bet the recent release of the film has the book flying out of libraries at a great rate (that, and it's possible that there are multiple LTers in your small town).

des. 31, 2012, 7:34pm

Well, 2013 having started, I've started reading :) And I like it so far, I think I'll probably finish it quite quickly if the rest is as nice as the first couple of chapters...

Anyway, happy new year to all of you :)

gen. 1, 2013, 7:27am

I'll start reading today but I want to clean up my thread reading, too. Hopefully I'll make some progress.. 35 pages is it? My goal that is; not anything more than that.

gen. 1, 2013, 7:46am

Hello, I plan to read Anna Karenina with you, but I'm not sure I can. Will there be "sub-threads" to divide the book in smaller parts?

gen. 1, 2013, 10:28am

Just a quick note to say that I'll be joining in as well. Hopefully I don't set it aside halfway through as I sometimes do!

gen. 1, 2013, 12:53pm

Will try to join you reading Anna on my kindle this year. I did finally manage to read Don Quixote in the 12 in 12, although being so close to graduation I did not participate in the conversation much. Will try to do better this time. :)

gen. 1, 2013, 1:02pm

Wow, the folks keep coming! I LOVE it! This is the official launch day. Sadly, I do not think I'll start it today. I have one more book to wrap up. I WILL catch up though. Bank on it!

>Persephone- Yes, I plan on splitting it into 2 threads, probably at the halfway point. I'm not sure we need to do 3 but what do you think?

gen. 1, 2013, 2:22pm

I love this book! I've actually read it twice because I minored in Asian and East European literature in college, so I am definitely going to watch this thread-I can't wait to see what people think about it!

gen. 1, 2013, 2:25pm

I have started already, and I am loving it so far - just pulls you right in!

gen. 1, 2013, 3:25pm

Does it matter which version you're reading?

Editat: gen. 1, 2013, 3:37pm

I recently read a novel (Vaslav, by Arthur Japin) in which the main character went crazy and some people thought this was due to the detrimental influence from reading too much Tolstoy... So you can imagine I'm rather eager to see what influence Tolstoy will have on my mental health :)

gen. 1, 2013, 3:39pm

#72: I won't be able to start too soon, neither. Your's also a good way to organise it. :) For me (and just personally for me) it makes it easier to read, when there are "small" portions preset from the host, and when there's a thread per portion where you can discuss it without spoilering it for the others. But I can do that for myself. ;)

gen. 1, 2013, 5:50pm

Another can't start soon guy here. But i look forward to joining in asap.

gen. 1, 2013, 6:02pm

I am with Mamie, started today and was pulled right in. Now I'm torn between reading it, and trying to catch up on threads. I may never catch up with threads again, so I'm pulling out of them, and going and getting Anna. I'm going to settle back and read a few more pages right now.

BTW, I did start a little note book in which I am writing things I notice about people as they show up in the book. I figure if I make a personal comment on the person I may remember them better. Well, we will see....

gen. 1, 2013, 6:36pm

Karen, I'm chuckling at your comment about the pull between reading and "catching up" on threads.
It's only January 1 and I'm desperately behind on threads. I say read, my friend, read.

gen. 2, 2013, 9:11am


I'm slowly but surely "de-starring" the 2012 threads even if people are still posting in them; and I'm starring new 2013 ones. I realize this is traditionally a crazy time for thread congestion. It will settle down.

Still working on AK and making good progress. Thankful I have this thread to encourage me to stick to it.

gen. 2, 2013, 10:57am

Hi all,

I'm a bit late to the party but you've inspired me to dive into Anna Karenina again. I read it in college and I'm looking forward to seeing how differently it impacts me this time. If anyone here is new to Tolstoy rest assured that his writing is full of themes that are just as contemporary today as they were when he was scribbling away. Also, enjoying Tolstoy is all about finding the right translation!

gen. 2, 2013, 11:51am

I've started in on Anna Karenina, and have figured out that if I do an easy 8 pages a day, I can complete the book in 12 weeks. I'm 12 pages in, so I think I can easily read more than that.

I have no idea what translation I have (I just grabbed a cheep copy in a doodads shop), but it's easy to read so far and all the family drama is keeping it interesting. Definitely enjoying it.

I'm actually marking up the pages, underlining phrases and taking notes in the margins, something I don't normally do. But it's a good way for me to stay actively engaged with the text, instead of letting my mind wander.

gen. 2, 2013, 11:52am

Can I echo the thoughts on threads? I've done very little reading of late trying to keep up with threads! I may have starred more than I can possibly manage. It slows down? Promise??? :)

gen. 2, 2013, 12:11pm

Just download AK and looking forward to starting it.

gen. 2, 2013, 1:12pm

#84 - it slows down. I promise! GIve it a week or so and the beginning of the year rush will be over.

gen. 2, 2013, 1:25pm

I read AK at this time last year. I was not sure I would get through it but it went quickly and was a wonderful read. One of the best from last year. I'll join in the discussion once the spoilers come out

gen. 2, 2013, 3:32pm

Hello all! Glad I found this thread. I just started AK today and was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the first few pages were. My book club is reading this for our April meeting so I was planning on stretching it out over three months but if I get caught up in the story it might not take that long. Looking forward to the discussions!

gen. 2, 2013, 6:02pm

86 - Thanks drneutron... My other half keeps asking me what I'm doing :O

gen. 2, 2013, 6:13pm

I'm about a hundred pages in and absolutely loving it. Actually, its pretty much unputdownable at this point. So why did I put it down, you ask? Well, I'm trying to catch up on the threads, what else? Gah, it's insane!

Editat: gen. 2, 2013, 9:05pm

Yes, I started A.K. and I'm going to try and read another 20 pages before the eye-lids begin to droop. I'll be back...

"Vengeance is mine and I will repay."

I am reading a hardback (slightly musty), part of "The World's Great Classics" series, that my mother gave me, many years ago. This edition runs 1,329 pages. Wow! The good news is, that the print is large, which makes it easy on the eyes, although the wrists ache a little. The translation is done by Constance Garnett and so far I don't mind it.

I just started chapter 12. I loved the Levin ice-skating scene and Vronsky has been mentioned.

Should we split the book at Book 5? I think that might be a good place.

gen. 2, 2013, 9:13pm

84 - yes, it really does slow down. The first week is like going back to school after the summer & you need to catch up with all your friends.

gen. 2, 2013, 9:33pm

Splitting into a different thread at Book 5 makes sense.

I've finished Parts 1 & 2. Can we start making comments, or are we waiting for awhile?

gen. 2, 2013, 9:38pm

>kac522- This is always tricky but I see no reason why you can't make comments about the early parts of the book, without spoiling anything of course.
Hey, you are from Chicago? So am I! Yah!

gen. 2, 2013, 9:54pm

North Side Irish, what can I say?

gen. 2, 2013, 10:00pm

**SPOILER ALERT--Comments through the end of Part 1**

I just completed Part 1, and already Tolstoy has given us a good introduction to the main characters, and I feel like I know them well. The men seem a bit more defined to me than the women.

I can also see the parallel drawn between Levin and Anna. In Part 1, both leave their home towns for Moscow; they both encounter love/attraction but with different results; they both go to comfort a sibling; they both return to their home towns. When they return home, they each survey their surroundings, and are somewhat disappointed or let down with what they find.

I am anxious for Kitty and Levin; I don't completely understand Anna (does she understand herself?) and I'm not that thrilled with Vronsky. I feel like I could sit down and chat all day with Oblonsky, he seems such a likeable guy.

gen. 2, 2013, 10:39pm

Kac- I'm West Suburban Irish! LOL. Downers Grove.

Thanks for handling your comments so carefully!

gen. 2, 2013, 11:05pm

Kac - I haven't finished the first part yet, but so far I agree with everything you say. I like the parallel you draw between Anna and Levin.

gen. 3, 2013, 8:34am

Great motivation to stop trying to keep up with threads, like I've been saying I'm doing, but don't do. I am well into my second 100 pages. More to read today! Yes! I will. *wanders off mumbling to herself*

gen. 3, 2013, 11:15am

Well I went to see the new AK in the theaters and was very impressed with the movie. It followed the book very nicely so maybe that should be everyone reward for finishing the book. I will be following the thread but will not be re-read not this year at least.

Editat: gen. 11, 2013, 9:50pm

"Note. Every Russian has three names: first name, patronymic, last name. The root of the middle name is that of the father, plus a suffix meaning "son of" or "daughter of." Thus Anna's middle name is "Arkadyevna," while that of her brother is "Arkadyevitch." Russians call each other by the Christian name and patronymic, rarely by surname. For the sake of clarity, however, English translators use the characters' family names wherever possible."

Character list:

Anna Arkadyevna Karenina- High society heroine whose love affair keynotes the novel.

Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin- Anna's deceived husband. He is a frigid, lonely man with an influential government position in St. Petersburg.

Sergei Alexeyitch Karenin (Seriozha)- Anna's son whom she is forced to leave for her lover's sake.

Count Alexey Kirillovitch Vronsky- Anna's lover, an honorable, rich, handsome aide-de-camp with a promising army career which he gives up in order to live with Anna.

Konstantin Dmitrich Levin (Kostya)- Autobiographical hero of novel.

Princess Katerina Alexandrovna Shtcherbatsky (Kitty)- The eighteen year old debutante who becomes Levin's wife.

Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (Stiva)- Anna's brother who is a pleasure-loving socialite.

Princess Darya Alexandrovna Oblonsky (Dolly)- Stiva's long-suffering wife and Kitty's older sister.

Nicolai Dmitrich Levin- Levin's profligate brother who dies of tuberculosis.

Sergei Ivanitch Koznyshev- Levin's elder half-brother who is a famous writer and intellectual.

gen. 3, 2013, 11:35am

Good explanation, Mark! Thanks.

gen. 3, 2013, 11:47am

>101 msf59:
Thanks, Mark. I have been having difficulty with the names and had to look up that information myself to be able to make sense of them. Even after learning the name conventions, though, it still takes some thinking to keep who is who straight.

So, I'm grateful for the character list. That's really helpful.

gen. 3, 2013, 11:49am

...and forms of the first name ending in -a, like Kostya or Seriozha, are usually pet-names, meaning something like sweet, little, darling. Often used amongst siblings, between parents and children, or between very good friends. It can be nice to note who uses such names with who, as they are used as a sign of affection.

gen. 3, 2013, 11:53am

Speaking of names, I also read that wives are given the feminine form of their husband's name, which is why Anna, who is married to Alexey Karenin, uses the name Karenina.

gen. 3, 2013, 1:12pm

ACK! Thanks for posting "spoiler alert"..... I have sped down and skipped to the bottom to ask a question. Since I've been spending time on LT rather than reading, should I just not read this AK thread for a while?? This is my first group read, so I'm just curious for opinions on how most folks do things.

gen. 3, 2013, 1:26pm

Tina, most people will put spoiler alerts so you are safe to just skip that message, but there may be helpful information such as the name data in message 101 that could be helpful. I haven't started yet but I am still reading the thread.

Editat: gen. 3, 2013, 2:57pm

Thanks cyderry!! ;)

OK, could someone smart please phonetically spell the heroine's last name??? I keep trying different pronunciations in my head and I'd like to know what's correct.


gen. 3, 2013, 4:20pm

Good day to everyone! I am adding my voice to those raving about the novel, I am currently on chapter 28 and enjoying it very much. First impressions: not at all a chore I feared it would be and I should have paid more attention at French studies back in high school.

>108 TinaV95: Tina, this version appears to be pretty close - Kah-REN-in-ah (stress falls on the second syllable and all vowel sounds are pretty short). But by no means consider this as claim of being someone smart! :)

I came across this Note on Russian Names on SparkNotes (you have to scroll down a bit) however all the key points have already been covered in the posts above. And also Wikipedia has a rather extensive article on Eastern Slavic naming customs here including diminutive forms of most popular names and particulars of forms of address if anyone is interested in additional info (there's a lot and some of it might be confusing though).

Attention! The following while not a spoiler is still sort of spoilerish, so if you know nothing about AK, don't read, please! I've been wondering about something and I hope you guys can help me. Being from Russia myself, I was under impression that when it comes to Anna Karenina much like with Titanic, "everyone knows how it ends" even if you haven't read the book itself. Is it at all the case? Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

Editat: gen. 4, 2013, 10:26am

I did not until I was reading the book and a co-worker gave it away, but it didnt take away the effect it had on me.

gen. 3, 2013, 6:08pm

I don't know how it ends! I don't think that it's the case that everybody knows how it ends, especially not here in the Netherlands. In fact, nobody I know has ever read the book, so I guess I'm quite safe from spoilers in that sense :)
I'm still uncertain as to the movie; I'd like to see it, but I'm afraid it'll not be in theaters long enough for me to finish the book first, and I would like to finish the book before seeing the movie...

On knowing the story: I do know she's gonna have an affair, but that's all I know, I don't know where it'll all lead... So I would appreciate it if people would warn if they post spoilers...

gen. 3, 2013, 6:13pm

>109 portnova: When I first read AK a couple years ago, I did not know how it ended until I got there. But I do not think it would have reduced my enjoyment if I had known how it ended.

>101 msf59: I'm not sure why, but that list leaves out

- Princess Betsy Tverskoy, confidant and friend of Vronsky and Anna

- Countess Vronsky, Vronsky's mother

- Countess Lydia Ivanovna, confidant and friend of Karenin.

