If the bookshelf could speak.

The kind of “other voice voices of reproach—deep and solemn voices” of which Brad Leithauser writes—talking about those great, classic works of literature that beckon him from his bookshelves, telling him to “get serious” and read them—are precisely what made me finally pick up my wife’s copy of Anna Karenina.

For Leithauser, his attempt at getting serious was working through the entire fiction oeuvre of Dickens, but for me it was finally sitting down and reading some of the great Russian fiction I’ve always avoided (my wanderings in Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn notwithstanding).