The five big boys of Russian literature.
I consider myself pretty well read. But I've never read the Russians.
I tried to read Brothers Karamazov quite a few years ago, and no doubt I picked up my mother's copy of War and Peace a few times after one of her rants on how much she loved it, and oh Pierre, Pierre, sort of thing.
As you know I've just finished Lolita, and while Nabokov doesn't really count as one of the Russians when you talk about reading the classics (ok, he doesn't at all) I feel I've started on the Russians, and I am determined to read them.
I've read some of the English, and some of the Americans. I haven't read the French and don't really feel compelled to. But I am feeling compelled to read the Russians.
This is my list (after asking for advice elsewhere):
Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Anna Karenin - Leo Tolstoy. (NOT KareninA. D'oh.)
Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev
War and Peace - Tolstoy.
And Anton Chekhov's short stories.
I just went down to the second-hand book store of Fitzroy Street where I never get anything off a list, and managed to get Anna K and Crime and Punishment. I also picked up a copy of Edward Said's Orientalism. I read Said when I was doing my lit. review for my thesis.
Recently, I just finished (after Lolita) a quick Helen Garner (The Children's Bach, and with it completed my reading and purchase of all her books - I think) and have started Murray Bail's The Pages, a slender book which I fear will accompany me only so far on my Russian journey. I might need to dip into other bits and pieces, or I might be able to read them solidly. We shall see. Wish me luck.
PS Managed to farm out the kids and spent the weekend at Werribee Mansion at the hotel there. Joseph's restaurant has a new chef and the food at dinner last night was amazing. We tootled around the place for 2 nights and a day; saw the animals, played pool, had a swim in the pool, wandered the mansion, watched Bruno on the in-house movie service, drank champagne that we took in, and on the Friday night, had a picnic on the floor of our room - it should be a new trend and I'm starting it now. Picnics on the floor of classy hotel rooms. Believe me, too much fun. Cheaper than room service.