Another note about Russian names:
(I took a couple semesters of Russian a few years ago and I still remember some tips the teacher gave me)

As a general rule, the longer the name someone calls someone else, the more formal their relationship is. This can be really helpful in noticing the nuances in a complex novel like AK. So for example, if someone calls Kitty "Princess Katerina Alexandrovna Shtcherbatskya", then the situation is extremely formal and they probably don't know her at all. If they call her "Katerina Alexandrovna", then they know her socially. Just "Katerina" would be a close friend, and "Kitty" would be mostly reserved for family members or lovers.

gen. 3, 2013, 6:29pm

I do not remember how it ended! I saw one the old film versions, (maybe the Garbo?) many years ago but do not remember it.

I just finished chapter 26! Levin is my favorite character, so far...

Thanks Elena & Nora for the useful info!

Nora- I'm not sure why those characters were left out!

gen. 3, 2013, 6:30pm

Thanks for all the help folks! :)

gen. 3, 2013, 8:02pm

All I will say about this book, so as not to spoil it and although I love it, is that I had a completely different reaction to it when I reread it in my late 40s/ early 50s from when I first read it in my teens.

gen. 3, 2013, 8:06pm

Thanks for the character list, Mark. I haven't started the book yet, but I did copy and paste the list to help me once I get there.

gen. 3, 2013, 8:09pm

Wow, everyone, thank you so much for your input! I hope my inquiry didn't offend anyone. The thing is, in Russian-speaking regions the finale of AK has integrated into media and pop culture to the point that it can be a subject of reference, comparison, meme or even a joke and one needs to know little else about the book or characters to understand it. I guess I was wondering if the phenomenon has spread elsewhere. And I fully agree that knowing doesn't affect the degree of enjoyment in any way.

gen. 3, 2013, 8:16pm

How wonderful that the movie Anna Karenina is bringing attention back to Tolstoy's wonderful classic, but with such modern vigor. I relived the essence of the book as I was dazzled by the beauty of the film--the stage set was like a Mathias Grunevald medieval altar.

gen. 3, 2013, 9:37pm

Just for the fun of it: I do not know how it ends; but I do know how Romeo and Juliet ends. So, I can understand why in Russia it might be pretty much common knowledge. Not so, in my part of the world.

gen. 4, 2013, 6:01pm

I think I am around chapter 20. I put it down last year and left it, and lost my place... so I will be picking it up again at chapter 20. I know how it ends. I always have, probably the fault of Romeo and Juliet... :)

gen. 4, 2013, 6:30pm

I started last night made it through chapter 15 which is 6% according to the Kindle. I've been working on genealogy most of the day although I read a bit on a non-fiction book this morning. I'll pick up with chapter 16 after I eat!

gen. 5, 2013, 1:32am

Do we all have to read the same book? I just started E.M. Forester's A Passage to India. Oh, please don't make me give it up. :}

gen. 5, 2013, 1:52am

Hmmm. . . .my wife attempted to pick this book last month. She downloaded it for the kindle. I told her about this group and she admitted to "thinking about" joining LT. Good luck to everyone - I think I will sit this one out for now!

gen. 5, 2013, 12:23pm

Rochelle23, no, you may read whatever. This specific thread is for people who have chosen to read Anna Karénina as a part of a
"group read". That way we can discuss it as we read it.

You can join any group you want in Library Thing, and pretty much talk about whatever, as long as you are agreeing to the rules. Explore a little. There are lots of threads and groups. Have fun, and good luck.

gen. 5, 2013, 7:52pm

OK I am just about to the halfway point and this is shaping up to be a five star read for me unless it totally falls apart in the second half (I don't think I can expect that from Tolstoy). Highlights from the first half which will not spoil it for anybody: Vronsky's horse race at the end of book two had me on the edge of my seat. And I love the descriptions of Levin's farm and the work of all the workers. I actually felt as if I was on the farm with them. He is such a passionate character. I think I'm in love LOL.

gen. 5, 2013, 8:05pm

Bonnie - I'm not quite as far along as you are, but I'm loving it too. I think that the parts with Levin on his farm are wonderful. The part where he is cutting hay was so vivid. I read somewhere that Levin is one of Tolstoy's most autobiographical characters.

I also like that Tolstoy puts us inside the head's of so many characters. I don't always agree with their decisions, but their reasoning is coherent and consistent.

gen. 5, 2013, 9:55pm

>126 porch_reader: I love the way Tolstoy gives you enough information about the characters and their actions and lets you draw your own conclusions about their character or lack thereof Amy.

gen. 6, 2013, 3:18pm

I love AK too. It's one of the best novels I've read so far.
I like the list with characters in post 101. I don't quite agree with the description of Vronski. IMO he's not so honorable, but rather a frivolous charmer who likes to seduce women. Or maybe his honorable character is yet to shine in later pages...

gen. 6, 2013, 3:30pm

I'm not quite that far. I'm through chapter 15 of book two, I think. I may have made it a chapter or two further, but that was my target last night.

gen. 6, 2013, 5:00pm

I'm about halfway through part II.
So far, I think Vronsky is mainly a spoiled rich kid; he seduces Kitty just for the fun of it, does as he pleases without regard for other's feelings, drinks and gambles... All in all, he just seems like the kind of guy who always expects to get whatever he wants.

gen. 6, 2013, 6:35pm

I'm not as far as you all, I just started part 2, but I too am enjoying it. Much smoother than the first time I tried it years ago. I'm wondering if this Maude translation is helping. It sure is a pleasure to read.

gen. 6, 2013, 6:58pm

I am so happy that everyone is enjoying it! I love it too. I just finished Chapter 28 in Book 2. I agree with Bonnie about the horse-racing segment. It was very exciting. I love the Levin farm descriptions too.

Bonnie- I'll try to get the 2nd thread up soon.

gen. 6, 2013, 8:14pm

SPOILER ALERT -- I'm finished with Part III.

Re: Vronsky: At some point, (I can't remember if it's in Part II or Part III) as he's settling his accounts, Vronsky considers himself an "honorable" man--of course, by his own rules, that is.

It seems the rules for men are so different than the rules for women. Compare the effect of an affair for Anna, compared to her brother, Stepan, who clearly has a mistress; but all his wife Dolly can do is move temporarily to the country with the kids. She seems to have no leverage, whereas Anna's husband has plenty of leverage.

