I have to admit that I’ve had a hard time reading Dostoyevsky. While I am now achingly close to finishing Crime and Punishment, it has taken me, at an estimate, just under eleven months to get to this point. I have read no other novels in this time. It’s not that the book is particularly dense, or that it is difficult to get a grasp on, but sometimes you feel as if you have read the same thing a dozen times. Of course you probably have, seeing as how it’s a novel about this fellows inner turmoil and psychosis and he thinks about the same things an awful lot. But also it can be a little disarming trying to remember which character is which, as half of them seem to have extra names. The main character is called Rodian Romonych Raskalnikov, but half of the book refers to him as Raskalnikov and the rest as either Rodya, Romonych or Rodian Romonych. Another character is called Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin, while there is also an Ilya Porfiry Petrovich, both of them referred to as Petrovich, and Raskolnikov’s sister is called Dunechka, Dunya and Avdotya Romanovna. It doesn’t help that there’s another R character called Razumikhin, and almost everyone elses name in the book goes on the same. There’s Zamyotov, Svidrigailov, Semyonovich, Pulkheria Aleksandrovna, some Ivanovna’s and a Lebezyatnikov. Bible names have nothing on this puppy.
Of course with it taking me so long to read this book, I have a rather indiscreet stack of novels piling up on my bookshelf that I have yet to read. A couple I purchased myself before starting Crime and Punishment, and a more sizable wad that I have received as gifts and not yet got around to taking the time to read. I’m seriously looking forward to my upcoming 2 weeks off and a lot of vegging out with books and movies I’ve been too busy to get onto.
Getting out of bed gets no easier as the days go on, but I find that my level of consciousness and reflexes are more with it when I part ways with the bed covers than they used to be. I don’t find myself dying for caffeine to stay awake and basically once I put my things down at work in the science office, it’s all smooth sailing from there on in. Getting out the door at home would normally be the mark between battle and glory, but the time at which I get on my bike and ride eighty miles an hour down a frostbitten freeway means that most of the agony involves my hands and facial features becoming snap-frozen on the commute. However the ninety seconds each morning which I spend in the Graham Farmer Tunnel is pure and simple bliss. While most folks wouldn’t notice, as they are holed up in cars and buses, the moment you cross from outside to the tunnels dreary interior, the temperature raises what feels like a dozen degrees. The sweet, sweet warmth of cancerous carbon monoxide gas fills your lungs and you cease to care how slow and inept the driver in front of you might be. And as you might have noticed, even in a car, it also does not rain inside the tunnel, another mark in its favour.
I have also rediscovered the modern miracles of both the electric blanket and cup-a-soup. You can keep your sliced bread and flying machines, soup is where it’s at.