I’m not sure if it actually took me a year to read Anna Karenina. It do know that it took a really freaking long time. I read approximately one chapter per day (usually 3 to 5 pages) most days for several months.
I began reading the book when I told my associate pastor, Nic Gibson, that my wife and I were having a baby. He suggested that I read the scene in Anna Karenina where Levin and Kitty’s child was born. He said that it was the most realistic portrayal of childbirth he had ever read. Rather than do a quick google search to find where in the book this scene took place, I took it upon myself to read the book until I found the scene.
It was at least 6 months before I came across said chapters… two months after Judah was born. The childbirth scene in Anna Karenina happened about ¾ of the way through the 923 pages of the edition that I was reading. Since I had to read so much to get to that point, I decided that I may as well finish the book.
I don’t read a whole lot of legitimate literature, so I can’t comment on the quality of the novel with any real authority. I do know, however, that it was probably the most engaged that I have ever been in a story. I agree with Nic that the childbirth scene was remarkably lifelike. I would take it further and say that most of the scenarios that the book described were beautifully realistic in their explanations.
I have never seen the pain of infidelity or the frustration of questioning God portrayed as vividly and eloquently as Leo Tolstoy did.
Anna Karenina is the longest book that I have fully read. If you are keeping track of page numbers, that means that I still need to read the Bible…