Anna Karenina on Oprah


nbruce writes "The newest selection (the 5th) for Oprah's classic book club choice is Anna Karenina, the first on her long list that she admits she's never read.

"I cannot imagine a world where the great works of literature are not read. My hope is The Oprah Winfrey Show will make classic works of literature accessible to every woman and man who reads. ... I hope to invite readers throughout the world to visit or revisit a universe of books of enduring usefulness, because I believe that the sublimity of this experience, this gift to ourselves, is something that we owe to ourselves." — Oprah Winfrey"


Man, did I love that book! I read it in high school after watching a Masterpiece Theatre version of it. Anna K got me into reading about Tzar Nicholas and that whole period of Russian History.

Anna has also been immortalized by a local country band, Stumpwhoopt (who, curiously, has a fan base in Germany). Don't read the lyrics if you plan to read the book--they're a bit of a spoiler.

Anna, don't throw yourself on the tracks--
He loves you.
Anna, collect your thoughts and go back
to Moscow.

I'll see if I can get the rest of the lyrics. It's a brilliant 3-minute cliff notes version of the book.

It took me four weeks of intensive reading during the summer before my junior year of high school to get through AK. I consider it my first 'serious' reading and it led to being a fan of Tolstoy and then Dostevsky. I can't imagine trying to get someone to read it for a bookclub without 3-4 months notice, hard telling how long it would take me now.

My first impression was shock that what was considered such a great work of literature started out on such a soap opera note, Oblonsky being caught cheating with the governess. Two moments have always stuck in my mind, one where Varenka and ??? are coming close to becoming a couple but can't seem to get past their own years of solitude and Levin's time helping with the fall harvest, trying to keep up with his own laborers.

Overall I loved the book but mainly because of Levin, Anna was a self-absorbed twit.

I read AK when I was in early junior high I think - I think I was too young when I read it - maybe I should read it again now!?

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