OMG! – She’s Pregnant!: Week 2 of Reading Anna Karenina

Last week I shared that I was embarking on a fun reading adventure  of the classic novel, Anna Karenina with my friend. As of now, I am on page 325, which puts me into part 3 of the book,(out of 7 parts). Let’s just say this week of readings was a mixture of surprise, disappointment and boredom.

First of all, let me say this: I. AM. SHOCKED!

Anna revealed to Vronsky (her lover) that she is pregnant with their child. Now let me explain why I was so astounded to read this in part 2 of the story. Earlier on when Tolstoy mentioned Anna (who is a married woman in high society Russia) and Vronsky were spending a lot of time together, I just assumed they continued to meet at private gatherings amid other society people, like the ones  her friend Princess Betsy was hosting. I was a bit disappointed to read of the hand holding, exchanging of looks, igniting feelings of love, etc. I wanted some details – you know, the tearing off petticoats, sweaty bodies romping underneath lace eyelet sheets, ducking into closets so as not to be discovered, heavy panting and kissing sort of thing. But then I remembered: This book is more than over 150 years old. There were certain ways delicate topics had to be referred to. I’m wondering if a woman had written this book would there be more of this detail? As I have not read other classics written by women from that time period, I can’t say for sure. Just to let you know I wasn’t looking for Jackie Collins, but I needed more love affair details to suspect  physical intimacy, which would of course lead me to wonder if the result of their infatuation could result in a pregnancy.

I was also surprised when Anna told her husband, Karenin, that she loved Vronsky so soon in the book. Now what? There are still a lot of pages left to read. What else is left?

Well, there are the characters of Kitty and Levin. I do hope the rest of the book does not continue in the slow, monotonous fashion of a day in the life of Levin. I nearly fell asleep from boredom while reading the chapters chronicling Levin’s attempt to both avoid his half-brother and work like a peasant for one day. There was way too much detail about mowing and tools and laying about in the tall grass. I would have much preferred details of Anna and Vronsky laying about in the tall grass if you know what I mean?

And then there is poor Kitty. So young and confused about life. But weren’t we all confused about life when we were 18 without the added stress of being a princess? She needs to toughen up like the Scherbotsky she is (again I’m thinking of Robin Scherbostsky from How I Met Your Mother.)

So dear readers who have swallowed this tome of Tolstoy already, were any of you surprised when you read Anna was pregnant? Were you hoping for sensational details of her affair with Vronsky? Were there moments when you felt bored and wished you could just skip a chapter?

Until next week.

Winter Book Reading – Anna Karenina

anna karenina pic

Way back in November of last year a friend and I briefly discussed the idea of forming a mini book club together. We finally  met up  last week for lunch. Over black bean burgers and croque monsieur we made our selection – Anna Karenina. Really it was her idea, but I agreed because I have never read it and heard it was a good book. Besides, it seemed fitting as we were experiencing our own Russian winter in Chicago. Plus, how could I resist her lovely idea of discussing the book at Russian Tea Time?

I immediately went to the library to check out a copy. At 975 pages, I was not intimidated as I completed The Count of Monte Cristo  recently (which reminds me, I should write a blog post about that) which is a whopping 1235 pages or so. We decided to finish the book before the official start of Spring (because who wants to be reading a book like that in Spring?). That means we need to read a minimum of 20 pages a day or 140 per week.

I am not through with my one week yet, but already I have made it to page 170. I’m glad to be ahead. So far, the story is easy to follow. It is interesting to read because Tolstoy’s writing style lets you into the minds of all the characters at the moment. I noticed he is a bit “wordy” but I have to keep in mind the writing of the time, over 150 years ago. I have four  main thoughts up to this point circulating in my brain:

1. Kitty’s last name is Shcherbatsky. Every time I read the family surname or about her, all I can picture is Robin Scherbatsky from the television show How I Met Your Mother.

2. In the translation I am reading, I came across the word “diva”. I had to go get my dictionary (yes I still own a real heavy one) to look up the definition since when I think of diva, images of Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and Madonna pop up.

3. Does everyone’s last name end in sky or ski? Well no, but it sure seems like it.

4. Anna is revealing herself to be self-centered and devious.

I curious to know how many of you have read Anna Karenina? If you have, when did you read it? High School? College? Later? Stay tuned for next week’s update.

Children’s Book Week

466470_593050504047726_1035823377_o (1)

I just found out today is the first day of Children’s Book Week. I am so excited for many reasons. First, the U.S. has many illiterate adults. I do not want to give statistics because they may vary depending on the source and what  definition  of literate one is using. I think most people would agree that adults  who love reading had  a significant experience during their childhood with books. As a former preschool teacher, my first unborn child had a library waiting for him before he was even conceived. I used the books for my classroom at the time, knowing it was a worthwhile investment.

On my son’s first day home from the hospital my husband and I read to him. We continued to do so every day. Our bedtime ritual involved books. We followed the same path when his sister was born. I continued to read to my son each time I nursed my daughter during the day because otherwise he would get into mischief – like smear Aquaphor ointment all over the carpet or jump into the shower fully clothed and turn the water on. Books were often our household sanity saver.

My children are now eight and ten years old. They have read on their own for many years now. I miss reading to them, but am happy they have continued our traditions of reading before bed. They have added a few of their own: reading instead of doing homework, reading before school, reading at the table, reading while walking down the stairs, reading at restaurants, reading in the car and reading while on vacation (to name a few!)

Each day this week I will share with you some of the books my children have enjoyed over the years. Don’t be expecting the usual suspects, although they were enjoyed as well.

What book did you enjoy as a child or does your child or children enjoy now? One of my favorites was Hand, Hand Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins.