The power of the written word was not new to me. Without books I'm not sure I would have survived those first 18 years of my life. Literature was my medicine, my escape, and my rest, all through growing up. But never did it matter more than during those days with Anna Karenina.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has a secret fascination with Leo Tolstoy. As a young KGB agent, he purportedly made a pilgrimage to the Leo Tolstoy Museum and Estate at Yasnaya Polyana. But for a guy who says Tolstoy is his favorite writer, Putin is, well, a very bad reader.
Four years ago, I explained in my blog how enduring misconceptions about Sophia Tolstoy's character and marriage prompted me to write her biography. Back then I could not tell the whole story about the Tolstoys' family drama.
I've been in love with Audrey Hepburn all my life. Well, not really all my life, but at least since the moment I saw her in William Wyler's 1953 classic film, Roman Holiday. I was just a kid living in Russia, and I could only dream about traveling to Rome.
Tolstoy is actually a pretty appropriate author for twentysomethings to be reading in our current society. Although he lived in Russia over one-hundred years ago, Tolstoy and his characters knew all about ambition, failure, stress, and striving for meaning and goodness.
There is no such thing as a story without a listener. This uniquely human act of telling our story both creates us and connects us. The character we narrate gives birth to the character we are in the context of a relationship.
Lots of people around campus ask why I decided to take this class, considering the high volume of assigned reading. I'm in this class because I've loved Russian Literature since I was a sophomore in high school.
It's hard to put into words what it's like to witness Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 in person. You're sort of crashing the party just by turning up on their set. Don't expect anything you've ever seen before.
Tackling Tolstoy was an emotional, as well as a financial investment. Even if you couldn't wade through the hefty prose, that beautiful hardback edition would display prominently on your oak bookshelf, right next to your edition of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce.