Read Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata last week, a sad, mad polemical novella on sex and the impossibility of a pure love between men and women. It felt more like Dostoevsky than Tolstoy: harsh, impassioned writing. It was very dislikeable, actually, startlingly so. It seemed to be written by someone completely different from the generous, human Tolstoy who wrote War and peace. 
Doris Lessing wrote an interesting essay about The Kreutzer Sonata in her collection of essays Time bites where she discussed the practicalities of married sex in the 19th century and suggested that in an age before reliable contraception, men suffered as well as women – a reflection of Germaine Greer’s point about women’s liberation being a liberation for men as well. Time bites was generally good but occasionally Doris Lessing is so wrong I want to scream. Her outright rejection of communism is fair enough, but occasionally it feels as though she attributes all the evils of the modern world to communism, which seems hardly fair. 
Finally two hippie books on writing by Natalie Goldberg: Writing down the bones and Wild Mind. The basic premise of both of them was: keep writing and practice frequently, and don’t edit while you write. Fair enough, but padded out with a fair amount of rather irritating hippie and Zen nonsense. I must start writing again though. This blog is hopefully a good start.