I read Brothers Karamazov for the first time over the summer and it was by far the best book I've ever read. Then I read Crime and Punishment and then I reread Notes from Underground … and then I was, like, no one has ever come close to being this good. I started to get really excited and then this friend of mine said, "You know what, there's this book about him that is totally unbelievable," and that was Summer in Baden-Baden, by Leonid Tsypkin. And it's not like Dostoyevsky at all, it's totally different, but it kind of blew my mind.
Brothers Karamazov is a book that has absolutely everything in it. It's like 800 pages long and every word matters. The characters are amazing, the psychology of it is amazing … the translation I got is really good, too. There's this couple, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, they've redone all the Dostoyevsky, and the translations are so readable. The stuff he's writing about is culturally specific but so universal. It's human stuff, so it's always going to be relevant.
I usually have one big book by my bed, which was the Dostoyevsky, and now it's Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. It's really, really big. A friend of mine said the best way to read it is to take it out of the library and not renew it and then you have three weeks. "Just read 50 pages every day." She made a job of it. It's really, really good.
I guess I like reading in my living room because it's where most of the books are. So if what I'm reading gets boring, there's always something else. Also my apartment is small, and I don't read on the toilet, and otherwise there's only the kitchen, where there's nowhere comfortable to sit, and the bedroom, and I'm not going to read in bed in the middle of the day because I'd probably just fall asleep.
Pasha Malla is a Toronto writer who was born in St. John's, Nfld., and raised in London, Ont. He is the author of the story collection The Withdrawal Method.
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