I never thought I would see this day, but last Wednesday I finally did it. I turned the last page on Anna Karenina – a VERY LONG book! I’m not sure why I’ve always wanted to read this book, though I can tell you it’s not because Keira Knightley decided to play the role. It has been on my to-read list long before that. In fact, my sister gave it to me for Christmas at least 5 years ago hoping that having my own copy would make it easier, but by the time I finally decided to crack it open, the kindle had come out and a small digital device was much easier to carry around than an 800+ page book. So that’s how I finished it – click by click, watching the percentage increase ever so slowly until it reached 100%.
Adding the book to my 30 before 30 list was a visual encouragement to get it done while I’m young with fewer responsibilities than I will have when we have a family. I hope that I will always make the time to read, I just imagine that books of this size will not be as practical. Anytime I cross something off a list is a good feeling (I’m a little obsessive about my lists), but when I closed this book for the last time, I’ll be honest and say that I kind of questioned why it had made the list in the first place. I know you Tolstoy-lovers probably disagree with me, but this book did nothing to move me or make me think about life. To me, a good book stays with me and is present in my thoughts for days, weeks and months after I’ve finished it. I don’t see myself remembering much about Anna Karenina, the characters, the plot-line or the writing. It was my first Tolstoy and I’m glad to have been exposed to such a classic author, but I don’t know that I’m very encourage to read anything else of his.
I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson, aside from learning that Tolstoy is not my favorite author, and that is that I should read books that I’m interested in reading. Sure, I will continue to read the classics and other pieces that will expand my mind, but life is short. If something is not to my enjoyment, I don’t have to finish it. There will be no assignment waiting for me or penalty for not crossing a book off my to-read list. I make the list, therefore I make the rules.
What do you think? Do you ever stop reading a book because you’re not enjoying it? Or do you always finish what you started reading? Am I crazy to have not enjoyed Anna Karenina?