Editat: gen. 6, 2013, 8:36pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

gen. 6, 2013, 8:22pm

I'm beginning to think that I've bitten off more than I can chew, with the books that I selected to read this month. So I may drop out of this group read if it is not ongoing into the next few months.

gen. 6, 2013, 8:26pm

>135 cyderry: Most of our group reads extend beyond the original month for which they are intended. I'm still planning to get to AK this month, but if I don't complete it by 1/31, I'll just keep plugging along. Feel free to hang out with us as it will likely drag on a bit beyond the end of the month.

gen. 6, 2013, 8:32pm

Cheli- I agree with Ellen! Some of these G.R.'s go on for months. I usually finish the books early, because I want to move onto my other neglected books, but To Each His Or Her Own!

gen. 6, 2013, 8:35pm

Cheli--I'm only ahead because my book club is discussing AK in a few weeks, and I need to get it finished. So don't feel discouraged. I know 2 years ago I did a group read of War and Peace--I started a few weeks late and ended at least 6 weeks after everybody else, but it was well worth it, and it kept me encouraged to finish.

gen. 7, 2013, 10:22am

I am another who says stick with it if you want, there are more than a few of us who are not racing through and who expect to be working on this well into Feb. and perhaps beyond...... Who knows?

gen. 7, 2013, 1:11pm

Hi, I'm happy to be a part of this AK group reading. I've just received my own copy this saturday. I've started to read today (my copy is in french by the way) ;) It is so far really enjoyable and easy to read, I'm at part I chapter XIX, Vronski have just met Anna ...

gen. 7, 2013, 7:38pm

Cheli - I think the group read was set up for the first 3 months or so. You should be okay.

Progress Report: I began Part 3 earlier today when I was especially bored in a meeting. I will read some more later this evening, but I also want to make progress on another book because I will finish the other one sooner, and I need to see progress on my thread.

gen. 7, 2013, 7:58pm

I had a busy day, again, but I did get some AK read in the waiting rooms. It got there early, so I could read, and the damn doctors and nurses and PAs and whomever all conspired to call my name early, since I was there! Dang!

gen. 7, 2013, 8:01pm

I have plugged along through chapter 23. Loved the description of the ball and how Kitty was selected to dance. I am moving through this at a leisurly pace myself, so I probably won't finish it this month. I am really enjoying the character descriptions and the language.

gen. 7, 2013, 8:44pm

Phew - I've just found this thread. I'm only 71 pages in, but I'll catch up!!

gen. 7, 2013, 8:56pm

I see everyone is chugging along at different speeds! Hey, as long as we all make the finish line. Who cares!
I just started Book 3. The story dragged a bit with Kitty & Co toward the end of Book 2. Maybe it was just me. Back to Levin and the farm though, which I like.

gen. 7, 2013, 9:21pm

Gee, I liked Kitty's story with Mme Stahl. I thought it was funny and brought out aspects of Kitty's character that we didn't know.

gen. 7, 2013, 9:39pm

I can honestly say I have not found a single page that dragged. I am completely ensconced in this narrative (I'm well into Book 5) and it just gets better and better. I guess I never gave Anna much thought as a character before I read the book. I mean I had certainly heard the first sentence and I knew of Anna but her character is not what I expected when I first started`reading.

gen. 8, 2013, 1:22am

I finished part II last night. The next bit is a bit spoilerish, so those who aren't that far along yet might want to skip this message :)

I really, really like the way Tolstoy gives the people in his novel character. I agree that the mme Stahl part really points out parts of Kitty's character (and also illustrates her youth and impressionability).
I was especially struck by his description of Karenin in this part though, I'm really feeling sorry for the guy. I think it's so understandable how he doesn't really know what to do about the situation and ends up doing nothing at all, which only makes things worse. It's sometimes just easier to hide in your job than to face troubles at home, and it makes Karenin so human... And then when he finally does say something, it all comes out wrong and only confirms Anna's idea that he doesn't really care about her. Poor man...

gen. 8, 2013, 8:42am

>148 Britt84: I completely agree, and I think that's what's so beautiful about this book. Neither Anna nor Karenin are totally in the wrong (they're not right ether, though), they are just two imperfect people who don't know what they're doing.

gen. 8, 2013, 9:05am

Kind of makes you understand the concept of "home wrecker" which was so popular at an earlier age. A man could sue another man for "alienation of affection". Does that still exist?

gen. 8, 2013, 4:01pm

I'll be ready to start part 4 tonight! Not quite to the halfway point, but almost!

gen. 9, 2013, 3:30pm

I'd love to join in - I'm late but cannot put the book down. I'm reading a hard copy of the Pevear and Volkhonsky translation, and a little bit of the free Constance Garnett one on my KIndle. I loved the P&v translation I read of War and Peace in 2011 and so far am finding this even better. I'm only up to Part 1, Chapter 22 so have skipped lots of messages above - thanks for the spoiler warnings.

gen. 9, 2013, 4:06pm

Im glad you're joining us, Cushla. I guess it's not a spoiler to say I love it so far and it keeps getting better and better!

gen. 9, 2013, 4:08pm

I finally reached halfway, and am enjoying Levin as a character. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

gen. 9, 2013, 6:04pm

I really wonder if the translation is a part of why I am liking the book, but not overwhelmed... I have the nook Garnett translation.

gen. 9, 2013, 7:39pm

I will finish the book tomorrow and have enjoyed it tremendously, so much that I am actually thinking about War and Peace. Anna is definitely not a likeable character but there is so much more to the story that her. Levin is extremely human and passionate. Dolly is sweet. But the way Tolstoy tells the story is the best part.

gen. 11, 2013, 2:08am

I'm new to LT but have been meaning to read Anna Karenina for a while... hope it's not too late to join in! I'm an Audible subscriber so I'm thinking about listening to it as an audiobook, but will probably end up getting hold of the paperback as well :)

Editat: gen. 11, 2013, 12:15pm

(Edited to add: I don't really consider this a spoiler, but just in case, I do mention a specific detail here.)

I'm 75 pages in right now, and Anna has finally arrived on the scene. Yay!
It's interesting that her arrival is marked by the death of a man on the train tracks. Definite foreshadowing there, and even Anna notes it as a bad omen. I'm very curious to see where this is all going to go.

I'm liking all the characters so far. Each one is interesting in a variety of different ways.

Editat: gen. 12, 2013, 11:28am

I'm getting ready to begin part 6 tonight. It's about 60% 67% of the way in.

Editat: gen. 11, 2013, 9:56pm

How is everyone doing? Yes, it's a LONG read but fortunately the story-telling is amazing. That helps a lot. I just started Book 5, so I am officially over the halfway point. Hooray.
It's funny, how this novel is called Anna Karenina but so far, her character is in it, the least. Interesting.

I started a 2nd Thread for Book 5 through Book 8:

I hope this is helpful. I posted it at the top of the thread too, for easy access.

gen. 12, 2013, 1:57am

I've only just started (had some library books to finish first), still no Anna in it! :)

It's a re-read for me, I'm looking forward to paying more attention to characters and needing to pay less attention to plot. (What can I say, I'm a plot-driven reader!) But even before I first read it, I knew the basic ending.

