Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anna Karenina or, Hipster Classics But I Don't Care.

I have am issue with buying books. As in I have to buy them constantly and then I keep them until I read them, even if that takes years and years.  Bloomington has a fabulous bookstore called Boxcar Books, and my friends and I go there of a boring afternoon, when there is nothing else to do and classes are over.  Since I'm in Bloomington, and therefore nowhere near my own personal library, I have to restrain myself from buying everything I see.  One particular day, though, I hadn't bought anything for a few months, and, delightfully, Boxcar is a good place to find cheap books.

I decided to be intellectual that day, and so I bought just two books, Anna Karenina and Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut.  I commented that it probably meant I was turning into a hipster, but I was strangely not concerned by this.  MY friends proceeded to call me a loser. It's probably true.

I decided to read Cat's Cradle first.  It was shorter (Cat's Cradle, 200 pages; Karenina, 700+), and I had heard phenomenal things about Vonnegut.  It's basically an end-of-the-world novel, satirical and serious at the same time. An amusing side note: a lot of the characters are Hoosiers (random side note: most of the characters in The Great Gatsby are from Louisville).  Vonnegut was immediately thrust into the spotlight that is My Favorite Authors, and I had to remind myself that I am poor in order to not go back to Boxcar and buy all of his books.

And then I tried Anna Karenina.  My copy has been graced by graffiti, someone having changed 'Anna' to 'Banana,' which is stupid and hilarious all at once.  I read it for about an hour, and I liked it.  It's smart and Russian and interesting to me.  The only problem was, I was having issues connecting to it.  I like to feel a connection to the books I read, and it was just not happening with this book. I chalk it up to too much literary accomplishment in one setting, but you can call it what you will.

So, instead of  reading Anna Karenina, a fabulously classic tale, I am reading Jim Butcher's White Night, about an angsty wizard trying to save Chicago and Brian Jacques' Martin the Warrior, about talking animals.

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