Friday, January 4, 2013

The Classic Club's January Meme

What is the best book you've read so far for The Classics Club - and why?
My instant thought was Don Quixote by Cervantes.  It was the first book I read when I joined the Classics Club.  Full of mischief and amusement, the imposing Don Quixote and his naive sidekick Sancho Panza thoroughly entertained me on their travels through Spain during the Golden Age.

But then I thought of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  An intriguing story of a plain girl and her unlikely love affair with an unusual, mysterious gentleman, kept me wanting to know more until the very end.  And, it was a very happy ending.  

Then Anna Karenina* by Leo Tolstoy came to mind; and when I thought of the depth of this Russian novel, I had to admit that this is the best book I have read so far.

One condition to a good story for me is a convincing quality.  Tolstoy is brilliant in his description of human behavior.  He knows how to present his characters in a way that makes them appear genuine, familiar, and credible.  

For example, Levin, my favorite character, in all his frustrations and shortcomings, is truly likable and explicable.  And even Anna, though complicated and troubled, is pitied because of the justice given by Tolstoy's manifestation of her.    

The different conditions of the developing relationships between the characters is especially intriguing because the reader can witness associations start, bloom, grow, mature, break down, or terminate.  Tolstoy demonstrates a full range of emotions and situations within the numerous relationships in AK; and it is never dull.

While I look forward to re-reading all three of the aforementioned titles, AK is an extremely serious, mature, and important novel about the human condition and human emotions with a tinge of sarcasm and wit woven throughout.  I enjoyed it immensely.   

* Clicking on the title Anna Karenina will pull up all the posts written for this book, including this post.  Just scroll down for final inquiries.


o said...

I want to re-read Anna Karenina at some point - I don't think I was ready at the time, and it was frankly a bit of a disaster. I did like Levin, though.

Fanda Classiclit said...

I haven't read all the three, but Don Quixote is the most intriguing for me. Till now I still don't have any intention to read Anna Karenina, maybe I'll change my mind after reading War and Peace this year.

Ruth said...

I have a feeling, Fanda, you would like Anna Karenina.

Ruth said...

I think that has a lot to do with getting through a book. We have to be in the right mindset. But, however, sometimes some books will never work with us no matter what we try. I do hope that if you give it a second chance that you do end up enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

I plan to finish Anna Karenina this year, I've already read half-part of this book in early 2012 but I gave up. Reading your writing made me want to finish it ASAP :P

Ruth said...

That's great! I look forward to reading your review. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, although some of the parts on agriculture I thought were arduous. Nonetheless, overall, it is one of my favorites. Good luck!

Adriana@ClassicalQuest said...

I agree. AK is my favorite so far too.

Reading Pleasure said...

Wonderful post. Anna Karenina and Jane Eyre are on my list though the latter is a re-read. I really am looking forward to reading Anna becasue of all the raves I have read about the novel