Just read "Family happiness", "A history of yesterday" and "Memoirs of a madman" by Tolstoy.
I won't write reviews*.
I'm merely thinking that I love Tolstoy and prefer him to Dostoyevsky because his characters are people and exist for themselves, with their strengths and weaknesses, emotions, longings..., unlike Dostoyevsky's characters, who, though complex and self-contradicting enough not to be called caricatures, seem to owe their existence to the ideas they embody. Tolstoy's works deal with life, as itself, with its nuances, not some abstract problems or philosophical debates; they depict a wide range of experiences and have all manifestations of life. I never cease to marvel at his ability to slip into his characters' minds. If detractors criticise Dostoyevsky for pushing everything to the extreme and creating exceptional rather than ordinary characters and admirers defend him, saying that fiction doesn't have to be strictly like life and such extremes are more revealing about human nature, I think one cannot deny the fact that his female characters are not right- they feel wrong, unnatural, contrived, unconvincing and less tolerable than the male ones, at least, Tolstoy's far better at creating female characters. Reading "Family happiness", which is written from the point of view of a frivolous young woman, I'm amazed- Tolstoy's psychological insight is awe-inspiring.
However, it should be noted that I do love Dostoyevsky in spite of his mawkishness and unnatural female characters, almost the same way I love Tolstoy in spite of his didacticism and naive idealism. There's no need to disparage 1 literary giant to praise another. Both are geniuses.
*: Not sure why lately I've written some, but generally I don't like writing reviews, which usually have a summary, then some comments in the form of "I like it" or "I don't like it but it has merit" or "This is bad". That's boring.