Anna Arkadyevna Karenina

When I was reading Anna Karenina, I pretty much took it with me everywhere on the off-chance that I’d have time to read a bit more. Yes, it took a long time to finish, but just think how much longer it would’ve taken if I hadn’t taken it everywhere – I might still be reading it now.

The people I work with know that I always have a book in my bag/locker, and the other bookish people at work know that I’m always reading one book or another, as are they. During the course of reading AK, I talked to a few of these colleagues about it. I think only two others had read & finished it before and, while they both liked the book, neither of them liked Anna’s character.  Continue reading


and so it ends

This was just going to be a short post to say that I have, on this day, finished reading Anna Karenina (by Leo Tolstoy, not that I really need to state that), but, as it turns out, I’m not very good at writing short posts (surprise, surprise). Still, I’ll try to keep this kind of short, or at least not terribly long. (It’s less than 700 words – does that count?)

No spoilers here – just some general comments, and quotes from other sources.

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and so it begins

I just started reading Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. It’s been about two weeks, and I’ve just finished Part One. I honestly don’t know what the whole story’s about (that’s my preferred way to read classics – or any book, really – I never really extensively research about the storyline, themes, characters, etc beforehand) so I’m just talking about Part One here.  Continue reading

Jane Eyre

Alright, I’m going to attempt to write about this book without making it sound too much like some grade 10 English assignment deconstructing a classic novel. Please be warned that this post does contain spoilers. Please also be warned that you quite possibly won’t enjoy reading this post if you haven’t read Jane Eyre.

Also, these are mostly just my random thoughts on the book. I’m not going to make a recommendation to read or not read it because I feel like Jane Eyre is one of those books that you kind of instinctively know you’re going to like/dislike, even without knowing a lot about the story, etc. But, then again, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it wasn’t presented to me, so who knows…

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beautifully tragic

One or two weeks ago, I got a song stuck in my head. Well, not so much a song, but a fragment of it; and when I say “fragment”, I mean the tiniest fragment. All I knew was that fragment – a sort of “mmm-Mm” humming sound, which I couldn’t even Google, as I would for other song lyrics – and that it was by Rudimental, as I remembered hearing it at their concert.

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out of the fog

Over the week-end I finished reading Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This is a novel that I’ve wanted to read since I can’t remember when, but it’s always just been on the TBR list somewhere, and not at the top. However, when it was recommended (and lent) to me by a friend from work who has a particular interest in psychiatry, I pretty much ignored my reading plan for the remainder of the year and bumped it up to the top of the queue.

And when she told me there were a few drug references and the like, I was even more eager to read it. I’m a bit of a pharmacy nerd like that – I like novels/movies with factually correct drug references. Plus, I reckon psychiatry is an interesting field – and this is about psychiatry in the 1960s! (Despite forgetting the majority of what I learnt in high school History, I still have some interest in the subject in general. Gotta learn from the past and all that, right?)

I’m guessing most people are familiar with the story – quite a few people who have seen me carrying the book around have commented about having also read it, or having watched the film – so I won’t summarise it here (I realise that I hardly ever do that, anyway, even if the book I’m writing about is a bit more obscure).

From the very first chapter, I knew this wasn’t like anything I’d ever read before. I feel like I say that about every second book I read, so maybe that’s a good indication of the broad variety of books I’m reading…? Maybe I should try to read more books that are similar to the ones I like…?

Cuckoo’s Nest is narrated from the perspective of one of the patients, “Chief Bromden”, and sometimes it takes a while to realise whether he’s describing something that’s actually happening, or if it’s just in his head. For example, near the start somewhere, Bromden talks about this fog machine that the hospital ward uses to, well, make a fog that blocks out his vision, etc. At first, I thought this was “real”, but I soon realised that it wasn’t really real… And same goes for the noises he hears in the wall – all the things that make him paranoid. Or maybe it was all real!? Either way, I thought it was all really fascinating.

Something else that made Cuckoo’s Nest a bit different was the inclusion of sketches of various characters. It makes for a nice change. But I was a little bit disappointed that they were fewer and further between, the further in to the book you got. But it must’ve been alright because I didn’t really notice the lack of sketches in the later parts, and pretty much only realised after finishing the book.

There were some really good quotes and insightful life lessons/observations throughout the novel, and I would include some here, but I’ve returned the book already. You should probably just go read it for yourself. One that I can kind of remember (because I was re-reading it a bit on my way to return it) goes something along the lines of “It’s the truth, even if it didn’t happen”.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s not something that everyone would enjoy reading, but it’s certainly a worthwhile read if you have even just a vague interest in psychiatry and the minds of others. It’s truly, truly fascinating. Almost makes me question my own thoughts, perceptions and reactions.