Thanks for the character list - I've got bookmarks in my copy for the character list, and for the notes, as well as my current place (sadly very close to the beginning!).

Levin is one of my literary crushes.

gen. 12, 2013, 11:29am

I managed to plow through quite a bit of it last night and finished it this morning! I'm doing the happy dance! I gave it 4 stars.

gen. 12, 2013, 12:10pm

>160 msf59: I agree that Anna isn't the focus of the book (thankfully, for me, as I'm not a big fan of her) but she does influence everything else that happens.

gen. 12, 2013, 1:20pm

I'm 200 pages in and still totally loving it.

gen. 12, 2013, 5:02pm

I am still plugging along. Unfortunately, one of the kids asked me to put Angry Birds Star Wars on the Nook! And AK is on the Nook, so every time I pick it up I'm tempted. I am on page 207 of 1157. So there.

gen. 12, 2013, 8:34pm

I'm almost finished with Part IV, and I'm still amazed at how Tolstoy lets us into his characters' heads. There are definitely some of them that I like better than others, but I feel like I know all of them so well.

But I'm also loving Tolstoy's writing - it's descriptive and rich and sometimes funny. I loved this sarcastic comment about a report from a commission investigating racial minorities:

"All questions were furnished with excellent answers, and answers not open to doubt, since they were not the product of human thought, which is always subject to error, but were the products of institutional activity."

gen. 13, 2013, 12:09am

I'm just getting started and so far I'm enjoying the storytelling.
I read some (but not all) of the introduction and they talked about the novel as a polemic. I've looked that up to remind myself what it means and I'm interested to see how it's a polemic, or if I'll even be able to tell.

gen. 13, 2013, 6:43am

>166 porch_reader: I also really like his comments on politics and institutions, and the way he mocks the bureaucracy; it's sometimes subtle, but the novel really is also a social critique.
>167 EBT1002: I guess the polemic part might be actually referring to what porch_reader mentions, his critical comments about the politics and institutions in Russia...

I've started part IV yesterday, getting close to the end of volume 1. I guess I will finish it this month, I just want to know what's gonna happen next :)

gen. 13, 2013, 8:19am

I have started to read Anna Karenina yesterday and read the first part in one go.

I love how vividly Tolstoi describes his characters: How he gives an insight to everbody's personality by accompanying every single one of the main protagonists. - Like he gives everyone the right to speak and be heard. The husbands (Oblonski & Karenin) seem to have become creatures of habit - and especially Anna Karenina seems to be quite lonley in her marriage. Of course, she's got her son, but no partner at the same eye level.
I see a strong similarity between Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary when it comes to their reading habits: Anna reads about something and directly wants to do that. She dreams of a life with more action and events. She's somehow an adventurer - there's a desire for something... just something "more" in her life.

In general, I noticed also the parallelity of Anna's and Wronski's life in this first part which is very interesting.

Well, I've got to stop now and get back to the book. :)

Editat: gen. 13, 2013, 8:46am

Wow, everyone seems to be chugging along, at different paces of course, but the consensus seems to be very positive. I am nearly done with Book 5, so there is a spot of daylight on the horizon, but just a speck.
I did find some of the labour discussions a bit dry, but it is a book of it's time. Russia finding it's place in the world.

Amy- Love the quote.

Kathy- I like that cover. Stylish & modern. I should add it to the top.

gen. 13, 2013, 3:15pm

Just finished Part I and its so entertaining.

I feel like Anna has accepted her life up until that point in part due to happiness, but also in part due to duty, because reality is reality. I noticed too, like Kathy, that Anna reads in order to live lives that are not her own, to experience the excitement and high ideals she finds in books. In a similar way she imagines the ideal in the people and life around her and then finds herself disappointed when it doesn't measure up, which is not a happy way to live.

Vronsky I'm not fond of, as he seems quite the jerk. Though I find it interesting that he associates himself with the modern bohemian set, which lives by passions and pleasure and damn the consequences to anyone else.

I also really like Levin and feel bad for him and Kitty both. Maybe the two will reconcile and find a happy marriage later on?

Anyway there are some initial thoughts.

gen. 13, 2013, 5:40pm

Hi all. I've been listening to the audio book of the story and finally took the time today to find this page :) So I'm in. I don't generally read books like this so it's tough going sometimes, but the book is interesting and full of some many different aspects of life.

gen. 15, 2013, 12:04am

I'm enjoying reading everyone's opinions of the characters! I'm almost finished Part 1 and really enjoying it. I'm reading along as I listen to the audiobook which is great (especially in getting pronunciation right!). Favourite characters so far are Levin and Kitty. I'm not particularly impressed with Vronsky after his treatment of Kitty and I'm not sure yet what to make of Anna.

I have mixed feelings about Oblonsky - on the one hand his affair and treatment of his wife bothers me, but on the other he's so good-natured I can't help but like him!

gen. 15, 2013, 9:09am

Hi, I really wanted to join in and read this with the group because I thought it would be great to be able to discuss it as we went along. I see that some folks have only started recently so I think I might still give it a go. I can't believe how RL interferes with my desire to be on LT and/or to get my reading done. I have to be much more organized and to that end, I have purchased a 2013 planner. There! All my problems are solved. Well, I bought a beautiful copy of "Anna Karenina" at Costco with a gorgeous suede cover. Now I just have to find it. Yes, I misplaced it. I have so many bags of books that I have a hard time putting my hands on them if just a few days go by. I'll check in after reading all these posts to catch up and will hopefully have found my copy by then. If not I have an old yellowed paperback, but it is actually brittle, so I bought the new book. But, either way I can start sometime today. Good Reading to All!

gen. 15, 2013, 10:49am

Yes I found Levin and Kitty very sweet indeed. But Anna and Vronsky had so much heat at the very beginning. But as the saying always goes you reap what you sow...that by the end I felt so much for both Anna for all her insecurities and the Vronsky frustrations.

gen. 15, 2013, 2:30pm

Yesterday, I finished the second part of Anna Karenina: Attention, the following might contain spoilers.

I don't know why, but somehow I don't really care as much about Anna's/Wronski's relationship as I think I'm supposed to be. Maybe it's because Anna entered the scene relatively late and I still can't "get" her character fully. If you take Lewin/Kitty as a an opposite example - I still hope for them that they'll get together again.

Some points I found interesting:
1) Karenin is actually giving his wife a charter to betray him - as long as the outward appearance is kept up. Honestly I wouldn't have expected that much "freedom" for Anna.
2) Horse race: I'm afraid that we'll have to take the accident as an omen - and that the relationship between Anna and Wronski will "break their necks". Wronski will probably want her too much and will destroy her with this desire.

