A very Happy New Year to everyone. And what fun to be able to kick off our 2022 Six Degrees adventure on the very first day of the year.
Hosted by Kate, this is a monthly meme where participants all start with the same book and choose six more linked titles. It’s always fascinating to see how the different chains take shape.
We start this time with a book which fittingly opens on New Year’s Eve: Amor Towels’ Rules of Civility. I haven’t read this yet, but have heard people absolutely raving about it, so will check it out some time.
Happy New Year everyone! I send you my warmest wishes for every happiness in 2022.
For many, like me, one sure route to happiness is through reading. As I have discussed previously on this blog, I gained a huge amount of pleasure in 2021 from reading great works of literature a few pages a day, with the result that I was able to get through books that had seemed too formidable previously. This time last year, I was embarking on a daily read Dante’s The Divine Comedy. I went on to read Quo Vadis, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and David Copperfield in the same way. And of course I also hosted the #KaramazovReadalong with my dear friends Becky, and Elisabeth. What a stupendous project that was. I was delighted to find an accessible way to read all these classics.
And so, for 2022, Becky, Elisabeth and I are back with another Readalong adventure. This year, from 5 January to 31 December, we’ll be reading Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace. This has 361 chapters, each only a couple of pages long. So once again, we’ll be taking it day by day and gaining all the benefits of community reading along the way.
From July 27 to 30 October this year, I had the great pleasure of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky by reading The Brothers Karamazov via the #KaramazovReadalong hosted jointly with Becky and Elisabeth. Joining in with us were many other friends who took the opportunity to read, or re-read, one of the great works of world literature.
It was an amazing experience. I am quite sure that I would not have got through the book without such a marvellous community of readers to hold hands with. Not that it is difficult to read, far from it. But there is something about such a large book which seems daunting and off-putting. This is why my copy sat sadly unread on my shelf for many years. But the camaraderie, the posting of daily quotes, the discussions about different translations, all contributed to a shared project which was a joy to be part of. I send a huge bundle of thanks to everyone who participated.
“Everything is like an ocean, everything flows and intermingles, you have only to touch it in one place and it will reverberate in another part of the world.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Karamazov Brothers (tr Avsey)
When I launched the #KaramazovReadlong a few weeks ago with my dear friends Becky and Elisabeth, the start date of 27 July seemed very distant. And yet, all of a sudden, here we are with just a few days to go before we start reading together.
The idea for this reading project came after I completed a readalong for Dante’s The Divine Comedy. I never expected to be able to read that book all the way through, and it inspired me to think about reading Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, another long book which has always seemed too intimidating to even start.
It has been wonderful to see all the positive messages about the Karamazov Readalong, and to have so many people saying that they plan to join in. It’s going to be quite a party! For anyone still in doubt about whether this is for them, I thought I would share a few thoughts and reflections from my Dante experience which might help with tackling The Brothers Karamazov: