The internet is a twitter or abuzz, I should say, about the fact that Anne Romney listed Anna Karenina as a book worth reading on the social media site, Pinterest. Since sex and women’s reproductive rights are becoming a wedge issue this year, all of political cyberspace is asking what is Anne Romney really saying? I could be missing something but it seems to me that Anne Romney is saying Anna Karenina is a good book. And that Tolstoy is a brilliant novelist. Hardly a unique opinion and certainly not earth shattering stuff although I must admit I am happy to know that the future first lady and I share a love of that novel!
Consider what Oprah had to say about the book, “It’s Not As Foreign As You Think.” Of all the Russian novels written during the 19th-century, Anna Karenina is perhaps the most taught in college literature courses. Even so, over the years it has grown in stature to nearly mythical proportions as one of the most challenging novels to read. To give Tolstoy credit, this is a complicated, rich story with many layers and much to digest. However, it is also a lot of fun. The characters are well realized and in most cases very approachable. Their experiences, from Stiva’s infidelity to Levin’s firstborn child, are not so far from our modern-day understanding of life and the world. Tolstoy’s prose is generous, giving its reader many ways to interpret it and a lot to consider. Once you’ve finished Anna Karenina, you’ll not only be proud of your accomplishment, but also realize how rewarding a great summer read like this can be! As Oprah says: “Don’t be scared. We will do this together.”
Did anyone question Oprah’s commitment to Steadman Graham when she listed it as a worthwhile novel?