Last night, I went to an engagement party for a friend from elementary school, and I bumped into a number of my parents' friends that I had known growing up. I got into a long, interesting conversation with one couple, who are avid readers and have had a lifelong dialogue about the books that they've read. I haven't read any Orwell, so we were discussing that, but it was when I told them that I hadn't read War and Peace that they began to lobby most heavily for me to pick up a copy and read it in the coming year. Apparently, the most difficult part of reading it is getting past the first one hundred pages, because Tolstoy introduces so many characters, it's almost impossible to keep up. However, once you reach this mark, if you're not completely confused, the rest of the book is a bit easier. I did read Anna Karenina in college, and enjoyed it very much.
We also talked about book clubs, and how difficult it is to find one that is truly serious, because there simply aren't very many people that carve out the time to read literature these days. "Life takes over", as we all know, and it's easy to get distracted by work, family and friends. The book club that I am a member of is famous for its many slackers, and when we gather, typically only a few of us have finished the book. It's a very fun group, yet I admit that it's a bit annoying to have really spent time with the book, and find that not everyone has done the same. One of my goals for the coming year is to start a new book club, and to develop relationships that are based around reading books that move me and cause me to grow - personally and as a writer.