Don’t Wanna Be A 19th Century Russian Idiot
The Idiot is #861 on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
First things first. I know that I never post regularly, but this time I have an excuse. An adorable excuse!
With my first son, I didn’t read one word (other than baby books, which, yuck, that’s a whole other post) from about eight months pregnant to six months post partum. I also suffered from a severe case of mom brain. I used to think the whole baby brain/mom brain concept was sexist, but having experienced it, I can say that it’s true – pregnancy and child birth makes you dumber. That’s why I was so determined to reach 100 books, and to make #100 a doozy, before baby #2. I was afraid that this time, it would be worse. I might never read from the list again. I might have to start reading chick lit. Or The Hunger Games. Or 50 Shades of Grey. *shudder*
After triumphing over The Magic Mountain, I put the list aside, and ended up reading some great books (Half Blood Blues, Slammerkin, The Lover’s Dictionary) and some so-so books (The Virgin Cure, The Happiness Hypothesis, Juliet Naked, The Help). (Psst: Hover over titles for mini-reviews.) All this while in the end stages of pregnancy or with a very demanding newborn. And all thanks to TECHNOLOGY!
And I don’t even like my Kobo. The buttons are clunky, it’s slow to load, it’s a base model with no wireless and no touchscreen, and the free books don’t work. It doesn’t have the look and feel and smell of a real book. It makes Jonathan Frazen cranky. BUT I CAN READ WITH ONE HAND. And that has made all the difference in the world.
There is NO WAY I would be reading a heavy, thick book like Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot in traditional form. The only time I get “to myself” is while nursing (if you classify having another human being attached to you as time to yourself) and now I can read!
Until I started The Idiot, I was pretty smug about the mom brain thing – not this time, reading will keep my mind sharp. But the Russian names and complex plotting and character development are throwing me a bit. I’m having a hard time keeping the characters and their motivations straight. So now, I’ve got my Kobo in one hand, and SparkNotes on my phone so I can refer to the character list and read plot summaries. I’m not proud that I need this much help, but, I’m working on the list… on very limited sleep… and feeling pretty good about it.
I need to finish before I can fully comment, but, I’m finding similar themes as in The Magic Mountain – a naive young man meets and unconventional woman; corruption through drinking and disease; you know, light stuff. But more important that the ins and outs of this book – I won’t be an “idiot” on this maternity leave. I’m excited to get through even more great books in between Curious George and Little Critter’s adventures.
“A fool with a heart and no sense is just as unhappy as a fool with sense and no heart.”
I remember needing to create my own character list when I read “Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch” in high school – I don’t think you should blame mommy brain, I think you should blame Russians.
I remember needing to create my own character list when I read “Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch” in high school. I don’t think you should blame mommy-brain, I think you should blame the Russians.
Darn Russians! I hate that they all nave nicknames, and their nicknames do not resemble their real names. And what does almost everyone have a first name that starts with A?!
uh they do resemble their proper names. For instance Alexei becomes alyosha.. with Al the same and yosha the diminuative.
It’s the ones that don’t start with the same letter that throw me off. “Kolya” for Nikolai, for example. I understand how they get there, the “kol” is the same, but my brain isn’t used to these names so it’s tough!
Add War & Peace to the list of books that need character lists and plot summaries!
I`ll have to cross that bridge one day… it`s a must read I`m sure… do they still sell those yellow and black Coles Notes? They must. And I must obtain them 🙂
y dont u just have ur art spoonfed to u?
Well that would be easier. But then I wouldn’t have any bragging rights for finishing the books, right? 🙂
I don’t think it’s mom brain that makes you need notes for Dostovevsky.
Thank you 🙂 I didn`t have much trouble with Anna Karenina, so I thought this would be okay. I`m finding it a much tougher read.
I have apparently read The Idiot and it is on the list of 100 and the larger list too. I had it on my bookshelf and thought it was unread until I looked through it and saw the entire thing highlighted with quotes. I will do a review of it when we get to it on the list of 100 but until then good on you for reading it with a newborn! I too have a base model kobo and am highly irritated due to the lack of highlighting function. In terms of the older books on the list though it has saved me a fortune so I can’t hate it too much!
Huh, I looked it up on the Novel 100 and it wasn`t there. Or I`m just not seeing it.
My free books never worked… I went through customer service and everything, reset, etc. and just gave up! But I think the edition of The Idiot I got is a better translation anyway 🙂
hmm…I loved Juliet Naked – but I heart Nick Hornby so I may have a bias…D-sky is a little too ambitious for my mommy brain right now, I can’t even be bothered to spell it out… (!) PS Henry is a cutie pie. 🙂
9999 The do the trick you’ve got achieved has gotten you this considerably. These station reproduction purses are usually the clone with the genuine good-looking channel totes.
louis vuitton black friday sale http://www.clubshad.com/louis-vuitton-black-friday-sale-c-2.html
Heey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with myy myspace group?
There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.
Please let mee know. Manny thanks