Two years ago it was Faulkner. Last year it was Tolstoy’s War and Peace. This year it’s a double dose of Russian greats — Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

Readers start reading, these dudes don’t do short.

The occasion, once again, is Philip Weinstein’s literature seminars, now a staple of fall on the Vineyard. Mr. Weinstein is a professor of literature at Swarthmore College, and a resident of Aquinnah. In the spring the students of Pennsylvania get him. In the fall, Islanders of all ages are the lucky ones.

Mr. Weinstein has chosen Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov to represent these authors. The seminars begin on Sept. 9 and are held at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on a series of Wednesday evenings into December. “It was difficult to choose Anna Karenina, given that we spent six sessions last fall on War and Peace,” Mr. Weinstein said. “But the more I reflected on this matter, the more it seemed right to begin this fall with Anna Karenina. First, we will be in a position to explore its inexhaustibly, revealing differences from its predecessor. The same hand penned them both, but War and Peace eschews tragedy as insistently as Anna Karenina pursues it.” Mr. Weinstein feels that Dostoevsky and Tolstoy belong together because of their genius and the huge questions they ask of themselves and their readers.

“Other writers need other things, but these two need to work out the riddle of life itself,” Mr. Weinstein said. “Nothing less urgent seems to compel their attention. They tower above other Russian fiction writers arguably as brilliant as they are — Turgenev earlier, Chekhov later — because they are hungrier than the others, more relentlessly in search of answers to these questions. How to live a moral life, how to accommodate intolerable stresses within the individual, the family and society itself?”

Ah fall, when the summer madness of sun, beach, and so much to do has passed. Now is the time for resting and wrestling with what it all means. The Russians and Mr. Weinstein will gladly lead the way.

For more information and to sign up for the seminars, contact Betty Burton at the Vineyard Haven Library at 508-696-4211, extension 16 or