Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Aimless Reading: The T's, Part 5 (Leo Tolstoy)

Anna Karenina
Tolstoy, Leo
Anna Karenina

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

From the time I graduated college to the time I finished graduate school, roughly a twelve year period, I more or less stopped reading fiction. When I finished graduate school, I rediscovered the pleasure of reading for pleasure, and I also rediscovered the pleasure of reading fiction. I have since read many, many novels. I try to read about one long Russian novel every year. A few years ago I read Anna Karenina.

I got the idea after Orhan Pamuk visited Buffalo. During his talk, he very confidently declared that the two greatest novels ever written were Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. I read them both soon thereafter.Then of course I watched the film version starring Greta Garbo. I will never be able to read this novel again without thinking of her.

There was a brief biopic about Garbo on TCM last night. I caught the end, where they talked about the last 50 years of her life, during which time she lived as an opulent recluse in Manhattan. Her last film was in 1941 and she died in 1990.

Apparently she spent most of that time walking and shopping. She called herself a "Mollusk." She told her friend, "I'm sorry for a lot of things, for quitting things.... Actually, I've been out of order for years. It takes forever for me ... to make a move. How can I do anything when I can't even move from my living room to my other room? A friend told me, ‘You are like a mollusk!' I didn't know what it meant, so I looked it up – it's an animal that doesn't move,. It just sits there.”

from Anna Karenina

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

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