Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dostoevsky and Doritos

Many proclaim Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov to be the greatest novel ever written.  In part of my 2012 Manifesto, one of my hopes was "to finally read The Brothers Karamazov."  I started it in January, reading from the Constance Garnett translation that I own.  I trudged along for a bit, weighted down by the heavy prose and extremely long monologues.  Around page 60 I went to the library and checked out the Larissa Volokhonsky translation, as it was said to be truer to Dostoevsky's original tone.  I read on, still wondering where the story was going, still determined to make it through the 750+ pages.  Around page 100 I paused and read another book (The Reapers are the Angels, which was excellent, review here) to give myself some space, take a deep breath, and ready myself to jump back in.  By page 140ish I had stabbed myself in the eyes repeatedly and rued the day I decided to read this book.  My personal struggle with forsaking a book still is tough.  At 160ish I gave up.  I didn't care about anything that was going on.  I suppose all Russians in the 1800s were maniacal philosophers, from the peasants to the high-ups.  Not only that, they were all apparently somewhat psychotic and prone to outbursts of unequivocal rage/despair.

I quit.  Mom assures me that Crime & Punishment is the better book.  Mayhap I'll try it out sometime and see if my opinions of Mr. Dostoevsky change any.  If so, I may consider Karamazov again.  Or maybe I just need to be much older and wiser before attempting this again.

If Dostoevsky is depressing and dense, Doritos is the exact opposite.  I've long been a fan of the crunchy goodness that the chip brings to any type of food.  Eating a pizza?  Tastes better with Doritos neatly arranged on top of a slice.  Is that a bowl of soup?  Better crunch up some Doritos and pour them in, like you would a cracker.  What's that?  You're eating a sandwich without chips?  Fool.  You know better than that.  It's true.  If I have an addiction in my life, it's to Doritos (and pops, too, which you probably could have surmised).  I seriously eat them with almost every meal that I consume.  If you think I'm joking, well, you'd be surprised.  I think I go through a bag or two a week, and that's the 13oz size.  In my opinion, all foods benefit by adding Doritos to them.  (Mmm.  We made a meatloaf with Doritos crinkled on top once.  Delicious.)

I realize how unhealthy this sounds, and believe me, I wish I didn't desire the things so much, but I do, and there's little I can do to stop myself.  It's bad enough that if I see a flavor I've never had before that I impulsively buy it immediately.  I'm normally a store brand kind of shopper, but with these bad boys I have to have the name brand.  There's just something magical about the crunchy, cheesy bite of heaven that I find superior to any other chip on the market.


Carl V. said...

I can certainly understand chip addiction. In my war against fat I am pretty much laying off the chips, but occasionally I have to have a few of the Pringles honey mustard chips. Those things are fantastic. And very hard to give up.

I give you kudos for trying to read the book. There are several classics that I would like to read, but I'm not sure any of them are ones that I think I'm going to have to force my way through. If they are I won't be reading them. Life is too short! You've probably read it already, but if you want to read a good Russian classic then read We by Yvgeny Zamayatin. Such an amazing read.

Hart Johnson said...

I actually LIKED The Brothers Karamazov and HATED Crime and Punishment. The language of Crime and Punishment is easier... the plot more straight forward. So if that is the real need, you may like it. But it has the distinction of being one of very few books I just really couldn't tolerate the protagonist. He has no redeeming traits. And for me, I need someone to cheer for.

Diz said...

Dostoevsky is currently residing in my storage unit, unfinished. It didn't occur to me that it might the translation version! I learn new things every day.

Doritos are fabulous - but, at this juncture in my life, not a good option. I made a casserole with them once that was deeeelish.

leslie said...

I thought you were going to talk about your experience with Taco Bell's Dorito Taco...

I second Carl's recommendation of We, if you haven't read it. How do you feel about Anton Chekov? I like him, and he's Russian, and he writes SHORT STORIES!! yay!!

I can't get past page 9 of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. and while I am sure I am missing out on something, I doubt I will get further along.

~L (omphaloskepsis)

David Wagner said...

You should try sprinkling Doritos crumbs on Brothers Karamazov, to see if it helps...


logankstewart said...

@Carl: Never heard of We, or the author. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

@Hart: Hmm. Interesting. Redeeming qualities are certainly helpful, but not necessary. We'll see.

@Diz: Could be translation, could be just boredom. We've done the casserole thing, too. Agreed. Delicious.

@L: Don't get me started on the Doritos Tacos locos. Must resist goodness. I've never read any Chekov, nor have I ever had any intention to, even though his name pops up all over the place. I may have to investigate, at least the shorts. Thanks.

@Dave: Why didn't I think of that?! That could have made all the difference in the world.

Kristopher A. Denby said...

@ David Wagner LMAO!!!! You da man!

@ Logan

I understand the dilemma. Sometimes great literature and entertaining literature aren't the same thing. Not sure if that's the case here, but it sounds true for you at least. And that's all that matters. You challenged yourself, and found the material to be wanting. No bad thing, that. Chin up!

On the other hand, I think it's really interesting that Carl V. should mention Zamyatin's 'We' considering the fact that I just reviewed it. It must be kismet (always wanted to use that word in a sentence).

The Sound and Fury of Kristopher Denby

logankstewart said...

@Kris: It's a great word. After three solid recommendations to read We, not to mention your hearty review, I'm adding it to my TBR. I'm convinced. I'll try Russian lit again.

Mel said...

Great've made me rethink reading Karazamov. I've always wanted to attempt it, but I might have to wait for a bit now. Hm. Your explanation of the virtues that Doritos possess really made me laugh. I have yet to try them in soup or on pizza, but I am an advocate for putting them on pb&j sandwiches. Specifically Cooler Ranch Doritos. That's the best!

logankstewart said...

@Mel: I'm not a pb&j fan, but if I were, it would definitely have Doritos on it.