Every once in a while, I still get a message in my e-mail saying that a member has joined or a member has left, just like I got one this morning. I started the Dostoevsky and Tolstoy Club in the Yahoo! Group many years ago.
I have left the Group as it is for a very long time and has become very inactive in it for many many years and have ignored its messages. However today, out of the blue, or perhaps due to the rain, I decided to go and check the forum out and found that it is full of weed spams, which is very disheartening. It started quite well, with some good discussions, but the spammers! Damn them.
Come to think about it, I still remember how engrossed I was with Dostoevsky when I started reading him many years ago, I think at least about maybe 16 or 18 years ago when I was still in Ipoh. Lacking any formal education in literature and completely oblivious to the riches of the world of literature, save for reading tons of Famous Five and Hardy Boys, I stumbled upon this curious book called CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. Wow! What a title and I thought, well it’s like one of the Hardy Boys adventures perhaps.
And I never turned back and kept on reading and one thing led to another (not like in bed you dirty minded fellow), I discovered one great master after another. I still remember reading ANNA KARENINA for the first time and I remember my dear friend Chyn visited me one day and I told him what a brilliant novel that was! But somehow, Dostoevsky is still nearer to my heart than Tolstoy. I think I have read most of Dostoevsky’s published works that are available in English and mass-marketed.
The reason I like Dostoevsky so much, I think, is because of his depiction of the human condition, his insight into the human psyche and digging into them warts and all and often comes out to be able to inspire a tinge of hope in mankind despite all the evil and bad that mankind is capable of.
Looking back, I think I have not read a Dostoevsky for a very long time and of course, I have been reading quite a lot of other authors like Hemingway, Chekhov, Mo Yan, Murakami, Marquez and a bunch of others which I also really enjoy, and recently I have read some Orhan Pamuk and thought that he is one hell of a writer too and look forward to read his new novel, THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE which is now out in the market on paperback.
The best thing of all this reading is that one realizes that there is still a whole lot of good books out there waiting to be read, and that one has the leisure to slowly discover them and enjoy them gives one an enormous feeling of satisfaction, of hope and above all, the realization of the richness and diversity of the world and all the exploration that is possible. Isn’t this such a nice feeling? That something out there is waiting for you to be discovered and savored?