In general, I'm really curious about how Kitty's life will develop. I had to smile about her (temporary) decision to exchange every man on the planet by doing charity work. Haven't we all been in this condition at some point of our lovelifes when we were younger? :)

Let's see what part three is going to show us.

gen. 16, 2013, 11:52am

>176 PersephonesLibrary:
That would be the second bad omen then for Anna, if you also take into account the train death at her arrival in the book, which is also when she and Vronski first met.

gen. 16, 2013, 12:20pm

So, about "omens" or foreshadowing, do authors expect readers, who do not know the ending of the novel, to recognize these signs and signals? Is a reader supposed to think, "oh, this will end badly for Anna"?

I never catch these "clues" which is one reason I seldom find mysteries all that much fun. I only recognize symbols if they are blatant or if a fellow reader mentions something.

gen. 16, 2013, 12:30pm

Like you, Karen, I rarely recognize foreshadowing or omens until later. Easy for critics and literature instructors to point out such literary devices once they've completed the work.

gen. 16, 2013, 1:39pm

You know, I only recognize symbols or foreshadowing sporadically, sometimes before and sometimes after. I've taken a lot of literature classes, so I'm kinda trained to look for them, especially in classic works (where that "analysis mode" is more likely to be turned on while I'm reading). I think the death at the arrival of Anna was more obvious for me, because it had no other relation to the story.

gen. 16, 2013, 2:29pm

Foreshadowing or not, the chapter about the horse race was surprisingly gripping.

gen. 16, 2013, 2:43pm

Yes! One of several beautiful pieces in the book.

gen. 16, 2013, 2:46pm

I must get to the horse race soon. Interest is waning.

gen. 16, 2013, 3:02pm

#177: That's true - I didn't get that, but now you're pointing it out and it's obvious. Attention, spoiler: For me it was more obvious the second time, because Wronski was involved directly. He wanted to win so badly, so that his horse had to pay with her life.

#178: Karen, don't worry. I studied literature and I'm trained to look for things like that. And when I read book only for fun as it's the case with Anna Karenina I often miss something. I'm convinced that there are many, many more symbols, links, parallels, etc. that I don't notice at the moment. But I guess, at the ending every puzzle piece will make a perfect picture.

#181: I agree, that was very intense and gave an amazing insight into Wronskis character.

gen. 17, 2013, 8:48am

I am woefully behind, still in Part I. :-(

gen. 17, 2013, 8:58am

Do. Not. Feel. Like. The. Lone. Ranger.

Editat: gen. 17, 2013, 7:17pm

Some good discussions going on here! Keep in mind that there is a 2nd thread for Books 5-8! The link is at the top, but here it is again:

I only have 50 pages left. I gave myself 3 weeks and it looks like I'll be done a couple days early.
LOVED the horse race! Easily one of the best set-pieces in this massive book.

Karen- I hope you hang in there! You can do it!

gen. 17, 2013, 7:16pm

I am hanging in, reading a little itty bitty bit every day, or so. I think I have the house rented but now I'm doing the admin stuff: fixing a lease up so it fits our circumstances, having a credit check done, etc. etc. Still have to show it in case these folks have something radically wrong with them...

Saturday I'm going to a dog party with Benny, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, to meet other CKCS owners and dogs. Greta is invited, too. And then I'm showing the house. I may sit in a corner and read, and stop to answer questions, and then go back to reading.

gen. 17, 2013, 7:19pm

Go Karen! Go Karen! Are you having a hard time keeping to the 35 pages or is that working? Since my book edition had such large print and ran 1,300 pages, I found myself trying to read 70-100 pages a day and for the most part it worked.

gen. 17, 2013, 7:51pm

Delurking... I am following everyone's comments here, but I have read Anna twice before, so I am opting not to read it again. I don't remember it well enough to make incredibly insightful comments, but enough to appreciate other reader's insights. Thanks everyone for sharing! Oh, and I actually have the edition up top with the purple flowers. Happy reading!

gen. 17, 2013, 7:53pm

Kimmer's made it! Kimmer's made it! Yah! I can't believe you tackled this baby twice. I'm not sure I will, although I did like it.

gen. 17, 2013, 8:32pm

Yup. Once in college ( I was big on Russian Lit) and then a couple years ago. I think that might be enough!

gen. 17, 2013, 9:51pm

So... 35 pages. Did. Not. Even.

I'm lucky if I read a page or two each day, but I'll just keep plugging along. Whoever said Anna was kind of a pain, yup, I agree. What a ding bat. Reminds me all too much of Scarlett....oh, Miss Scarlett.....

and her "I'll think about it tomorrow at Tara".....

Poor women were just not given much room to have any personhood and when they did do something it freaked them out

or is that too harsh?

gen. 17, 2013, 10:56pm

>193 maggie1944: I just finished Part 6, and I think Tolstoy has gradually made Anna's character much more nuanced. If you can keep plugging away at it, she gets less like Scarlett and more like Edna in Kate Chopin's The Awakening. I can't say I like or admire her, but I'm coming to understand her.

gen. 18, 2013, 2:31am

I'm curious why people dislike Anna if anyone minds elaborating? Did you dislike her from the beginning (i.e. something basic about her personality) or did it gradually come about because of how she acted in a particular scene...? etc

I haven't gotten very far into the book yet (just started Part 2), but at the moment she seems to have the capacity to be thoughtful and kind towards others... her fault seems to be not discouraging Vronsky when she knows she should, though she does feel guilt and shame about it.

gen. 18, 2013, 9:38am

Don't feel bad cyderry. I'm just getting started but something tells me that I am going to like it because everybody here seems to be quite happily reading it. I cannot find my lovely copy newly purchased so I am having to read this very brittle, very yellowed copy. Meanwhile, I am still looking for the new book. I had a laugh with my husband though, because I can't find it because I tried to hide the purchase from him. It was a full price book, and while it was not that expensive, I feel bad because I just have sooo many I always say, it could be diamonds...and he says, yes, but those I could pawn! Anyway, I'm off to bed to read some more before I venture any comments on the book. Good Night and Good Reading to all of you!

PS. I wrote the above last night and never sent it off...Since then, after an extensive search I found my new copy of AK! Yay! So I have begun. This version is the Constance Garnett translation.

gen. 18, 2013, 8:02pm

Re not liking Anna much. I'm not sure that I dislike her but I want her to be true to something. I'm just finishing Part 3, so I have a long distance to go, but my main quibble with her is that she doesn't seem to have any kind of inner compass guiding her. Most characters, good or evil, have some set of values that drives them. Their actions tell you what they care about. Anna's only (so far) tell me that she cares about her feeling right now in the moment. If she were 16, that would sit more well with me.

