Florence’s Book Club: Anna Karenina

Quite often, I end up reading books because they are coming out on film. I’m not too pedantic about which way round these things come, but it does spoil a book somewhat if I already know the ending. I often find too, that film trailers motivate me to read a book I would never have picked up. Even though I love classics, there’s no hard sell involved to point me in that direction so when I see the costumes and romance brought to life on film I’m a sucker for flipping open a dusty front cover.

‘There are as many Loves as there are Hearts’ – Leo Tolstoy

So this month’s book is Anna Karenina, a iconic character and incredibly romantic story, that is due to be released as a film (starring Kiera Knightley, who by now must be used to being strapped into a corset for most of her adult life, and Jude Law as her husband,) on September the 7th here in the UK.

For those of you yet to be convinced, I’ve included the trailer here. Watch it and gasp – at the sets, costumes and drama.

I’d love to hear from those of you who have read or perhaps even studied it… have you enjoyed it? Is it worth reading? Anybody going to join me?


PS – Please excuse the typos this morning – an old version got saved, pre-edit!

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17 thoughts on “Florence’s Book Club: Anna Karenina

  1. Warmth gave me Anna Karenina for Valentine’s Day very very early on in dating, he’d read it, I said I’d wanted to read it when we discussed books on date two. So, it shall always have a special place in our bookshelves. It did take time to read it but I loved it, & not just because of the circumstances. Thank you for the reminder of the film, we’ll definitely be going to see it.

  2. I have wanted to read this, I’m not normally big on classics but this and little women have been on my list for some time now, so I might just add it to my stack!

  3. OMG!!! I love Keira Knightley in pride and prejudice and balled my eyes out in Atonement will definatly be watching this how exciting x

  4. It’s a great novel (but I have to say that, I’m a Russian graduate!) but I am not best pleased by the fact that Kiera Knightley is playing Anna as I don’t think she’ll be able to do it justice. Sorry, but I’m not a fan.

  5. It is a magic book – I re-read it every couple of years and it is my husband’s favourite novel. Definitely definitely read it before you see the film, if you can, because it is wonderfully written and has an extraordinary scope and depth which I don’t think could be fully captured on screen. Also, I completely agree with Esme that, to my mind, Keira Knightley is categorically not Anna.
    Is important which translation you read though – maybe try the first couple of pages of several in bookshops before committing. Pevear and Volokhonsky are the popular ones (Oprah recommended…..) and I keep meaning to read theirs. I read R. Edmonds (used to be Penguin Classics) and enjoyed it though is an oddly personal thing so there are about to be others who disagree.

  6. I agree with the Keira knightley casting comments here. She’s not Anna Karenina! I loved the book and it’s the only Russian novel I’ve read.

    • Can’t comment on whether she fits the role really having not read it, but it wasn’t a surprise that she’s in the film… it seems like there’s a bit of a lack of imagination in the film world when it comes to period drama’s, certain actresses get stuck in those roles. We shall see.

  7. I haven’t read this, but have to say that the trailers for the Great Gatsby are making me really want to read it. Generally I like to read the book first (tend to enjoy them through my imagination more than in the film) so will have to get onto that sharpish.

    I also boycotted seeing Pride and Prejudice based on the fact that they’d cast Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth. It just wasn’t right in my eyes!


  8. This has been sitting on my reading pile for a while now so it’s about time I got round to reading it – thank you for the reminder! Doubt I’ll watch the film though as not a fan of Kiera Knightley at all!


  9. I’d be keen to join you Rebecca. Do let us know what translation you decide to read. The length is a bit offputting – I participated in a group read of War and Peace a few years ago and we made that managable by breaking it down into 100 page chunks that we read monthly over the course of a year. (Unfortunately I missed a month in the later part of the year and still haven’t finished the novel…)

  10. Have meant to read Anna Karenina for ever so clearly now would be a good time to start!! I agree with you Rebecca that Keira Knightley seems to do loads of period drama (and I loathed her in Pride and Prejudice, for me it’s all about the BBC adaptation with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth!) but am sure it’ll be interesting nonetheless.

  11. I’m reading it at the moment, and wondering why I never got around to it before – I think I was put off by the length, but Tolstoy writes so beautifully and simply it’s a joy to read, not dense or a struggle to get through at all.

    Having said all of that, the more I read, the less convinced I am about Keira Knightley as Anna, or Aaron Johnson as Vronsky….

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