I took a couple of books with me, when we boarded at Southampton two and a half weeks ago. One was a lengthy and classic work of fiction, whilst the other was a recently published book about beer, and our relationship with it. It was a Christmas present, but one that until the cruise, I never managed to find time to read.
The first book, was one I’ve been making my way through for the past year or so. I made some headway with it on our cruise to Liverpool and back, last September, but the most recent 12 night voyage, provided the perfect opportunity to get some pages of this novel, under my belt, and finally allowed me to put it to bed, so to speak, as I actually finished it on the final afternoon of the cruise.
The book in question was Anna Karenina, by the 19th Century Russian author, Leo Tolstoy. It is a novel, which is nowhere near as well known as Tolstoy's most famous work - War & Peace, but after looking at a number of online reviews I discovered that the former, is far more readable and approachable than the latter.
Despite its length, I found Anna Karenina easy to read, and this is largely
thanks to the efforts of the two translators who corroborated on this latest edition of the novel. The
only real difficultly I found was dealing with the names of the characters; a
situation complicated by the Russian custom of having both formal, and familiar version of their names. In addition several
of the female cast, followed the convention that was in vogue at the time, of
adopting anglicized versions of their names. Thus Katrina is known as Kitty, Darya is known as Dolly, and Elizaveta is referred to as Betsy, but only to their immediate families and close friends.
Being back home, and back to work as well, I'm making slow progress, but the book is well laid out and, as its title suggests, follows the changing seasons, and the influence they have on the beers that are brewed and those that are drunk. Somewhat surprisingly, the season it starts with is winter, primarily because this coincides with the start of the year.
I'm drawing this post to an end now, as I'm sure you will appreciate I've got a book to read and it's getting close to my bedtime!