Et bien, mes readers-along, si vous n’avez rien de mieux à faire, go to the master post for the read-along schedule and more.
Was I the only one surprised that this wasn’t a “Peace” section, given that Part I was all “Peace”, and part II was all “War”? The rest of the book seems to be mixed in this way. Maybe parts I and II were just Tolstoy easing us in.
Part III was a real mixed bag and I didn’t find a coherent pop culture parallel as I did in Parts I and II. However, I did notice two related themes that came up again and again:
- the futile pursuit of things you can never really have, or at least, you can’t keep (youth, glory, status, beauty) and,
- self-sabotage (marrying someone you know you don’t love, rushing into a battle you know you can’t win, everything Nikolai does).
Alright, readers-along! We’re mere weeks away from go time, and I have some questions. Respond in the comments, or, in your own post or video.
Tags are very popular on Booktube, and I even made a video of my own today:
Here are the questions, and my answers:
- Have you read (or attempted) War and Peace?
Nope. I’ve owned it for a few years, never even cracked it.
- What edition and translation are you reading?
Vintage Pevear & Volokhonsy translation on paper, Maude translation on Kobo.
- How much do you know about War and Peace (plot, characters, etc)?
Before I watched the adaptation: nothing! I think it’s bizarre that W&P doesn’t have an iconic quote or character, like other classics. Or, maybe it does, and I live under a rock.
- How are you preparing (watching adaptations, background reading, etc.)?
I’m doing a lot more preparation than I usually do. I watched the adaptation a few months ago, to familiarize myself with the characters. Russian classics are notorious for many characters, each of whom have several names. I’m also skimming through Give War and Peace a Chance, which would have been a great name for this read-along, and the diaries of Sophia Tolstoy, to confirm that Leo was indeed a dick.
- What do you hope to get out of reading War and Peace?
Checking it off the list (you know, that 1,001 Books list I’ve neglected for the past couple years). Reading pleasure – I usually love these big, meaty classics. And if I don’t, I have snarking rights (I insist on reading a book before I make fun of it.) It’s a win-win.
- What are you intimidated by?
The Russian name thing, see #4. Also, the Freemasonry stuff, which I assume is to War and Peace as farming is to Anna Karenina – hundreds of pages of booooooring philosophical asides.
- Do you think it’s okay to skip the “war” parts?
No!! I wouldn’t even ask, but I’ve seen it come up a few times in discussions. Just no. If you don’t read all the words, you haven’t read the book.
So. You’re all tagged. Let me know where you’re at with W&P, down in the comments, or make your own post or video.