Friday, March 21, 2014

Conversations with strangers in cafes (or reading the classics in public)

This year, I have been forming some new reading goals as I go. The #52books52weeks goal remains unchanged, but the desire to finally catch up on some never read classics has so far seen me pick up (and finish) George Elliot's Middlemarch and Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. 

For the past two weeks I have lugged this beautiful edition of Anna Karenina around with me, leading to some lovely conversations with strangers in caf├ęs. 

An Indian engineer - who I had previously shared nothing more than a polite smile and wave - confessed that he had begun but never completed a Tolstoy; an older (and wonderfully eccentric) woman told me she loves Tolstoy but had never picked up Anna Karenina (I suspect she might now); and a fellow mother, and ER physician, simply exclaimed at what a beautiful story it is.

I read Middlemarch on my ereader, and while it did not take away from the reading experience at all (I truly loved MM) I did not ever find myself in conversations with strangers.



  1. Hi Michelle,
    I started Anna Karenina last year for my bookclub and got about halfway through and absolutely loved it. It is one of my books goals this year to complete it. Actually I have a thing called Project Read I am trying to attempt this year. And reading your blog reminded me I have yet to blog about it AND am doing very poorly in actually completing the project! I must resolve that!
    I love that reading in public attracts strangers and strikes up conversations! Wonderful stuff!!!

  2. I need to know more about Project Read? Is it your own project or part of something bigger? And you must finish Anna K after making it to the halfway point! I am trying to decide if I dare attempt War and Peace. Also, which edition do you have because the Penguin one has been hailed as a brilliant translation.