Leo Tolstoy's book War and Peace made our list recently as a great quarantine read which you can pair with the BBC series of the same name. But we'd argue that Tolstoy's incredible novel Anna Karenina, would make an even better isolation book (and the best place to start for those new to the Russian master).
If you're familiar with Anna Karenina, you know the story has a pretty depressing conclusion. So why is this tragedy a quarantine must-read? Check out these 4 reasons below!
1. It tackles big, timeless issues
Anna Karenina is often considered one of the greatest novels ever written, and the large overarching themes definitely have a lot to do with that. The book touches on topics of spiritualism, brotherhood, and modernization--all issues still impacting humanity today. Quarantine life has taught us many valuable lessons on these exact same themes, and Anna Karenina helps remind us that humans have faced the same problems since time immemorial.
2. It teaches us to honor nature
In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy pushes back against industrialization and is in favor of nature, something that strikes true to our current world amongst the chaos of Coronavirus. For the first time in decades we've seen many natural wonders thrive due to the fact that we're unable to move about the globe the way we used to. Allowing nature time to heal itself has been long overdue, and Tolstoy's novel shows that sometimes respecting and honoring nature is more important than modern human advances.
3. It reminds us about the struggles of love
One aspect of Anna Karenina that people enjoy is the fact that the characters are all flawed in very realistic ways. Much like in real life, things tend to be more gray than black and white. People don't fall wildly in love and ride off into the sunset, they fall in and out of love, argue, make up, and create unique relationships that work in unexpected ways. And why not? In real life relationships are work and you have to put effort into love. This is something we're all learning the hard way throughout these weeks of isolation with our partners, family, and friends. Anna Karenina teaches us the perfect quarantine lesson: that every aspect of love can be beautiful, even when things get ugly.
4. It hooks us from the start
By this point, everyone probably knows how Anna Karenina ends. If you don't, avert your eyes because I'm about to drop a SPOILER ALERT: at the end of the novel Anna, distraught over being isolated from her son and society, and overcome by jealousy, throws herself under the wheels of a train and dies. In many ways, reading the book while knowing the ending makes it a better experience. Why? Because in Part One when Anna first meets her great love, Vronsky, they are at the train station and a guard is crushed by the train. Anna's grief in that scene is almost a premature mourning for herself; she doesn't know that one day she too will die the same way. But you do, and you're immediately hooked by your desire to see what pushes Anna to her fateful end.
We're all in need of some great quarantine entertainment these days, and Anna Karenina offers just that. If you've been putting off reading a big classic like this one, isolation is the perfect time to do it. Maybe hanging our stunning Anna Karenina art print, which is created using the words of Leo Tolstoy's book, on your wall will offer a little inspiration!