Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I have never read Tolstoy before, but I read in several different places on the internet that "Anna Karenina" is a must-read in world literature. So, I picked up the book at the local chain bookstore and began the arduous task of reading all 923 pages. I am used to reading much shorter books, usually only taking me a few days to a week to finish. But I'm sure it took me a lot longer to get through this one. However, it's not because it is awful to read; it was just the opposite, but very long. I instantly felt drawn in to Russia, even though I've never been there. Tolstoy wrote like he saw it; I felt that I was looking through a window while reading this book. I also felt that the two plots were very nicely linked and did not cause me any confusion, but I believe it is because in this age, we are used to complicated plots and can follow them easily.
Also, I have to mention that I loved Tolstoy's view of the lives of women during this time. He shows what it was really like for a woman; to virtually be a slave to men, and if you were not married to one, than your life was difficult just based on the fact that women had no way of earning a respectable living then. If a woman fell in love, but not with her husband, what was she to do? I believe that Tolstoy feels that it is better to love, even in a scandalous situation, then to stay with the one you do not love. Anna's frustration can be summed up in this quote: "I don't want to prove anything; I merely want to live, to do no one harm but myself. I have the right to do that, haven't I?" (698). Bravo, Tolstoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

3:10 to Yuma

Sorry for a long absence in blogging, but I'm still reading "Anna Karenina" and I'm about halfway through the 900+ pages. I'm really enjoying it so far, and it makes me want to pick up my Chekhov paper from a class I had in the spring and start the rewrite. I want to expand it for publication in a journal, which will definitely add sparkles to my resume.

My mom and I watched "3:10 to Yuma" a while back and I just haven't gotten to write about it. I must say that I really enjoyed this film, and it was refreshing to see a shoot-em-up, full-on, western. It takes place in southern Arizona, near Bisbee, so it was fun for us to watch, being new transplants to the area. Russell Crowe was great as the badass gang leader Ben Wade, and Christian Bale threw in a great performance as the hard-working, and sometimes honest, rancher. But what was most surprising to me was the performance of Ben Foster. Yes, that's right, Ben Foster: the nerdy kid from that television show "Flash Forward" years ago. Foster really proved himself in this film as a great actor because I had no idea it was him until I sat and thought about it a while. He played a great ruthless gangster and I generally felt hatred for his character. I'd buy this film... that is, if I had a job...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"House of Many Gods" by Kiana Davenport

I bought this book while I was in Honolulu for a conference. I've decided that when I travel, I will try to buy some form of literature/poetry that reflects the native people. In Prague, I bought a Kafka book and found a poetry book online that I read in a hostel. I had no idea what to buy, so I picked this one up. It was great at the beginning; filed with Hawaiian culture with every word. Then it started to get all over the place with a story line about radiation, and never really coming to a conclusion on that issue. It was a good read because it read fast and I was attached to the characters and the Hawaiian culture. Otherwise, I'd say it was average, and had I not traveled to Honolulu, I probably would not have read this book. Maybe if the story had stayed in the islands, it would have made it better. But, that's what the author was talking about: there is more to the world than the small islands, even though they are precious.

I have now decided to take on the task of reading Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" because I hear it's a classic love story that will forever be in the literary canon. It's been hard for me to read Russian literature, even Chekhov's plays, but once I get past the fact that each character has three different names, it becomes easy for me. I wish I knew more Russian history, but all I know of Russia is desolation and starvation. We shall see if I make it through this ginormous book.

I have also decided to run the Race for the Cure 5k here in Phoenix next month. A 5k is over three miles! What was I thinking?? I want to be a runner, so doing this will force me to get into it, and it's for a great cause. I asked my friend Jessica to go with me because I know she's at home with a small baby and might want some interaction with someone her age besides her husband. And I know she likes to run, so there's pressure on me!

Jeff got evicted from the Big Brother house this week. :( BIG SAD FACE! He was my favorite.