New CLASSICS Read: The Idiot

Yes! The Classics Club book posts are back, too! It’s like we’ve gone back in time!

That’s probably a little too much enthusiasm for my involvement in the Classics Club since I only read one book on the list I posted before I ran away from the blogging world. The last thing I posted was to participate in the Classics Club Spin back in September. I never even came back to say what book was chosen.

It was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee, by the way. And…wow… reading that made me start thinking about time machines and alternate dimensions AGAIN, a way to see what would have happened had I made different choices. This time sticking with pursuing my theater degree, getting that dream job, and designing live productions. Every page of that play I could see the action, the set, the lighting changes, all in my mind. We watched the movie the day after I finished reading the play, and I was every bit in love with THAT as well. Superb!

I did post about reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck, but I’m not sure I shared how much I hated the movie. And when I did a quick search, I found I’m not alone.

I also read The Dubliners by James Joyce (meh) and then read The Iliad all throughout December. I thought maybe ending 2022 with all that non-stop violence would be fun. I’m strange. What can I say?

So that means… I’ve read four of the fifty books from my original list. Which puts me right on track to read them all by August 2027. One classic book per month!

Can I still be in the club? I say, YES!

the idiot

Today, I chose The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky from my list. Why? Because I have it here on my shelf and I’m trying to read those first, and because I LOVE Russian literature. Yet again, another reason to look at me a bit sideways, right?

In 2021, I got a bit lost in Russian Revolution history and literature. I couldn’t stop reading about it. And the books are SO long! I had to take a break and read something else. Time flew away from me and here we are a year later from my last post about Russia.

From the very first page, The Idiot has my heart. I keep reading lines aloud to my husband, much to his chagrin. He’s trying to read his own things, has no idea about the context of the lines I’m reading, AND has his deaf ear to me anyway. He smiles and nods, and then goes back to his article. Such a trooper!

I read the introduction first, not worrying about spoilers. The introductions to classic books are worth my time because they help me put the book into the context of the time and give me an overview of the story to put my reading into. I understand the book better if I read it.

With modern books in general (not all of them), the story reveal is the big thing. Spoilers ruin it. Once you know what happens, what’s the point of reading it? Not so with classic books. The plot is a sidenote to me. The character development, the details about their interactions, understanding why the author wrote the book, THAT’S what draws me on to read.

It’s lines like this:

“These omniscient gentlemen are sometimes, in fact rather often, found at a certain level of society. They know everything. All the restless inquisitiveness of their intellects is bent in a single direction, no doubt because of a lack of more important and more vital interests and opinions – as a modern thinker would say. By “everything,” however, must be understood a rather limited area: where so-and-so works, who his acquaintances are, how much he is worth, where he was governor, whom he is married to, how much dowry she brought him, who his first cousins are, who his second cousins are, and other matters of this sort.”

In other words, a gossip. You know the type, right?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading more of The Idiot this coming week. I’m sure I’ll be here a while. The book is nearly 700 pages long and I’m only reading at a rate of about 20 pages an hour. Eek! About 35 hours, and I read about two hours a day average. Well… it must be done!

Want to read more posts about The Idiot by Dostoyevsky?
Stay Awake to Life
Parenting in The Idiot and a bit of FOMO
On Looking Simple
On Cannibals & Worthiness
Hippolite’s Attempted Suicide
Final Thoughts


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