Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jerry Springer has nothing on Dostoevsky.

So I stay at home with my kids. That doesn't mean, however, that I watch a lot of daytime television. We actually keep the TV off most of the time. My kids aren't too interested in it and we find other fun stuff to do.

I remember being in high school and college, though, and LOVING those trashy midday talk shows. Maury always had some baby mamas on who wanted to figure out who the father of their babies was. And Jerry Springer had so much drama. Parents and children dating the same man or woman. And it always wound up in these huge fights. It made for some entertaining television. I can tell you now that Dostoevsky would have really liked those shows, too. The Brothers Karamazov has it all.  (And about 1200 pages too!)

The brothers Karamazov are these 3 brothers, from 2 different mamas. The oldest one, Dmitri, decides to leave one woman, Katya, for another woman, Grushenka. Fyodor, Dmitri's dad, also wants to get with Grushenka. Katya and Grushenka get into a fight. Fyodor and Dmitri get into a fight and Fyodor winds up dead.

Grushenka has headed off to another town to be with another guy and Dmitri shows up there with all this money and they go on a huge bender. Unfortunately for him, the law catches up to him. He is arrested and tried for killing his father.

It comes out at the trial, though, that it was probably Smyerdakov, Fyodor's illegitimate son by a woman who was not quite right in the head, who probably killed Fyodor, not Dmitri at all. Too bad for Dmitri, who is sent off to Siberia.

So. Much. Drama.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In demand.

There are apparently quite a few people in my town who really want to read Ivo Andric's The Bridge on the Drina. It was very difficult to borrow from the library, which is surprising because usually, these books are not in that much demand. Mostly people who want to read them have already read them - there isn't a huge waiting list for most of them or anything.

I can't really figure out what all the hype is about for this one. I read it very quickly, over the course of 5 days or so (thanks to a drive to Connecticut where both kids were pretty quiet), and I just couldn't get into it. The book's main character is this bridge that connects this town in Bosnia. It spans quite a bit of time, from when the bridge was built, through the development of Bosnia and the various conflicts there, and through to 1914 when the bridge is destroyed in war. The book is very, VERY bloody and violent. There was one scene in particular toward the beginning of the book that almost gave me a panic attack.

Books like this where the action centers around an object, rather than a character, are hard for me because I can't really get interested in the object the way I would a story about a person. There needs to be some continuity among the people for me to start to care about it. The book definitely helped me learn about a time in Bosnian history that I didn't know about before, but I just didn't particularly enjoy it. (I wonder if the other folks in my town also reading the book feel the same!)