in Book Reviews

Anna Karenina (Book Thoughts)

Anna KareninaAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I guess because this book is such a beast and such a mad ride I feel some kind of pressure to go into a cave for 3 days and come out saying I’m a changed man or something, but instead I’m just gonna write what I’m thinking right now. Kevin Malone style.

I think this book is freakin’ sick. I freakin’ loved it. It made me think and feel lots of new things, and also made me feel that the things that I think and feel on a regular basis aren’t that crazy, rare or weird after all… or maybe they are, but at least I’m not the only crazy one, and there’s comfort in that.

Life is complicated. Or rather, complex. We make it complicated. But as I think Tolstoy said somewhere, the most moral people are the most simple. And that rings true for me, based on the people I’ve met and known throughout my life.

This is a book about real life. I didn’t have an epiphany reading this book. It was kind of just like stepping outside of my own life, my own inner thoughts and my own social world, and reading my life through this meta-narrative that I don’t usually have access too. And mindf-ck – maybe that’s what God is like. Maybe God is the guy* that sees everything from a meta-perspective, but the difference between Him and us is that He can handle that, whereas for the rest of us, one soul is enough trouble to be getting on with.

So now I feel a bit emotionally fatigued, a bit like the heavy case of post Harry Potter blues I endured last Boxing Day after bingeing all the books into bingeing all the movies into baking pumpkin pasties and brewing stovetop butterbeer.

But this year I told myself that I would be a different man. I wouldn’t let my emotions guide me as much and I would make a conscious decision to grow through life and use my experiences to become a better person, a warmer person.

And if anything, this is one of those books that challenges you to become a better person. That’s why I can’t just move on to the next book now, no matter how tempting that clothbound Austen hardback on my bookshelf is, because I need to draw out the lessons from this one first. The best thing I can say about this book is that about halfway through I noticed that I was starting to ask myself “What does my life call for today?” And that seems to be the right way to live.

This book is still very raw and fresh in my memory. And it’s such a mad journey that you don’t just “move on” from it. All I can say is it is bloody good, and I think it’s making me a better person.

Thank you for reading my rant, and I hope 2022 is a good year for you, and I hope you have a good day.


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