Monday, 19 May 2014

Reading Tolstoy as a Twentysomething (& Completing His Major Works Before 21)

Twenty-first birthday flowers


In the last few weeks, I've been very busy reading Tolstoy. I had already enjoyed his most famous works - including Anna Karenina, War and Peace and several collections of his shorter stories - but I decided, probably a little too close to the deadline, that I wanted to finish his major works before I turned 21.

My birthday was yesterday, and I'm very pleased with my reading progress! I've updated my 'Tolstoy Challenge' which I created a year or two ago, but you can also look at my list here:

Tolstoy works completed:



Other short stories by Tolstoy I've read:

  • The Raid (1852) 
  • The Wood-Felling (1855) 
  • Three Deaths (1859) 
  • Polikushka (1863 
  • A Confession (1879) 
  • After the Ball (1903) 
  • The Forged Coupon (1911) 
  • Two Hussars (1856)
  • God Sees the Truth But Waits (1872)
  • The Three Hermits (1886)

Other Tolstoy texts on the reading list:


  • The Cossacks  (1863) (in progress)
  • What is Art? (1897) (in progress)
  • How Much Land Does a Man Need? (1886)
  • The Sebastopol Sketches (1855)

I've gained so many life lessons through this reading experience, and I'm going to dedicate a post to this in the next week or two. I'm also very tempted to rate the books in order of enjoyment, although this could prove quite difficult!

Do you enjoy reading the major works of a single author? If you're thinking about trying it, look into Twyla Tharp's reading habits by reading The Creative Habit, or check out my post on her concept of reading archeologically! It's a fascinating method to really get to know an author and their work, and it's particularly interesting when the author changes a great deal during their lifetime (as is the case with Tolstoy).

Keep tuned for more on Tolstoy!

My collection of Tolstoy's novels, essays and short stories



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14 comments:

Heidi'sbooks said...

I still haven't read War and Peace. It's on my list. After reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, I want to read Hadji Murad.

Brian Joseph said...

Happy Birthday Lucy!


Your reading list is so very impressive. Personally I did not have the patience when I was younger.




I tend to not read through as author's entire catalogue as I feel that there is so much out there to read and almost everyone has a few duds. I made a near exception for Shakespeare.

James Henderson said...

Happy Birthday Lucy!


I love your idea of reading everything written by an author. That said, I have only come close with Charles Dickens and George Eliot. I've read all of Dickens' novels and many of his short stories and non-fiction. More than a decade ago I planned to read all of Dostoevsky, but Dickens got in the way. These days I am lucky to read two or three books by the authors I really enjoy because there are too many of them. Thanks for the book recommendation - it may help me complete the works of another author.

Camilla P said...

Happy birthday! :)

I definitely enjoy reading my favourite authors' masterpiece(s). I've a list of the authors of which, one day, I'll read the complete works.

ebookclassics said...

Very impressive! I am slowly working on War and Peace right now and it will be my second Tolstoy book after Anna Karenina. I always thought I would read all of Jane Austen's work, but I'm not exactly sure if she is the muse I'm looking for, if that is the right word. I think I'm still looking for that one special author.

tolstoytherapy said...

Thank you Camilla! I think it's such a good idea keeping a list of authors for this reason... I must do this! I'd love to read more Dickens and Dostoevsky, although perhaps some modern authors like Murakami would be good too.

tolstoytherapy said...

Heidi, I really enjoyed Hadji Murad - it had a very different to his other books I've read though! And if you do get round to reading War and Peace, I'd love to hear what you think :) Thank you for commenting!

Camilla P said...

You're welcome! :) Your posts are just so nice and friendly, they make me somewhat chatty.

tolstoytherapy said...

Thanks, Brian!


That's a good point you've made, and partly why I'm focusing on Tolstoy's major works for now. I've mostly enjoyed what I've been reading, but there are a few books I probably won't be re-reading! I'm interested to see if I'll manage reading the collection of another author in future. Shakespeare sounds like a good pick!

tolstoytherapy said...

Thank you! I'll definitely be keeping an eye on your War & Peace posts and progress...it's good to hear you've read Anna Karenina too!


That's really interesting what you mention about us all having that one special author...let's hope you find yours soon! I wonder if it will always be Tolstoy for me, or if things will change with age.


As always, thank you for the lovely comment!

tolstoytherapy said...

Aw thanks Camilla - have a great weekend!

tolstoytherapy said...

Thank you, James!


I'd really love to (and should) read more of Dickens' novels. I've read a few for university, but I've still got lots left...the same can be said for Dostoevsky too.


I completely agree that there are so many authors to read and enjoy - that must be the biggest setback when trying to read everything by a single author!


Once again, thank you so much for commenting. I do hope you're well and reading lots!

Heidi'sbooks said...

I have read your recommendation for translator!

tolstoytherapy said...

Wonderful! My choice of translator always seems to effect my reading experience...therefore it's always interesting to see if others are the same!