Hear Maggie Gyllenhaal Read the Opening Lines of Anna Karenina: The Beginning of a 36-Hour, New Audio Book

maggie reads karenina

Back in 2007, J. Ped­er Zane asked 125 top writers–everyone from Stephen King and Jonathan Franzen, to Claire Mes­sud, Annie Proulx, and Michael Chabon–to name their favorite 10 books of all time. Zane then pub­lished each author’s list in his edit­ed col­lec­tion, The Top Ten: Writ­ers Pick Their Favorite BooksAnd he capped it off with one meta list, “The Top Top Ten.”  When you boil 125 lists down to one, it turns out [SPOILER ALERT] that Leo Tol­stoy’s Anna Karen­i­na is the very best of the best. If you’ve read the nov­el, you’ll like­ly under­stand the pick. If you haven’t, you’re miss­ing out.

Above, you can hear actress Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal (The Dark Knight, The Hon­ourable Woman, etc.) read the open­ing lines of Anna Karen­i­na, which famous­ly begins “All hap­py fam­i­lies are alike; each unhap­py fam­i­ly is unhap­py in its own way.” Gyl­len­haal spent 120 hours in the stu­dio, mak­ing a record­ing that runs close to 36 hours in total. A lot more than she orig­i­nal­ly bar­gained for. Although avail­able for pur­chase online, you can down­load the read­ing for free if you sign up for a 30-Day Free Tri­al with Audi­ble. We have more infor­ma­tion on that pro­gram here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The 10 Great­est Books Ever, Accord­ing to 125 Top Authors (Down­load Them for Free)

1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free.

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.