Friday, February 1, 2013

War and Peace: Book I, Part 1

Instead of my usual stats post, I will be starting each month with a wrap-up of my progress reading War and Peace. I have created a new page for my 2013 reading above if you are interested in checking that out.

This readalong is hosted by My Friend Amy and Iris on Books. Bloggers are linking up at Amy's site so you check that out for her thoughts as well as for more thoughts. Also it is not too late to join in-grab a copy and get started :) We're going to finish Book I, Part 2 for the end of February.

Amy helpfully provided some questions to get us started so here are my answers!

1) Why are you reading War & Peace?
I love the idea of reading classics but am frequently intimidated by reading them especially ones with the bulk and reputation of War & Peace. A year-long readalong sounded like a very manageable way to tackle this book. I also love getting the insights of other people into classics so that's another bonus.

2) What translation are you reading? Are you reading print, ebook, or audio?
I'm reading Peavar and Volokhonsky's translation in print. I've coveted this particular edition for ages so when I received it for Christmas, it seemed very serendipitous.

3) So far, is it different than you expected or the same?
It's different-I keep finding Tolstoy rather easy to understand (unlike some classic authors). His prose seems more straightforward (how much is owed to the translation though?) than I expected. It is also much harder keeping track of the names than I anticipated-I barely know who anyone is.

4) Do you have a favorite character? (lol just asking--I feel like I barely know these people)
I'm picking Natasha though-she seems very vivacious and I'm pretty sure I've read that she plays a pretty important role. I also am curious to learn more about Pierre (the one who inherited all that money).

5) Do you have any other predictions or expectations for the rest of the book?
I'm really curious to find out who else will die-not because I'm a morbid person. But this is a Russian epic set during war with a huge cast of characters-many more are going to die.

6) What was your favorite part of the first section?
I'm actually going to pick least favorite and it was the letters in French near the end and having to read the footnotes to find out what was going on-it was just so awkward.

7) What do you see as the biggest obstacle to finishing? 
I struggled to set out time to read in addition to my other blogging commitments. So for now I'm planning to read one chapter a night for the February section (which looks to be 21 chapters so I'll even finish early and can get started on the March reading). When you break it down like that, it shouldn't be too bad. But that's only if I can keep myself committed.

What did you think? Has anyone read W&P previously?


  1. Great idea to break up the reading in that way. I should do that too. I was more or less just trying to sit down for a chunk at a time but that didn't go so well for me.

    I'm so glad you pointed out how unexpectedly easy Tolstoy is to read. When I've suggested either AK or W&P to friends they balk at "Russian literature" but I find the prose much more straightforward than, say, Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice (and not as stiff or formal). To be honest, I prefer the Russian style.

    Very cool that you had your translation picked out for you as a gift. I was annoyed at all the choices and debates out there over which one is the best, but I, too, settled on the P&V.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy reading! :)

  2. I too, have been intimidated by classics.
    I haven't read W&P yet...
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  3. It's cool that so many of us are reading this translation, though I've considered ditching it, tbh, because of the French issue.

    I know what you mean about fitting the reading in around other reading. I read most of this section at once, but I'm considering breaking it up like you did if only so that I don't feel like I"m forgetting everything!

    Thanks for joining in!

  4. I like the idea of reading one chapter a night - I read this months reading over a weekend and although I loved doing it that way, I need to read more regularly if I am going to keep up with the characters.

    I like Natasha and Pierre too, it'll be interesting to see what happens to them in the future. I also agree that Tolstoy is surprisingly easy to read, I read Anna Karenina a few years back and I was expecting it to be so difficult, but it just wasn't.

  5. At times it is a struggle having to read the footnotes to find out what was said in French.

  6. This is a great idea! I just had my SIL grown at me when I said I hadn't read it. Breaking it down to a little bit at a time wouldn't be nearly so overwhelming. And since you say it's actually easier reading than other classics you've read it has me thinking maybe I CAN handle it, lol.

  7. War and Peace always brings Charlie Brown to mind because of that New Year's special. I've never read War and Peace but I am currently working my way through Les Miserables. I think hefty classics are intimidating and like you, I may be working on mine all year too. Good luck!

  8. I like your idea of a chapter a night -- I'm struggling to fit this in with my other reading commitments as well (though I am currently waiting for a mattress delivery and so read all of Part II in one sitting, because I had to kill time somehow!).


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