Teddy Roosevelt once chased some bandits down a frozen river, captured them, and then found himself (and them) trapped on the frozen river for eight days. Being a forward-thinking man, he'd brought along Matthew Arnold's poems and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.
In the course of being stuck, he not only managed to keep watch on his prisoners, but read both books completely, and even wrote a letter to his sister reviewing the book. ALL WHILE STUCK ON A FROZEN RIVER WITH THREE DANGEROUS BANDITS WITH NO FOOD BUT DRY FLOUR.
Sorry, I just had a case of the vapours ::fans self::
Basically he shares my essential reaction to the book, which might be summed up as "Anna! Stop being so cray-cray! Oh yay, thank goodness for the sanity of Levin."
Anyway, I'll let him speak for himself:
“I took Anna Karenina along for the trip and have read it through with very great interest. I hardly know whether to call it a very bad book or not. There are two entirely distinct stories in it; the connection between Levine’s story and Anna’s is of the slightest and need have existed at all. Levine’s and Kitty’s history is not only very powerfully and naturally told, but it is also perfectly healthy. Anna’s most certainly is not, though of great and sad interest; she is portrayed as being a prey to the most violent passions, and subject to melancholia, and her reasoning power is so unbalanced that she could not possibly be described otherwise than as in a certain sense insane. Her character is curiously contradictory; bad as she was however she was not to me nearly as repulsive as her brother Stiva; Uronsky had some excellent points. I like poor Dolly, but she should have been less of a patient Griselda with her husband. You know how I abominate the Griselda type. Tolstoi is a great writer. Do you notice how he never comments on the actions of his personages? He relates what they thought or did without any remark whatever as to whether it was good or bad, as Thucydides wrote history--a fault which tends to give his work an unmoral rather than an immoral tone; together with the sadness so characteristic of Russian writers. I was much pleased with the insight into Russian life."
Check out the original letter.
If you want more of an account of the actual bandit-chase, you can find it here in Teddy's own words.
Most importantly, read Edmund Morris's amazing biography.