The Brothers Karamazov Read Along, May – July, 2021

Here we go again. Every few years on Ripple, I’d entertain an urge to have people gather at the Pond to read a book together, virtually of course. As we’re (here above the 49th) riding through a third wave of COVID right now with stay-home measures for many, how we need that camaraderie even more.

And why The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky? Just because I’ve always wanted to read it but haven’t. I know some of you may have read this literary classic already. Maybe now’s a good time to re-read?

I recently bought a Farrar, Straus and Giroux (NY, 1990) edition pictured above, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Opening it, the first line in the Introduction surprises me. But as I read on, the whole paragraph is motivation itself:

The Brother Karamazov is a joyful book. Readers who know what it is “about” may find this an intolerably whimsical statement. It does have moments of joy, but they are only moments; the rest is greed, lust, squalor, unredeemed suffering, and a sometimes terrifying darkness. But the book is joyful in another sense: in its energy and curiousity, in its formal inventiveness, in the mastery of its writing. And therefore, finally, in its vision.

And thanks to Bellezza, I checked on Goodreads and found this quote by Madeleine L’Engle:

“The truly great books are flawed: The Brothers Karamazov is unwieldy in structure; a present-day editor would probably want to cut the Grand Inquisitor scene because it isn’t necessary to the plot. For me The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written, and this is perhaps because of, rather than in spite of, its human faults.”

–– Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

Those familiar with my previous Read Alongs know I’m all for slow reading. I allow ample time to finish a book, mind you, these are usually longer titles. Read Along at the Pond is a leisurely enjoyment. Here are some previous titles:

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Here’s a tentative schedule for The Brothers Karamazov Read Along. Read within the three-week time frame for each of the four Parts, then post your thoughts at the end of each. Non-bloggers are welcome to join as well. Instead of posting, just go to any participant and leave your thoughts as a comment in their post.

The Brothers Karamazov Read Along Posting Dates:

PART I – May 22

PART II – June 12

PART III – July 3

PART IV & Epilogue – July 24

Hope you’d join in the fun! Let me know in the comment.


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

26 thoughts on “The Brothers Karamazov Read Along, May – July, 2021”

  1. How did I miss Anna Karenina with you?!!! That is one of my favorite novels ever! However, I am most excited to begin on The Brothers Karamazov, again, this time with you. (I looked in my records on my blog and found that I had read it with a group in 2010; how interesting it will be to see what new insights I gain!) Thank you for the invitation and inspiration; I cannot wait to begin.


  2. I’m interested. I’m going to note the July 3 date and see if I can join in then. I’m a terrible joiner but this sounds like fun and worth some effort.


  3. I would love to join you, as this is one of my favorite books, and one of my only fiction re-reads (but only twice). I know myself well enough to know that I’d never keep up. There’s just too much else that needs doing. But it will be interesting to follow responses, both yours and others.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. About the only read along activity I ever do is my book club and I’ve stopped doing that during the pandemic and so liking reading “my own thing” that I don’t know I’ll return. But I can see why the discussions on this could be interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OooOOOh! I have this on my shelf- it was a Christmas gift several years ago- but I’ve never tackled it. Hmm, and the school year is almost over. If I can get my proverbial ducks in a row (right now they’re running allllll over the place :)) I will jump in! Maybe not during May, but I think I could catch up in June. I think we even have a movie version, which I also haven’t watched since I hadn’t read the book.
    Thanks for hosting this, Arti! I so enjoyed Middlemarch, and appreciated the encouragement to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great, Anne! Anytime your school year ends, you’re welcome to join in. And as you can see, the four posting dates are three weeks apart, to read about 160-200 pages for each Part except the last. The start date actually depends on your own schedule and how fast you read. I’m a slow reader that’s why I allow myself ample time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Arti,
    This is a tempting invitation: A book that I’ve always wanted to read, but have never managed to find the time or place to do so…. thus far? I very much enjoyed two other read-alongs with you in the past. But then came Hub’s retirement followed by lots and lots of travel which disrupted my reading life. And blogging life! But. With no travel plans at the moment!!!… I’m going to ponder your invitation to read at the “Pond.” Hope all is well with you and your’s. — Janell


    1. Janell,

      Long time! And welcome back to the Pond! So glad to hear from you again. Yes, I remember you were with us in almost all of our Read Alongs. It will be wonderful to have you read together TBK. Do you still have a blog? Leave me a link if so. Even if you’re not blogging anymore, you’re welcome to read the book and leave your thoughts as a comment on the posts. Hope to hear from you again. 🙂


  7. I would love to join in but I only have time for audio books now – I wonder if it is on audio, I find them very relaxing before bed as I always switch of the screens (computer, tv, phone) an hour before I go to sleep.


    1. Charlotte,

      Yes, there’s audiobook format for this title. At first I tried listening to it but found it hard to follow the names. I later bought a hard copy so I can actually read who’s who. However, if audiobook works for you, so much the better. I’ve enjoyed many audiobooks and like you, find it most soothing listening before going to sleep. Hope you’ll join us!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That was timely – a dramatisation was on the radio and it goes off the air this week. It was difficult to get into at first, a bit confusing but it’s so complicated that is inevitable. Compared with the summary, they had to cut loads out to get it into 5h. I think I would have enjoyed the descriptions. I look forward to people’s thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so interesting! Never thought it would be turned into a radio drama. I was trying to listen to the audiobook but found it hard to follow the characters, as the names are long and sound similar. That’s why I went out to buy a real book. It would be wonderful if you could join us, Denise… if you don’t mind the redundancy to read it so soon after just listening to it. My thought is, you definitely can bring in some insights in comparing the listening and the reading experience. 🙂


  9. I’m definitely joining you in this, any excuse to read Karamazov again is good with me, and the pacing is perfect, I can read-along without abandoning my other reading plans. I hope you’ll enjoy the book. Look forward to reading and sharing thoughts!


  10. Found your read along at Dolce Bellezza. I have it on my classic club list. Love Dostoyevsky, but has been dreaded it since it is so long. Good idea to divide it in different readings. I cannot promise to read all in due time, but will try to keep up the pace. Anyway, hopefully, I will be able to finish it sometime this year.


    1. Feel free to do whatever is best for you. Very flexible schedule. The book is divided into four sections so it’s natural for the four postings to record our thoughts after we have finished reading each of the section. Each part is just 160-200 or so pages. You’re welcome to drop by and read the posts and comments even if you don’t join in to read the novel. Hope to hear from you again! 🙂


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