Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Genre: Classics
Secondary genre: romance/drama
Format: audio
CW: infidelity, antisemitism, suicidal ideation, suicide, emotional and financial abuse
Rating: planchet-4

**This review contains spoilers**

Are you in the mood for a surprisingly modern classic novel that weighs roughly the same as a small child? Then have I got a book for you!

All joking aside, even on audio this book took me a good long time to work through. I had to start out with the narration on a slower (for me) speed (1.4x) while I adjusted to the Russian naming conventions (Russian names are weird. Familiarize yourself before you start reading Russian lit or you will be very confused as every has 3-4 names). About a third of the way through I was able to up it to my usual 1.8x.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this this book. Infidelity is one of my hot button issues; I will frequently DNF a book if it comes up. It drives me crazy for reasons I won’t get into here. But, despite being written by a white dude in the 1870s, it was refreshingly feminist (Spoiler: the feminism ends abruptly when Anna commits suicide because she can’t stand being scorned, separated from her son, or the fear of her paramour leaving her). Though society maligns our titular character for carrying on an affair and leaving her husband, the author questions why Anna is an outcast in society while her brother, who is a serial cheater and ends up abandoning his wife, is still welcome in all the best drawing rooms in St. Petersburg, leaving her to the mercy of her sister and brother-in-law.

At one point, there’s even a really great conversation about the working rights of women and if they should be allowed to own property, hold public office, or even vote. While the conversation ends on a sour note, I was surprised to hear the pro arguments presented by male characters in a novel from this time period.

There are also great arguments–both for and against–communism, education, religion, and the meaning of life.

I’ve never read any Russian literature before, but I did really enjoy Tolstoy’s writing (okay, it was in translation, but still. Really good), and I’m planning to listen to War and Peace over Christmas break.

6 Book Vloggers You Should Watch

Books with Chloe

This Aussie booktuber is an absolute delight, and probably the reason I started this blog in the first place. I stumbled on her channel a few weeks ago and dove head first into her reading vlogs. She’s been gently prodding (ahem. Coercing) her sister and boyfriend to read by picking TBRs for them. I also love her random dance parties.

This Story Ain’t Over

Every time I watch one of Jananie’s videos I add at least 2-3 books to my TBR. She reads a lot of very diverse stories that I never see talked about in other parts of Booktube, so if you’re looking for something different, definitely check her out.

Read by Zoe

Zoe has been a mainstay in my youtube subscriptions for years. She’s so silly, cute, and enthusiastic–but also honest about her struggles with mental health. I especially love her readathon blogs.

Brittany the Bibiophile

Brittany is a relatively new addition to my youtube, but I’ve been enjoying her vlogs quite a bit. A psych major, she examines her books a little differently than most of the other readers I’ve seen.

A Book Utopia

Ah, Sasha. Sasha Alsberg is somewhat infamous in the booktube community since she started publishing. I confess, I like her a lot better as a reader than a writer. But I do enjoy her vlogs and her booktube videos. I probably won’t be taking any of her writing advice, though….

Katytastic

Kat is the reason I got into Booktube in the first place. Goofy, awkward in the best way, and funny she reads primarily YA and sparked my interest in a lot of new books I’d never heard of when I first started watching. She’s also a writer (as yet unpublished), and while we have vastly different methods of working, I still enjoy listening to her talk about her work. Her non-book related content is also very, very funny.