Monday, April 13, 2009

Just read: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I'm so glad. I was beginning to think that I'd never finish reading the book. Took me a good 3.5 months! And it was an interesting read - almost trivial if it weren't for the philosophical inserts. The book was written in 1877 but there are so many feelings, thoughts and actions that still hold true until today, that is, 130 so years since.

Allow me to share a few parts:

On marriage -
Only then did he understand clearly for the first time what he had not understood... He understood not only that she was close to him, but that he no longer knew where she ended and he began... he felt like a man who, having suddenly received a violent blow from behind, turns with vexation in a desire for revenge to find out who did it, and realizes that he has accidentally struck himself, that there is no one to be angry with and he must endure and ease the pain. -Part 5, XIV

On living for something -
...the innkeeper lives for his belly. That is clear and reasonable. None of us, as reasonable beings, can live otherwise...And suddenly the same (Fyodor) says it's bad to live for the belly and that one should live for the truth, for God, and I understand him...! And I and millions of people who lived ages ago and are living now...the poor in spirit and the wise men who have thought and written about it...- we're all agreed on this one thing: what we should live for and what is good. - Part 8, XII *emphases mine

At first, especially during the first few chapters, I was wondering why Leo Tolstoy is considered to be such a great writer. It is only after I finished reading the book that I understood. In the same way, perhaps, it is only after we finish our own books that we will understand :) For now, maybe it's enough not to understand but to agree on what we should live for and what is good.