Of course, I don't know that her cold, ambitious husband is helping matters much.

gen. 18, 2013, 8:36pm

I think the interesting thing about both Anna and her husband is that they are totally true to type for their society and era. The husband really does not know what to do because nothing in his milieu has provided him a clue. No one has given him a primer in how to be a husband. Anna has not been given any education about having values, or developing herself. She is expected to do as her husband directs her, as her priest directs her, and that is about all. Sheesh. I am so glad I did not live in those day, in that part of the world.

gen. 18, 2013, 8:37pm

>198 maggie1944: I am so glad I did not live in those day, in that part of the world.
Amen to that!!!

gen. 19, 2013, 2:06pm

I've only just read...Anna Karenina...hmmhmm...lalalalalala....(sing to the tune of "We've only just begun" by the Carpenters) Some of us here are old enough to remember the Carpenters aren't we? Anyway, What I Like About Anna Karenina...What I like about Anna Karenina is that it has the sense of an old classic about it I know...that's because it is one! I know). When I read a classic I don't want a modern feel to the words. I enjoy the unfamiliarity of the phrasing and the way that questions are put or statements made. I am glad this translation retains that quality. (Constance Garnett) I don't know if this quality is something particular to Russian novels or novels written in the 1800's and early and middle 1900's. Maybe a little of both. The modern novel, too, is a wonderful thing, there is such freedom and leeway for the author to take any tack he/she wishes. But, while there is less restraint, I wonder if that very limitation is what gave the early novelists their flair for stating the obvious and creating books that most often made important social and political statements.
In AK, as in many classics, descriptive passages are long and wordy, especially when a character is being described. These descriptions seemed to me to be the device used to move the plot along.Personality, physical descriptions, flaws and attributes are carefully rendered and serve to qualify the action. For instance, to know Stepan, Levin and Darya, is to know what goes on in the beginning of the novel. Stepan's infidelity determines what is happening in his home, and Darya is certainly a product of the time she lives in, so the reader can anticipate what may come next, action wise. Levin's description foreshadows what is certain to come in the chapters concerning him and Kitty. "But Levin was in love, and so it seemed to him that Kitty was so perfect in every respect that she was a creature far above everything earthly, and that he was a creature so low and so earthly that it could not even be conceived that other people and she herself could regard him as worthy of her." So we know that Levin is going to pursue Kitty and that Kitty may not be ready for this sort of romantic pursuit. Until I read a description of Anna, I won't know the part she will play in the novel. I hope I have not spoiled any parts for readers who may just be starting the book, but I don't think so. Good Reading!

gen. 21, 2013, 8:46am

I have a problem: there is a part in the horse race which caused me to slam the book closed and I've not been able to pick it up. Any suggestions, without spoilers, folks?

I may just suck it up and hope the evil doers get their comeuppance and carry on, but not right now, maybe later.........

gen. 22, 2013, 10:43am

A thought just ran through my head (I know what now), but a question of Stepan and Anna's parents and upbringing comes into mind. Stepan forever the playboy and really doesnt seem to even care how his wife feels about all of his affairs and then all of Anna insecurities.

Love the sceen when Levin ask Kitty to marry him and that whole converstation with the blocks makes my heart just melt.

gen. 22, 2013, 11:29am

OK, I'm back in. Kitty has been to Europe and back....

gen. 23, 2013, 8:17am

I feel like molasses going up hill in January. I've finished the first 200 pages and although it's not a particularly difficult read, it's very wordy and slow paced. I was hoping to have it finished in a month, but that's not going to happen.

gen. 23, 2013, 10:35am

Taking a break post-part 4. I'll pick it back up this weekend after completing a couple other books.

gen. 23, 2013, 7:00pm

204. Ditto! Very wordy.

I'm back in; still in part / book 3. Kitty has just arrived and Levin just saw the carriage. Sure hope things pick up soon. I feel like molasses too!

gen. 23, 2013, 7:08pm

Oh, Tina, that is just where I am, too. My Nook does not indicate Parts, just chapters. I'm going to try to do some good concentrated reading tonight.

Just as soon as I stop reading threads. And playing Words with Friends, And playing with my doggies.

gen. 23, 2013, 7:29pm

And checking on threads... and more threads... and more threads...


gen. 23, 2013, 8:31pm

It looks like everyone is still plugging along. I liked the book and I am glad I read it but I am also glad I could finally move on.

gen. 23, 2013, 9:48pm

I'm still loving it but have had very little reading time this week. I'm just about to start Part 4 and am enjoying Levin's thinking about the change from the feudal system to a hired labour system (but that might be the former economist in me talking...). It's like having a little diversion into Russian history mixed in with the tangled love stories!

gen. 24, 2013, 7:29am

Yes, cushla, I'm enjoying the "history" and the "sociology" of the book. All the philosophical musings!

gen. 24, 2013, 6:53pm

I have arrived at Book 2! I feel a sense of accomplishment, LOL, even if Kindle tells me I've only read 14%.

Editat: gen. 27, 2013, 5:30pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

gen. 30, 2013, 2:09pm

I have just started Part VI and I sense tragedy all around.

feb. 5, 2013, 10:47pm


I used to think there was no redeeming quality to this book. Now I have decided that Kitty and Levin are the only reason to keep reading. Please tell me I'm not wrong. Please?

feb. 6, 2013, 6:11am

I'm still reading AK from time to time. I've heard tht the Kitty/Levin story is in fact the redeeming feature. I am still waiting to get to that part.

feb. 6, 2013, 11:49am

On Part II.
I'm working my way slowly through. Other books and to-do lists and life is keeping me distracted from it.

feb. 12, 2013, 10:00am

I am working my way slowly through the book but I am really enjoying it. Unfortunately, the parts that I find boring are the parts with Anna. I find her to be so vapid, succumbing immediately to her desires. Maybe she puts up a fight later on but right now whe seems to be giving in quite easily.

feb. 12, 2013, 2:08pm

Rumor has it the book get exciting closer to the end..... I'm planning on spending a good deal of the coming weekend reading it.

feb. 12, 2013, 2:35pm

Done. Finished. Thank goodness...

Good luck all!

feb. 12, 2013, 6:48pm

>220 TinaV95: - me too. Thank goodness.

feb. 13, 2013, 2:11am

>220 TinaV95:. Me too. And also thank goodness.
I'm glad I read it but I'm also glad to be moving on to shorter and better things....

Hang in there, y'all!

feb. 21, 2013, 12:18pm

I've been reading along with you but haven't commented yet.

I think Anna is more appealing when the reader is 20 or so, as she reacts to her emotions very abruptly, often without considering the consequences. She and Vronksly are like Paolo and Francesca (from The Inferno, allowing their passion for each other to override their other ambitions.

Levin is a more complicated character, with a certain naive philosophy that is both charming and revealing. I'm about 30% through the book, and so far I find Levin more interesting than Anna.

There is lots of foreshadowing, as was noted before, starting with Stiva's infidelity and Anna's participation in his apology and reconciliation with Darya. Then of course the death at the train station, and the horserace (although I doubt the mechanism described, perhaps it could happen).

