All summer long Bossy was trying to read Anna Karenina. It’s the Leo Tolstoy novel Bossy has enjoyed in the past, and she thought it was time to revisit it, as Bossy often decides, because they don’t write new books anymore and Bossy was tired of Jeff Lewis.
Or maybe Bossy wasn’t tired of Jeff Lewis, because the yellow bookmark in Anna Karenina never budged beyond page 102, which if you’ve ever read Anna Karenina, you know is just the kickoff of the beginning of the introduction.
So Bossy thought it would be interesting if she tried to speed-read Anna Karenina by randomly selecting only ten sentences at regular intervals throughout the book. Kind of like how it’s been said if you randomly select a passage from the bible, it will contain the answer. Assuming you knew the question.
Anyway. Shall we?
- The whole of that day Anna spent at home, that is to say at the Oblonskys’, and received no one, though some of her acquaintances had already heard of her arrival, and came to see her.
- That which had been for almost a whole year the one absorbing desire of Vronsky’s life, replacing all his old desires; that which for Anna had been an impossible, terrible, and even for that reason more entrancing dream of bliss, that desire had been fulfilled.
- Anna was upstairs standing in front of the mirror and, with Annushka’s assistance, pinning the last ribbon on her gown when she heard carriage wheels crunching the gravel at the entrance.
- None but those who were most intimate with Aleksey Aleksandrovich Karenin knew that, while on the surface the coldest and most reasonable of men, he had one weakness quite opposed to the general trend of his character.
- It was past five already, and so, in order to be there quickly, and at the same time not to drive with his own horses, known to everyone, Vronsky got into Yashvin’s hired carriage and told the driver to drive as quickly as possible.
- The Karenins, husband and wife, continued living in the same house, met every day, but were complete strangers to one another.
- After the conversation with Aleksey Aleksandrovich, Vronsky went out onto the steps of the Karenin house and stood still, with difficulty remembering where he was and where he should walk or drive.
- On arriving in Petersburg, Vronsky and Anna stayed at one of the best hotels, Vronsky alone on the lower floor, Anna above, with her child, her nurse, and her maid, in a large suite of four rooms.
- Anna was disconcerted by the intent look of inquiry Dolly fixed upon her.
- In the slanting evening shadows cast by sacks piled up on the platform, Vronsky in his long overcoat and slouch hat, with his hands in his pockets, strode up and down like a wild beast in a cage, turning sharply after twenty paces.
Well, what did we learn? Maybe not so much with the ten-passage summary of Anna Karenina?
Deb(no)Blog saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm
What I learned: I pinned too few ribbons on my sweater this morning. Thank you, Bossy and Anna.
V. saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm
We learned you need a copy with a better translation. 😉
Theresa saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm
I learned I was right when I thought I did not want to ever read this book.
WebSavvyMom saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm
–>I learned that there is yet another book I never want to read.
APeetsMom saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm
I am not every going to read this book!! BLEH! Go read Saving CC Honeycutt!!
Blog Princess saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm
I have always loved this book, yet your 10-section summary pretty much sums it up. I HEART TOLSTOY.
BOSSY saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm
Actually, knowing the book, it’s not a bad shortcut of the 922-page narrative.
Z. Mulls saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm
Reading Anna Karenina is so 2008
kathleen saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm
I learned that people don’t read much anymore. I love this book. Have read it at least three times. First time the idea of illicet sex THRILLED me! I always like that in a book.
Jenn saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm
These were pretty evocative quotes… I’m going to have to revisit the book.
ruth saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm
^5 to Bossy I ALSO bought this book many months ago and admire Bossy for having gotten to page 102 I got to page 7 and it sits glaring at me on my nightstand. I admit defat and will send tot he Goodwill for others to purchase and try to slog through it… oh oh maybe I will print Bossy’s helpful hints and place inside hehehe. (Goodwill is $1.49) for paperbacks (Except on hot sale day when it is 50 cents).
kathleen saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 3:32 pm
I have to qualify that. I was in 8th grade the 1st time I read it. Although illicit sex is still a good read, at twelve- thirteen, it was fantastic! I just saw that it’s on TCM Tues. at 10 pm. The one with Vivian Leigh.
