Thursday, August 11, 2011

My NDP Reads

I'm confused. I know I said earlier that my blog posts would probably decrease, but then it increased again. But today, I read this article on how quality, not consistency is what is important, which has me seriously reconsidering how often should I write. The problem is that I want people to be aware of the books I read, and to read/avoid them (basically, I'm sharing), but sometimes, I don't have much to say about the book. So... what should I do? I don't want to make this into an emo-portlet, where you have to suffer through my life-story before seeing a book review. As always, I'm indecisive so this will probably end on the back burner.

To go back to point, Singapore just celebrated it's 46th birthday *shoutandflourish*. As per tradition, I borrowed some Classic Russian books to read on National Day. I'm not sure why, but when my aunt started booking a hotel room every year to watch the parade, it somehow became a habit to read a Russian writer that day. I believe that first year, I read Anna Karenina and fell in love with Tolstoy's writing. Apart from last year, where I was in China, I've been able to do the same. This year, I read two books: Notes from the Underground and The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Ressurection by Leo Tolstoy.

I'm not sure why I persist in reading Dostoyevsky, because every time I read him, I never fully understand the book. Somehow, I get lost reading him. This collection (of two) is the same. I did understand Notes from the Underground more, which had a really interesting premise, but that may have been because I read that first. Notes from the Underground has for a protagonist this guy that appears thoroughly unlikeable. Sometimes like how I feel, so I suppose since I can relate...

On the other hand, The Double was a little more complicated. I understood the premise, but after that, I got very confused. It took a lot for me to finish the book, and I did it with a feeling of confusion. I completely didn't understand what happen. I did read the this is his juvenalia, which may explain why it's a little harder to understand than the others.

Ressurection, which is Tolstoy's last great novel, was quite different from his others in that it focused quite a lot on the 'lower classes'. It's actually so long, the end of the book has chapter summaries, where they summarise each chapter with a sentence so that you can understand the novel in it's entirety.

The story is quite simple, a noble man tries to find redemption by 'saving' a woman that he previously disgraced. During it's course, you can see Tolstoy's thoughts on serfdom and such. The ending, is a little, disappointing. I didn't expect what happened (romance-wise that is). But I wouldn't skip reading the book just because of this.

So, if you feel like reading something 'meaty' read Tolstoy! His writing, to me, is clear and very readable. (But start with Anna Karenina).

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