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Book Ramblings

Long winded reviews

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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina - Alymer Maude, Louise Maude, Leo Tolstoy I started listening to this audiobook during the first week of November 2012, finished it on January 10, 2013. I wouldn't call this a page turner, not only because there were no pages for me to turn, but because a lot of it is quite contemplative and not plot driven. A huge proportion of the book focuses on the main characters every day life which tend to be fairly mundane though it never really descend into tedium for me thanks to Tolstoy's narrative skills. I thought this was going to be some kind of superlatively written soap opera but it really is a lot more than that. Beside the fairly obvious themes of love, betrayal, fidelity and such there are more profound themes about the meaning of life, spirituality and human nature. Tolstoy's insight into human nature is remarkable, I was quite surprised how the characters' thought processes often closely reflect my own. The last chapter or so is practically all philosophical rumination, poor Anna herself does not even get a look in.

It is a complex and very interesting book, it did not resonate with me all that much on an emotional level but I am glad I have read it and I feel grateful for the ideas the author planted in my head which are still swirling around in there waiting to be processed. A proper review would be much longer than this and would take me all day to write, I'm a little short of time right now so I thought I'd just post this rather inadequate review for now.

Note on the audiobook:
I listened to the free public domain LibriVox version where they use a number of readers, some of them are hilariously awful, some are quite good, but one in particular, a Ms. MaryAnn Spiegel, is just wonderful, she has a clear, sweet, tinkly voice that reminds me of Suzanne Vega. I wish she had read the entire book.

Update 2 March 2015: MaryAnn Spiegel has released a solo reading of Anna Karenina. Download it today!

Many thanks to Camden for the tip!