Online reading marathon of Anna Karenina goes viral

Online reading marathon of Anna Karenina goes viral
Keira Knightley playing Anna Karenina

9 October 2014
Text Nadia Beard

A 36-hour online reading marathon of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel Anna Karenina has gone viral, with the live broadcast posted on YouTube and Google last week receiving over 3 million hits so far. The project, entitled Karenina. Live Edition, was launched by Google Russia and Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana Memorial Estate in a bid to establish links between literature lovers around the world.

The reading features the voices of over 700 Russian speakers from across the world, as well as a number of prominent Russian cultural figures including cosmonaut Georgy Grechko and Sochi Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova.

Before the broadcast of the project last week, Google+ users had the chance to join the marathon by subscribing to the Karenina. Live Edition online page, where they could post a clip of themselves reading an extract from the book. A jury later selected the best readers, who joined the line-up of well-known actors, film directors, athletes and public figures to read an extract from the novel.

First published in 1878, Anna Karenina is widely considered to be one of the most seminal works of literature to come out of Russia, inspiring a number of film adaptations in recent years.