KathyB saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm
Learned not enough. It has been about 20 years since I read that one. Read new translation of War and Peace a year or so ago. Tolstoy refused to call it a novel. Loved the new translation, several earlier attempts with stodgier renderings. See, puts me right into Victorian lit mode.
The Russian tome that glares at me is Crime and Punishment.
Suburban Kamikaze saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm
Other than the absence of trains, I think you’ve summed it up pretty well.
Dr. Liz saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 9:23 pm
I learned that I think I will continue books set in Ancient Egypt for a while longer before I move on to Russian classics. 🙂
Cupcake Murphy saysSeptember 24, 2010 at 10:31 pm
That felt like stubbing my toe. And who the hell’s Dolly?
gg saysSeptember 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm
Learned you can skip to the end and read the surprise ending.
Suzi saysSeptember 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm
Never read it before and now I don’t have to. Thanks, bossy.
ColleenA saysSeptember 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm
I attempted to read AK during the summer of 2004 when it was Oprah’s book pick. At least I think it was 2004. Either way, it was a REALLY long time ago. I tried to keep up with her schedule. Even printed the character guides so I had a little cheat sheet. Both the schedule and the cheat sheet serve as my book mark. They have held permanent residence on page 281 since that summer.
Someday, I hope to get to page 282.
Raz saysSeptember 26, 2010 at 4:51 am
Does reading a book become pointless when you can’t remember any of the story? Because I’ve definitely read it, but I can’t remember any of what you’ve said. Great.
Zendra saysSeptember 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm
Oh, Bossy. This summer I read a chapter of AK and then the corresponding chapter of Android Karenina. And back and forth. I also loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Is that wrong?
Judy saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 10:01 am
Zendra, I am also reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. A great and fun read. As for Bossy’s synopsis: love it! Please tackle Charles Dickens next!
Jill saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 11:40 am
I learned that I should have waited a couple of months for your summary. I decided to read this book two months ago. By the time I was ready to give up I felt I had invested too much time to quit. I finished it but have no idea why I even bothered.
helenel saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm
I decided to read AK when I heard that Mel Gibson was going to make a movie of it. Back when people cared about Mel Gibson. So that was a while ago. All it did for me was add a check to my “Classics to Read” checklist. I don’t think I’ve read a classic since. Unless “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” counts.
Jami saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm
I re-read books, too, but in my case it’s because I’ve forgotten that I read them before. I’m hoping to continue to whittle my library down to just 2 books as I age and my memory becomes more problematic. Which is a polite way of saying “non-functional”.
KathyB saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm
When you find you have forgotten almost everything about a book you read and loved, ticket is punched to read again.
Happens with movies too. Watch them again feeling like I have never seen them before. Maybe a piece of brain has atrophied, maybe it is just how it is.
Ballroompics saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm
I find Russian literature brutally hard to read. More interesting (to me) even though its more grim is the Annie Applebaum book titled Gulag. It documents what occurred in the penal work system under Stalin.
Another (perhaps the most) important book on the topic is Alexandr Solzhenitzyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. Give the wikipedia article a peruse to see why.
Sarah saysSeptember 28, 2010 at 7:50 am
Wait. So did she have any visitors or not?
AE Jones saysSeptember 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm
I love that I found your blog! I’m currently in the 24th chapter of Anna Karenina and absolutely love it. I got a little giddy when I saw you were writing about her and enjoyed answering the questions and making positive I had understood those passages. A phenomenal book. Great blog!
Baby saysSeptember 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm
I have a close girlfriend of mine who read Anna Karenina and I am still waiting for her to let me borrow it!
So glad I found you guys too!
MariaV saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 8:27 am
Are you okay? It’s been five days since we’ve heard from you.
krg saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 9:29 am
where is bossy?