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Timbuktu1
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

Confession is good for the soul! I've often heard that AK was the greatest novel ever written and so I could not understand why I had such trouble with it. I imagine listening on a CD would help as I wouldn't trip over all of the names. The names and their various forms, nicknames, etc. don't make reading Tolstoy any easier. OTH, I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!
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foxycat
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

It IS one of the greatest novels. I just can't concentrate on it at this point in my life.

My family was Russian peasantry, too, but I wouldn't relate to them now. See my discussion in the Russian Tea Room.



Timbuktu1 wrote:
Confession is good for the soul! I've often heard that AK was the greatest novel ever written and so I could not understand why I had such trouble with it. I imagine listening on a CD would help as I wouldn't trip over all of the names. The names and their various forms, nicknames, etc. don't make reading Tolstoy any easier. OTH, I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!


Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Laurel
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

Tolstoy was sort of an aristocrat playing at being a poor peasant--at times.

Timbuktu1 wrote:
I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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mcpor
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

Sorry on the delay of my reply. I was so busy at work!
In spanish it is " Todas las familias dichosas se parecen, y las desgraciadas lo son cada una a su manera"

I am a bit delayed, just on chapter 17, but found amazing the descriptions of the places, situations and characters. It seems like I have passed all this when I raed it at 15. That is the great things of books. You can have different points of view, of the same book, depending on your age, mood, etc.

Related to the essence of a happy family, my very personal opinion is that the most important thing is truth. You can face the bad things, but it is so difficult to face lies. When truth is absent, every relation is complicated and things get worst.

A singer, Joan Manuel Serrat (from Spain) says: "The thruth is never bad, but it is unavoidable" (own tranlsation)
In spanish it is "Nunca es triste la verdad, lo que no tiene es remedio"
Monica
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Choisya
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

It can be difficult to keep all the names straight, especially since each Russian uses three names. A Russian has a given name (such as Anna or Stepan); a middle name that refers to the father (patronymic), the suffix of which means either "son of" or "daughter of" (for example, Anna Arkadyevna and Stepan Arkadyevich, children of Arkady); and a family name, which also has masculine and feminine forms (Anna Arkadyevna Oblonskaya and Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky). When a woman marries, she takes the feminine form of her husband's family name (Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, wife of Karenin). Common masculine suffixes are -ovich, -ievich,- ich, and -ych. Common feminine suffixes are -a,- ovna, -ievna, and- ishna. (Not all English translations include such suffixes.)Russians also have nicknames (such as Stiva.)

Some editions of Russian novels have a list of the names, pronunciation, diminutives etc at the front of the book for reference. Here is a useful list of the seven principal characters by family, and some minor characters:-

THE OBLONSKY FAMILY
Prince Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky (Stiva), Anna's brother

Princess Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya (Dolly), Stiva's wife, Kitty's sister, and eldest daughter of Prince Shcherbatsky

Tanya, Grisha, Alyosha, Nikolenka, children of Stiva and Dolly

THE KARENIN FAMILY
Alexey Alexandrovich Karenin, Anna's husband

Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, Karenin's wife, Vronsky's lover, and Stiva's sister

Sergey Alexeyich Karenin (Seriozha), Anna and Alexey's son

THE LEVIN FAMILY
Konstantin Dmitrich Levin (Kostya), Kitty's husband

Catherine Alexandrovna Levina (Kitty), Levin's wife, the youngest daughter of Prince Shcherbatsky

Mitya, their infant son

Nicholas Levin, Kostya's brother

THE SHCHERBATSKY FAMILY
Prince Alexander Shcherbatsky, the father of Kitty, Dolly, and Nataly

Princess Shcherbatskaya, the mother of Kitty, Dolly, and Nataly

THE VRONSKY FAMILY
Count Alexey Kirilich Vronsky, Anna's lover

Countess Vronskaya, his mother

OTHER CHARACTERS
Princess Natalie Alexandrovna Lvova, Kitty and Dolly's sister, who lives abroad

Prince Lvov (Arseny), her husband

Mary Nikolaevna (Masha), who lives with Levin's brother

Annushka, Anna's maid

Countess Lydia Ivanovna, Karenin's friend, a mystic Princess Elizabeth Fedorovna Tverskaya (Betsy), a society lady.






Timbuktu1 wrote:
Confession is good for the soul! I've often heard that AK was the greatest novel ever written and so I could not understand why I had such trouble with it. I imagine listening on a CD would help as I wouldn't trip over all of the names. The names and their various forms, nicknames, etc. don't make reading Tolstoy any easier. OTH, I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!


