In case you didn’t know, some of us are going to be reading through Anna Karenina in December. I’ve set up a Russian Lit Book Club at Thirdscribe and starting next month we will be reading through and talking about one of Tolstoy’s greatest novels. The interpretation and message of Anna Karenina has been horribly mangled and twisted by Western critics and by Hollywood, so we’ll read the book ourselves. Rather than being a romantic drama focusing on bad girl/rebel Anna who is under the thumb of a puritanical culture, the book soundly rejects Anna and her selfish and immoral philosophy and makes Levin the hero of the story. Tolstoy intended AK as a Christian conversion narrative for Levin, and as a plain display of the contrast between the decadence and decay of urban/westernized Russia, and the solidity and character of rural, traditional Russia. Anna Karenina was also loosely based on Tolstoy’s own experience as a narcissistic wastrel before he discovered the value and character of Agrarian society and culture.