My first completed book for my 2009 Reading Challenge is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky or Dostoyevsky or however you want to spell it. According to our literature database there are many "correct" spellings to his name.
I started reading this knowing that many people have enjoyed it, but thinking that it would be difficult. I actually found it to be much a much easier read than I expected. It is definitely heavy, but not difficult to read. If you choose to read it, make sure to get a copy with a list of the characters in the front with all the different names they are called. Once I got into the story, I was able to keep up with the names pretty easily, but you definitely need them at first.
"Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg ex-student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker seemingly for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of an evil worthless parasite."
I found the plot to be gripping, and the cat and mouse game between Raskolnikov and Porfiry Petrovich was very well written. My copy (the Barnes & Noble classics edition – not the one I pulled from Amazon for this post) has some interesting commentary at the end about this novel's influence on Nietzsche and Freud. Of course Freud thought it was all a result of daddy issues on the part of the author.