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Peppermill
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

[ Edited ]

Timbuktu1 wrote:
Confession is good for the soul! I've often heard that AK was the greatest novel ever written and so I could not understand why I had such trouble with it. I imagine listening on a CD would help as I wouldn't trip over all of the names. The names and their various forms, nicknames, etc. don't make reading Tolstoy any easier. OTH, I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!
"I imagine listening on a CD would help as I wouldn't trip over all of the names."

That is one of the primary reasons, along with exposure to two translations at once, that I prefer to read the Old Testament of the Bible along with a CD. (A third is, even if I doze, I either have semi-heard or can replay or reread, as needed or desired at the moment! A fourth is that I can iron at the same time.)

"The names and their various forms, nicknames, etc. don't make reading Tolstoy any easier."

So true! I am amazed at how differently different translators handle this. I think listening does make that easier. Also, a second reading, but that is no help the first time! Dah!

Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians.

Since I recently have been struggling with issues of the working poor in this country, I was struck with the extent to which the Russian writers, from Pushkin to Tolstoy, deal with societal gaps in their literature. It had me asking what modern U.S. novelists are doing so -- certainly there is much non-fiction that does. (If you have a chance to see the documentary "Waging a Living," I recommend watching it.)

I am searching for a sense of the continuity of Russian society from this period into the present -- what are the parallels and the differences from U.S. society, and how useful is it to even ask that question. I have been wondering about the educations of these men and women. Tolstoy speaks of the knowledge of English and French, as well as Russian. We watch Dolly teach her children. We know the serfs were still often illiterate. Consider the people skills necessary to be constantly surrounded by maids, tutors, governesses, cooks, footmen, carriage drivers, ...., or to be "at home" at least one evening a week or to navigate balls and soirées.

Message Edited by Peppermill on 02-08-2008 05:35 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Timbuktu1
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

It is interesting how listening to CD's differs from reading. I've been reading The Republic, which is a dialogue. I've begun to listen to it in the car as well. It's almost like overhearing a conversation. Then, when I pick up the book, I feel I know these people. I've heard the arguments. Reading becomes effortless. It is interesting too how listening kind of enters your brain by a different route. Almost subliminal, as you say, while dozing. OTH, it's sometimes hard to process what is being said at the rate it is being said. Reading allows me to go back again and again, until I've understood. It also allows me to really think about what is being said. Make my own connections. I guess that's why doing both at the same time is so good. I like the idea of the two different translations as well. Sometimes it's amazing to see the liberties the translators have taken, isn't it?
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Peppermill
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?


Timbuktu1 wrote:
It is interesting how listening to CD's differs from reading. I've been reading The Republic, which is a dialogue. I've begun to listen to it in the car as well. It's almost like overhearing a conversation. Then, when I pick up the book, I feel I know these people. I've heard the arguments. Reading becomes effortless. It is interesting too how listening kind of enters your brain by a different route. Almost subliminal, as you say, while dozing. OTH, it's sometimes hard to process what is being said at the rate it is being said. Reading allows me to go back again and again, until I've understood. It also allows me to really think about what is being said. Make my own connections. I guess that's why doing both at the same time is so good. I like the idea of the two different translations as well. Sometimes it's amazing to see the liberties the translators have taken, isn't it?

"Reading becomes effortless." Isn't it amazing when that happens?

"OTH, it's sometimes hard to process what is being said at the rate it is being said. Reading allows me to go back again and again, until I've understood." So true. But, OTOH, it is hard to "speed listen." And I do like to speed read -- in a variety of ways. As I become more comfortable with listening, I find myself marking the text with disk and track so I can more readily re-listen. And I am still experimenting with the most effective ways of using both.

"I guess that's why doing both at the same time is so good." For me, both at the same time is largely a) so I don't doze or wander while reading b) to compare two versions of the same text. Both at the same time does not lend itself to pondering for me -- I usually need reading alone for that. Or repeated listening, but more usually reading.

"Sometimes it's amazing to see the liberties the translators have taken, isn't it?" Yes, but probably more amazing to me is my increasing realization of a) the difficulties of rendering one language into another b) the richness of the ways available to say "the same thing" in one language -- at the same time becoming aware of the differences in the nuances and the second levels of meaning. Often it becomes fun to try to guess the original author's intent. (We had great fun with that with Eugene Onegin.)

Timbuktu -- thank you for your thoughtful comments. Speaking of differences in media, I find discussions like this almost easier in writing than orally. And you?
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Timbuktu1
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

Well you obviously are better with technology than I! I don't know how to reply the way you have, sentence by sentence so I'll have to try to use my less-than-perfect memory! ;-)

Mark the Cd's so you can re-listen? Amazing.

