I'm glad that you're planning to join in. Did you read the book in Russian or in English?
Anything by Fr Alexander is always a great read. And, CR is old enough to say that he had Fr Alexander as a professor at St Vlad's!
Thank you, CarpatoRusyne! Actually, I read it in its English translation that my former priest, Fr. Michael D. of the Milan Synod gave me as part of my catechumen studies - it was almost precisely one year ago. But then, as I understood that Fr. Alexander had originally written it in his native Russian, I found the original (again, thanks be to God for the Internet!), and read it very avidly.
It's great that you had Fr. Alexander as your teacher! BTW, I am not sure how relevant this is to this discussion, but I wanted, if I may, to say a few words about Fr. Alexander's personality as I understood it while reading his "Journals." He was a very fine representative of the old ("pre-Soviet") Russian aristocracy. His last name sounds German, but that's a funny thing because it just "persevered" in his paternal lineage from some rather remote anestor - an ethnic German from the Baltics (an "ostzejskij nyemets").
His father was a military man, an officer of the Russian imperial cavalry who fought during the First World War and then during the Civil War of 1917-1920 on the side of the "whites," and his mother (nee Shishkova) was from a clergy family. After the final defeat of the White Army in November 1920, Fr. Alexander's parents escaped abroad and experienced all the calamities of the life of refugees. He was born in Estonia in 1921, and then his family moved to Yugoslavia, and then to France. As a boy in Paris, he went to a private secular school (Liceum), then to a private military school established by emigrant Russian military officers; and only then, after this combination of a very fine secular "humanist" education and a very elite military education, he finally made up his mind to go to a seminary and to become an Orthodox cleric. He married Ulyana (or Yuliana) Osorgina, a daughter of a very old Russian family (possibly with Ukrainian links) where men were priests. They moved to the USA in the 1950-s. Their two daughters later became wives of two well-known OCA priests of Ukrainian origin, Fr. John Tkachuk and Fr. Thomas Hopko.
Fr. Alexander's "Journals" impressed me tremendously by their rich, expressive language and especially by the mentioning of literally THOUSANDS of books that Fr. Alexander read and thought about. He was a very, very reading man. He loved French poetry, prose, theatre, secular philosophy (even when he seriously disagreed with it). He apparently knew by heart many poems by hundreds of French poets and also Russian poets - classic, "Silver Age" and contemporary (mostly emigrant). He also constantly read works of history and especially biographies.
Fr. Alexander also seemed to have a deep love of nature, of the splendor and beauty of the natural world, which he always perceived as an epiphany, as a reminder about the other world, the world to come. And he deeply loved people, and especially children. On the other hand, he a had a serious "chip on his shoulder," a rather bitter dislike of various phonies and psychopaths who pretended (or misguidedly believed) to be "spiritual people."
Fr. Alexander confessed in his Journals that he did not like his work as a professor and dean of the St. Vladimir seminary. He hated and feared administrative tasks, and it was always a great pain for him to deal with students whom he saw as unfit for becoming clergymen. Also, he was not a fast writer. Any writing for him was a difficult work, apparently because he was very critical of his own thinking and expressing his thoughts. It took him several years to write "Eucharist" in his native Russian, and he, unfortunately, did not live long enough to see the final version of its English translation. (Interestingly, he wrote his earlier book, "For the Life of the World," in English and was very surprised to see it translated by someone into Russian - he saw xeroxed copies of the Russian translation spread in then-Soviet Moscow by the underground "Samizdat" publishers.) Fr. Alexander died in 1983.