A few days ago, I realized there isn’t a single likable character in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Konstantin Levin is a dull man, with his high principles regarding farming and marriage; with all his bitterness and unrealistic expectations, it’s no wonder he can’t find a wife. Read more »

I finally finished Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and every time I think about it, it makes me feel tired; the book is dense, with Tolstoy stringing out multiple storylines and introducing the most realistic cast characters I’ve ever come across. Read more »

From John Steinbeck’s East of Eden: Read more »

One of the things that’s always struck me about Franz Kafka is his way of mixing horror with humor. Read more »

I’m reading Robert Bolaño’s The Skating Rink and I find myself looking for characters from The Savage Detectives or 2666.I even skimmed the table of contents and epilogue of Nazi Literature in the Americas before realizing I was on the wrong track: Nazi Literature in the Americas is a parody of far-right politics, and the characters in The Skating Rink are, on the surface, socialists. Bolaño wouldn’t have included Gaspar Heredia, The Skating Rink’s sometime poet (and a stand-in for Bolaño himself), in his fictional list of right-wing hacks. Read more »

I’m taking Sarah’s long-standing dare by reading a Jodi Picoult novel–in this case, The Pact. And I’m finding–surprise!–it’s just as bad as I thought it would be. Read more »