The beginning of fall color and the end of Anna Karenina

by Oak Hill Studio

I took this photo during my morning walk today even though I had to take a break right in the middle of my routine.  I really don’t like to break my pace,but whenever I see beauty like this, I can’t resist running for the camera!    

It was a rather bittersweet morning walk as I listened to the last chapters of Anna Karenina, bringing an end to a summer long reading/listening project.  Like other books that take me a few months to get through, I have grown attached to the characters and feel pretty immersed in their lives at this point.  I will admit that a few days ago as I was finishing up Book 7 (there are 8 “books” total), I was beginning to think that Tolstoy had dragged things out a bit.  But by the third or fourth chapter of Book 8, I couldn’t put the book down.  (I did a mix of listening to a recording while walking, and reading at other times.  It works out well if I need to reread a section or if I just want to continue the story without putting headphones on and becoming deaf to my family!)

Although at times it felt like I was reading a modern romance novel, it became apparent pretty quickly that there was so much more, really good content packed into the 950 pages of this Tolstoy treasure.  It was my second Russian novel within the year and so some of the Russian “scenery” felt familiar.   The ruling elite class juxtaposed against the working class was interesting to me.  And I especially enjoyed getting to know Levin, the “simple”  country farmer who had such depth of character and insight.  I felt drawn to the rich agrarian countryside where he worked side by side with the colorful peasants.  Of course,  Anna carried much of the storyline, and I couldn’t help but think about the subtle lure of sin and its enormous consequences.  How helpful it might be if every young person would read and contemplate this book prior to taking marriage vows.

But my favorite part was right near the end, and I won’t spoil it in case some of you have not read AK.  It has, however, to do with some deep spiritual insights that Levin came to grasp which really struck a chord with me.


So, what’s next on the listening/reading list?  I’m thinking I might just stick with the Russian novel theme and switch back over to Dostoyevsky.  Crime and Punishment is on librovox’s list.  Maybe I could finish by Thanksgiving or Christmas?  I think I will take a break though and let Anna Karenina settle a bit.  It seems a shame to just quickly move on and forget those little gems that are still sparkling in my mind.  For now, I might just listen to some Josh Garrels during my walk and let his music provide some backdrop to my thoughts.