ANNA read-a-long: Part 8

I can't believe I have finished reading Anna Karenina!  I bought my copy in 2005-06 to bring on vacation and read the first two parts - then I read somewhere that the book was published as seperate novels with over a year between books.  This gave me an excuse to try reading it like readers would have but it failed. 

I'm surprised with part 8, we spend very little time with Anna.  Much less than I expected.  Tolstoy really enjoyed writing Levin - I would be interested to know if there is a personal connection to Levin's character.

If you haven't read Anna yet, please read it!  It's a wonderful story, filled with society, Russian life, relationships, depression and so much more.
We are using Oprah's discussion guide to help facilitate the dialog. The recap below is from her website.

Part Eight: The End: A New Beginning

ANNA read-a-long: Part 7

I'm getting sad thinking that my time with Anna is coming to an end.  It's hard to believe my original post is dated back to January 2010.  I'm happy with how we have been reading Anna though - it's important to allow for time between each section (remember Tolstoy published each part seperately, this let's us read the book close to how it was read as a new release). 

We find ourselves spending quite a bit of time with the men in the novel again in part 7.  I know this novel was written for men and women but I enjoy the women the farther I get in the book.  I do read the synopsis before reading each section - this seems to help me focus on the key elements to the story.  Having read the synopsis below before reading the section I knew a baby would enter the world and Anna would die in part 7.  I'm surprised Anna dies with so many pages remaining to the end of the story.

We are using Oprah's discussion guide to help facilitate the dialog. the recap below is from her website.

Part Seven: Death Rumbles By

ANNA read-a-long: Part 6

Thank goodness for audio books!  I have been reading Anna but listened to part six so I could keep on schedule with the read-a-long.

Kristi (PeatSwea) and I are almost done with Anna, I can't wait to see what's going to happen.

Part six is titled 'When Hope Lives'.  We are learning more about the characters but nothing explosive happens to move the plot forward (it's just keeping a good pace).  In the beginning of this section there was a lot of time spent with the men, on a hunt. To be honest, this part didn't keep my interest and I was wondering if it was necessary to the story.  Looking back I'm happy it's there, we did get to experience the day to day life in this section.

Those who know the couple understand why Anna fell in love and most are sympathetic to the situation but are guiding her to takes the necessary steps towards divorce and continue living where she is currently living (away from society).

By the end of part six you get the sense that change is coming.  Anna and Vronsky are living a married lifestyle, even though she is not divorced yet.  Vronsky discusses how his child bears Karenin's last name and this is a terrible misfortune.  Anna does share a secret, the illness she has recovered from has left her barren. In addition to this news, Anna is starting to really understand the consequences to actions earlier in the story.

ANNA read-a-long: Part 5

I had to force myself to stop reading when I finished part 5 and not continue reading part 6 - this book is getting so good!  I know we are getting close to the climax and then the storyline/subplots will move quickly to the end. 

I have heard from a few of you who are stuck in part 3.  I can tell you to push through part 3 which is focused on agriculture, and is the toughest section to read. I can't decide if I liked part 4 or part 5 more!

Part five focuses on Kitty and Levin but we also get to see Anna having to deal with the ramifications of decisions she has made.  For example, she visits her young son on his birthday (in secret).  She can't believe how big he is getting and spends time reminiscing and looking at photos she has not yet seen.  When Vronsky is looking at the photos Anna gets upset, feeling that boundaries are crossed or that he doesn't understand.  He tells her this is very hard on him as well,  they are both miserable.

We are using Oprah's discussion guide to help facilitate the dialog. the recap below is from her website.

Part Five: Love rushes in

ANNA Read-a-long: Part 4

Well we are officially half way through Anna Karenina.  Part four is less than 100 pages, it was a quick read and the plot is really starting to move at a good pace.  I usually put the book down for a few weeks but before starting the next part but I'm not sure I will be able to - I just need to know what happens next!

We are using Oprah's discussion guide to help facilitate the dialog. the recap below is from her website. 

Part Four: Marriage and Divorce Laws

Many contemporary readers picking up Anna Karenina for the first time ask a very logical question after the consummation of Anna and Vronsky's affair: Why don't Anna and Karenin simply divorce? It would seem to solve many of the messiest issues for the three lovers in this triangle. Though that may seem to "solve" the problem, when thinking it through, the truth is that divorce in Tolstoy's Russia produced another set of complications potentially more devastating. All legal issues aside, Karenin and Anna feel the sacredness of their union in their own ways. This is part of the reason for Anna's extreme guilt and Karenin's extreme confusion.

ANNA Read-a-long: Part 3

Several of the Manic Mommies are reading Anna Karenina as our 2010 classic read… you need to be committed to read this one (800+ pages)! We are using the Oprah discussion guide to facilitate the discussion. 

I finished reading part 3 last week and I am really enjoying it. I’m pleasantly surprised that this novel is so interesting and keeping my interest piqued. I didn’t expect anything less but I keep hearing people start Anna but do not finish it. I can’t wait to start reading part four, I need to know what happens next!

Since we didn’t get to fully discuss part two, let’s review parts 1-3 and then I have a few questions for you (if you are reading along with me or have read the novel and want to join in the discussion).

Part 1 (The Family Sphere):  The story starts with Oblonsky confessing that he had an affair to Dolly and we learn about life in Russia along with a little about each character. For me, the story really took off when at the train station, just before Anna arrives in Moscow.

ANNA read-a-long: Part 2

I read somewhere that Anna Karenina was published in eight parts over several years. Readers read this story over a long period of time (more like a series than one large novel). This is why I started Anna Karenina a few years ago and never finished it – I decided to read it in similar fashion and only made it through parts one and two. I’m really enjoying reading this with everyone and keeping myself on task. Reading a section every 3-4 weeks lets me sneak Anna into my schedule. I must confess that I am reading Anna feverously, finishing part 2 in just a few days. For some reason this gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Part 2 recap provided by Oprah.com:

Anna Karenina is steeped in infidelity from its first page—the Oblonsky family struggle to overcome Stiva's selfish act of marital betrayal provides a powerful framework for everything that follows. Yet it is Stiva's sister Anna's grand passion for the dashing Count Vronsky that gives readers the deepest and most realized exploration of adultery and sexuality the novel has to offer. As we progress through Part Two, the lovers' magnetic personalities grow exponentially as their love affair goes from an all-consuming idea to a fully realized reflection of sexual desire, expression and treachery.

ANNA read-a-long: Part 1

I finished reading part 1 of Anna Karenina over the weekend.  I have read parts one and two, I had forgotten how enjoyable the second half of part 1 was to read.

Have you been reading with us? I know life gets in the way so don’t fret if you are feeling behind already.  You can always catch up, this is the beauty of an online discussion.

In my original post I mentioned we should use the Penguin discussion guides to facilitate our discussion but I have changed my mind. Last week I was searching ‘all things’ ANNA and landed on Oprah’s website which has more than anyone can read about the novel, characters, discussions etc… With so many having read Anna Karenina with Oprah it’s only fitting that we use her website for reference and to guide our discussion.

How to participate: I will summarize each section in quick form and provide some discussion questions for everyone to answer. Feel free to answer all questions, just one/two or simply leave a comment about your reading experience. I understand life can get in the way and answering all of the questions can be time consuming for some but others will thrive on answering every question. The goal of the read along is to finish the book!

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