Comparing translations ... the best! I'm reading a book about the Iliad right now, have you read the Iliad? My take on Achilles grief over Patrokolis' death was that, as anyone who has lost someone knows, guilt is the hardest part to deal with. Generally, most people seemed to attribute it to the implied homosexual relationship, but I just couldn't buy that. What validation to discover that the words, in Greek, for I LOST him, can also be translated, I DESTROYED him! Eureka! Achilles suffered not just from the loss but from the guilt and responsiblity he felt for sending his beloved friend into battle, in his own armor, no less.

I know this site is meant for AK and don't want to get things off track. I just want to let you know that I appreciate your insights and yes, this form of communication is amazing. A whole new world-wide community of people is evolving and I can only imagine how this will influence the future. Hearts and minds meeting on a whole new level, with no external or superficial cues. Now, if I can only figure out how to use the computer more efficiently and find my way around the sites!!! LOL!
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Laurel
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1.29 From Moscow to Petersburg

"Come, it's all over, and thank God!" was the first thought that came to Anna Arkadyevna, when she had said good-bye for the last time to her brother, who had stood blocking up the entrance to the carriage till the third bell rang. She sat down on her lounge beside Annushka, and looked about her in the twilight of the sleeping-carriage. "Thank God! tomorrow I shall see Seryozha and Alexey Alexandrovitch, and my life will go on in the old way, all nice and as usual."

Hardly! This chapter, which chronicles Anna's thoughts, imaginings, encounters, and nightmare during her trip from Moscow back to Petersburg is probably one of the most important in the novel and deserves some special attention.

First, here is some information about the trip--its length, the difference between the two cities, etc.:

http://tinyurl.com/yt6dvr
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: 1.29 From Moscow to Petersburg--What was Anna reading?

What was Anna reading on the train? Why does Tolstoy specify that it was an English novel? What English novels did Russian women read at the time? Here is some very interesting information from Amy Mandelker, who also wrote the introduction and notes to the Barnes&Noble edition:

http://tinyurl.com/ypoenk
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: 1.29 From Moscow to Petersburg

Laurel wrote:
"Come, it's all over, and thank God!" was the first thought that came to Anna Arkadyevna, when she had said good-bye for the last time to her brother, who had stood blocking up the entrance to the carriage till the third bell rang. She sat down on her lounge beside Annushka, and looked about her in the twilight of the sleeping-carriage. "Thank God! tomorrow I shall see Seryozha and Alexey Alexandrovitch, and my life will go on in the old way, all nice and as usual."
_________________________________________




Anna reminds me of Scarlet O'Hara here. "I'll worry about it tomorrow"....

but seriously,


To this reader, this excerpt also represents a similarity between Anna and Stepan in which they both seem to believe even though they have "played with fire", there will be no future ramifications to their folly. Anna is showing great signs of being more like Stepan than anyone might ever have guessed.

In their minds, their actions should have no ill-affects on them or those around them. It's almost an "out of sight, out of mind mentality". They reside in a little "bubble" in which they move freely, blaming everything and everyone but themselves for their unhappiness to justify their actions. They seem to blame their social misbehavior on their search for happiness, although their lives are "nice as usual" until such time that, by comparison to a greener pasture, it proves necessary to find fault with it. When they misbehave, their search for happiness is justifying their actions because they are seeking to remedy their woeful, "unhappy", and rather boring existence.

They are, of course, "tortured" by nightmares, lack of sleep, and worry in general but they always seem to boil it all down to the fault of their spouse or someone else. Their internal thoughts always seem to be saying, "I would not be in this situation if..."
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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Laurel
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Re: 1.29 From Moscow to Petersburg

I think you are exactly right, Suzi. Anna has not yet gone so far as her brother, but she is certainly on her way.

blkeyesuzi wrote:
Laurel wrote:
"Come, it's all over, and thank God!" was the first thought that came to Anna Arkadyevna, when she had said good-bye for the last time to her brother, who had stood blocking up the entrance to the carriage till the third bell rang. She sat down on her lounge beside Annushka, and looked about her in the twilight of the sleeping-carriage. "Thank God! tomorrow I shall see Seryozha and Alexey Alexandrovitch, and my life will go on in the old way, all nice and as usual."
_________________________________________




Anna reminds me of Scarlet O'Hara here. "I'll worry about it tomorrow"....

but seriously,


To this reader, this excerpt also represents a similarity between Anna and Stepan in which they both seem to believe even though they have "played with fire", there will be no future ramifications to their folly. Anna is showing great signs of being more like Stepan than anyone might ever have guessed.

