Wednesday, 19 January 2011

War and Peace Wednesdays

I've been trying to read this darned book for ages now. I keep starting it and then getting busy or distracted by other things. But! I have not given up - I am going to read it one way or the other and to help myself stay a little more focussed, I'm going to set up this regular slot here on my blog to track my progress... or otherwise.

What else have I done to help myself? I happened across a War and Peace read-a-long on Facebook which has its own wikispace and reading schedule so I thought well if nothing else this will keep it front and center in my mind. The reading schedule is:
February 1-14: Volume One, Part One (1-124)
February 15-28: Volume One, Part Two (125-231)
March: Volume One, Part Three (232-342)
April: Volume Two, Parts One and Two (343-490)
May: Volume Two, Part Three (490-573)
June: Volume Two, Parts Four and Five (574-712)
July: Volume Three, Part One (713-809)
August: Volume Three, Part Two (810-973)
September: Volume Three, Part Three (974-1103)
October: Volume Four, Parts One and Two (1104-1219)
November: Volume Four, Parts Three and Four (1220-1335)
December: Epilogue (1339-1444)

As at January 19th, 2011
Pages read so far - 35
Confidence level - 4/5 - Peachy keen but I'm a little intimidated by the weight of this thing!
Words I have had to look up:
Postilion - man who rides the leading left hand horse of a team.
Adjutant - Military officer who acts as admin assistant to a senior officer.
Erudition - Possessing great knowledge
Comments - Holding this book up in a comfortable reading position is hard!!


  1. I generally find the Russian classics to be unbearably dull, and my rule of thumb is to never read anything that I have a hard time paying attention to - not because it's hard, but because it bores me to tears. I hate to admit it, but I've never made it through a Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy as a result. I can just about make it through Chekhov, but everything I've read by him has been relatively short.

    I can get through Russian short stories though: Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Cherry Orchard...all fine.

    And it's not that I can't get through long books: I read "A Suitable Boy" in a week and whisked through "The Baroque Cycle".

    It's those d*mn Russians!

  2. Hi Jenna! Thanks for the comment :) This is something if a personal challenge for me, rather than a desire to read the book per se... strange I know. It's just something I've wanted to do for a long time and I know I sure can't RUN a marathon so thought I might read one instead ;) If I survive this one, I'll check out the short stories.

    Out of interest, have you read any Chinese lit? I've read Dream o the Red Chamber and am finding the profusion of characters and complicated relationships in that similar to the same in WAP...

  3. I have read Dream of the Red Chamber and (a long time ago) Journey to the West. I can handle a profusion of characters if the story is engaging, well-explained and moves along quickly enough. I found that War and Peace...just wasn't engaging, and certainly did not move quickly enough.

    I started Romance of the Three Kingdoms but couldn't finish it...just wasn't interested or engaged by the story, such as it was (it was mostly people who have fifty names each killing or forming alliances with other people who also have fifty names each). I guess war stories just don't intrigue me. Have not attempted Story of the Stone.

  4. Hi, i joined a read-along at DoveGrey Reader and started reading this back in October. I am somewhat behind schedule but nearly 300 pages in now. It is hard going because it is so so slow. He uses at least three adjectives where one would do just fine and describes every little detail of each scenario. I have had a couple of good laughs though and it is picking up as I get more familiar with the vast cast of characters.
    good luck, let us now how you get on

  5. I just found this book in my basement. I didn't even know that we had a copy and I have no idea where it came from but I might just have to join along with you. If I find that I have the forearm muscles for it!

  6. @ Jenna - Thanks! Hmm, yeah DOTRC was engaging but so far WAP not so much. Ah well. Onwards!
    @Martine - Tell me about it. That's why I keep trying to read it but keep failing! ;) We should form a support group.
    @Lisa - The more the merrier. Join me and Martine's support group!! :D

  7. Keep going! It's really great. I'm doing a readalong of War and Peace right now and I'm about a third of the way through. There are times when it slows down, but the characters and plot lines get pretty interesting!

  8. Hi Kristi,

    Thanks for the comment and apologies for the tardiness of my reply! Which read-a-long are you doing?

  9. No problem. I'm participating in the one with Allie at A Literary Odyssey. We're reading it over two months (Jan and Feb). I'm just starting Volume III. I hope you're enjoying it.

  10. Kristi - Over 2 months?!!! Wow. I bow down in awe! I'm making reasonable progress (given the schedule is spread over a year!) and actually really enjoying it. I had some kind of weird mental block about reading it before I started but now I realise it's just another classic that I'm more than capable of finishing. I'm particularly loving the politicking they all do at the dinner parties!