Some people are having problems with the wordiness of the text. Are you reading the newest translation, the P-V translation that Oprah touted a few years ago? I'm not finding it wordy at all.

feb. 21, 2013, 12:20pm

I put my final words on the book here: (don't read if you are at risk of being discouraged from finishing) -

feb. 22, 2013, 1:40pm

I'm still far behind...maybe I should just give up and start again another time. :-(

feb. 22, 2013, 1:51pm

Chèli I was often tempted to just put it aside but then all those pages I had read would have to be read again. No! Don't give up. Maybe just set a small daily goal and continue to read some additional books on the side. You can do it! Finishing is its own good reward!

feb. 22, 2013, 1:55pm

I finished part II, but my reading rate has slowed dramatically due to life and other books and things. I need to kick up the pace, if I ever want to finish it.

feb. 22, 2013, 8:50pm

No Cheli! Don't quit!

feb. 25, 2013, 9:51pm

Keep going folks!! You can do this!!!

feb. 27, 2013, 1:59pm

I found another translation which I may move over to. I think it is the one that most of you were reading-Pevar and Volokhonsky. I think that is the one ffortsa is talking about.

Editat: feb. 27, 2013, 6:00pm

#230 Yes, the P & V translation is very readable.

feb. 28, 2013, 9:44am

I sympathise with those who are struggling...I took a break halfway through Part 4 to 'see other books'... Back into it now and enjoying it, but I do feel like I still have a long way to go. I don't think I could finish it if I wasn't reading other books as well. Also finding that listening to it as an audiobook helps.

feb. 28, 2013, 10:09am

>232 Amy7:, I finished in January and had to take breaks regularly too. Glad to have read it, wish you a good read.

març 1, 2013, 1:51am

Thanks electrice :) Definitely determined to keep going with it.

març 1, 2013, 7:42am

Let's start the cheer! *grabs pom-poms* Two, Four, Six, Eight; Who do we appreciate? AmyHannah! AmyHannah! AmyHannah! You are right! Determination will gain the day. Go for it.

març 11, 2013, 4:25am

Thank you maggie :P (note slight name change...) I just finished it, yay!

març 11, 2013, 8:23am

Oh, I'm glad you were able to finish it. I am definitely glad I made it to the last page, too.

març 11, 2013, 11:55am

I'm halfway through Part 3. I'm still enjoying it, but I have a lot of distractions going on at the moment.

març 24, 2013, 12:07am

Just finished Part 3. So I'm stil rather far behind the group.

Even though I'm reading it slowly I'm still greatly enjoying it.

This chapter was interesting in its developments, with Levin's efforts to forget Kitty by focusing on his work (which is also interesting politically), the horse race, an Anna's pregnancy and how the men in her life fail so utterly to understand her position. Also, considering how trapped she is by her marriage and her position, it gives me a bit of sympathy.

març 25, 2013, 8:05am

>239 andreablythe: I feel the same way about Anna. She's definitely not the best person, but it's hard for us today to imagine how completely trapped she was. I have lots of sympathy and pity for her.

març 26, 2013, 2:22am

Of all the things I expected to happen by the end of Part 4, THAT was not it. Wow.

març 26, 2013, 12:06pm

I'm so impressed with everyone who is still plugging away at AK. GO gang, GO!!!

març 26, 2013, 12:53pm

Heh. thanks.

març 26, 2013, 5:59pm

I'm somewhere in Part 5 and still enjoying the book - hoping to finish it this week!

març 26, 2013, 8:51pm

I hope you feel a great sense of accomplishment. I did. I am glad to be able to say I finished reading Anna Karénina!

març 27, 2013, 3:45pm

I'm seconding Ellen's encouragement! I'm so proud of you all for keeping on with AK!

març 29, 2013, 11:52pm

Okay, I finally finished it! Still have to figure out what I think.

març 30, 2013, 2:20am

Congratulations, Chèli! That is some reading you've done here!

And to others who are still hanging in there: You've come so far, you can bring it to a conclusion! Just don't give up, you're all doing great.

març 30, 2013, 10:00am

Congrats, Cheli!

abr. 1, 2013, 12:10pm

Finished it over the weekend and loved it! It had a way of grabbing your attention and not letting go.

abr. 1, 2013, 12:14pm

Great news! Congratulations. A big job but well worth it.

abr. 15, 2013, 12:36am

Finished part five. Anna's growing desperation is sad (and makes for grey reading), even if she is partly responsible for her present situation. And I really like how Tolstoy continues to show the complexity of feelings. Love isn't simple or easy, isn't sunshine and roses all the time, and I like how he shows how little frustrations can complicate a love that should be simple. Looking forward to continued reading.

abr. 15, 2013, 12:50am


Because we've talked in this thread about the previous deaths in the book that served as warnings and foreshadowing in Anna and Vronsky (the death at the train station when they first met and the death of the horse at the track when their love was growing), I thought it was interesting that there was a death in relation to Levin and Kitty. But where the previous deaths seem to be dark foreshadowing (both were sudden, unexpected, and due to human choice), the death witnessed by Levin and Kitty has a very different feel as a part of the natural course of life (also we've known the death was coming for quite sometime). Therefore when Kitty finds out she's pregnant shortly after Levin's brother's death, it seems to be an affirmation of the right kind of love, by showing that rebirth (or new birth) can come after death.

abr. 15, 2013, 8:31am

>253 andreablythe: Beautifully put, Andrea! I also noticed that the deaths related to Anna/Vronsky were in public, and the focus of everyone's attention, just like their affair. In contrast, Levin's brother died in bed, and very few people outside the room even knew who he was.

abr. 15, 2013, 12:11pm

>254 norabelle414:
That's a good point, too, Nora. I hadn't thought about the public private aspects of it. Interesting.

abr. 15, 2013, 12:29pm

I like both of those insights, Andrea and Nora. Thank you.

abr. 29, 2013, 1:53am

Finished part six. Yay! Almost done, and I'm determined to finish before the end it the month.

abr. 29, 2013, 7:18am

Yay! You are almost there, and then it will be finished. Such a long book. And yet, so interesting.

abr. 29, 2013, 12:04pm

Yes! It is very interesting. Such complex characters.

abr. 30, 2013, 11:40pm

I'm done! Yay! I did it!

maig 1, 2013, 1:31am

>260 andreablythe: Woo-hoo!---hope it was worth it--it was for me.

maig 1, 2013, 1:41am

Yeah, it was worth it. Definitely fascinating in terms of the complexities of people and relationships, though I didn't quite love it.

maig 1, 2013, 8:07am

I think you have captured how many of us felt. Nice to have read it, but might not be in my list of all time favorites.

jul. 1, 2014, 9:16pm