In their minds, their actions should have no ill-affects on them or those around them. It's almost an "out of sight, out of mind mentality". They reside in a little "bubble" in which they move freely, blaming everything and everyone but themselves for their unhappiness to justify their actions. They seem to blame their social misbehavior on their search for happiness, although their lives are "nice as usual" until such time that, by comparison to a greener pasture, it proves necessary to find fault with it. When they misbehave, their search for happiness is justifying their actions because they are seeking to remedy their woeful, "unhappy", and rather boring existence.

They are, of course, "tortured" by nightmares, lack of sleep, and worry in general but they always seem to boil it all down to the fault of their spouse or someone else. Their internal thoughts always seem to be saying, "I would not be in this situation if..."


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Lamplighter
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?



Laurel wrote:
Tolstoy was sort of an aristocrat playing at being a poor peasant--at times.

Timbuktu1 wrote:
I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!







Funny you should mention that about Tolstoy. In the 1870's there apparently was a large segment of the urban young liberals/aristocratic students (the narodniki?) that moved out to the countryside to live as one with the freed serfs and try to interest them in revolution. Some of their efforts were frustrated because they tried to get jobs as farmers, fisherman, etc. and they got fired or driven away because they didn't know how to do any of these trades. They eventually returned to the cities after drawing attention of the "Third Department" and being subjected to government reprisals. That's the extent of my knowledge. Just read this today in a history of Alexander II by Edvard Radzinsky that I picked up at the library for background.
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Choisya
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?

Hi Lamplighter! This was the 'back to the people' movement I have posted about elsewhere. Levin is a failed revolutionary and, of course, Tolstoy dabbled in communistic politics with his peasants too. The narodniks didn't so much try to get the peasants interested in revolution at this stage but interested in socialist ideas and social democracy which, of course, was quite a revolutionary idea in an autocrfacy like Russia even though these ideas had taken on in France after the revolution and were making headway in England via the Trade Unions.




Lamplighter wrote:


Laurel wrote:
Tolstoy was sort of an aristocrat playing at being a poor peasant--at times.

Timbuktu1 wrote:
I've always loved Dostoyevsky and Gogol. Think I might relate to the poor Russian better than the aristocrat as I come from a family of poor Russians!







Funny you should mention that about Tolstoy. In the 1870's there apparently was a large segment of the urban young liberals/aristocratic students (the narodniki?) that moved out to the countryside to live as one with the freed serfs and try to interest them in revolution. Some of their efforts were frustrated because they tried to get jobs as farmers, fisherman, etc. and they got fired or driven away because they didn't know how to do any of these trades. They eventually returned to the cities after drawing attention of the "Third Department" and being subjected to government reprisals. That's the extent of my knowledge. Just read this today in a history of Alexander II by Edvard Radzinsky that I picked up at the library for background.


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Laurel
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Quiz

Ready for a pop quiz on Part One? Here are ten questions:

http://tinyurl.com/2jhw4y

How did you do?
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Quiz



Laurel wrote:
Ready for a pop quiz on Part One? Here are ten questions:

http://tinyurl.com/2jhw4y

How did you do?




Darn, I got 9 of 10 because I read the question wrong!! That was fun!!! So, will these questions be on the final, Ms. Laurel? And will you be grading on a curve? What about extra credit? LOL
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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Lamplighter
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Quiz



Laurel wrote:
Ready for a pop quiz on Part One? Here are ten questions:

http://tinyurl.com/2jhw4y

How did you do?




That was fun. I got an 8. I did take some lucky guesses. But it's encouraging. /Jim
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Lamplighter
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Happy Families?


Choisya wrote:
Hi Lamplighter! This was the 'back to the people' movement I have posted about elsewhere. Levin is a failed revolutionary and, of course, Tolstoy dabbled in communistic politics with his peasants too. The narodniks didn't so much try to get the peasants interested in revolution at this stage but interested in socialist ideas and social democracy which, of course, was quite a revolutionary idea in an autocrfacy like Russia even though these ideas had taken on in France after the revolution and were making headway in England via the Trade Unions.



Choisya, thanks for the perspective. Yours and others' historical comments have been really helpful. Looking at the non-fictional history has made AK a lot more interesting and vice versa. I'm almost finished with the Alexander II history and I would otherwise never have gone thru that in a week. /Jim
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Laurel
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Re: ANNA KARENINA Part 1--Quiz

Extra credit! Good idea! Write a summary of part Two in fifty words or less.

I missed one, two, but it was the one that depends on the translation used.

blkeyesuzi wrote:


Laurel wrote:
Ready for a pop quiz on Part One? Here are ten questions:

http://tinyurl.com/2jhw4y

How did you do?




Darn, I got 9 of 10 because I read the question wrong!! That was fun!!! So, will these questions be on the final, Ms. Laurel? And will you be grading on a curve? What about extra credit? LOL


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton