Folks, I’m doing something foolish – that’s right, I’m going to try to read War & Peace again. I tried back at the start of the year and failed after 220 pages… basically, I hit the war bit and had no idea what the eff was going on or who any of these people were and, well, that tends to put a girl off reading.
Now, as you may or may not know there’s a War & Peace summer readalong happening in the next few months and I’ve decided it’s the final push to get me to try again. I was enjoying myself when I was reading it bizarrely, but I just lost momentum and got stuck. I’m really hoping that the added moral support of a readalong will help me to push through the confusion and make it to the end this time (or at least to make it to further than I got before).
What has this got to do with Tag Thursday, I hear you ask. That is a very good question. In short: Laura from Reading In Bed has planned a War & Peace readalong of her own especially for newbies to the Tolstoy tome – like me! It will be starting in the first week of July running through to mid-September (perfect timing for me) and she’s also created the War and Peace Newbies Tag so all participants can get to know one another. All in all, I think it’s a great idea so I’ll be doing the tag today whilst I’m her pledging my allegiance to the
flag readalong itself. So, without any further ado, let’s get on with the tag…
1. Have you read (or attempted) War and Peace?
I attempted it in January. By February I’d only got to page 220 and I was in a rut so I ditched it, slowly and begrudgingly. It’s still on my ‘put down for now’ shelf on Goodreads… because I’m optimistic like that.
2. What edition and translation are you reading?
Apparently it’s the Penguin Classics edition with translation by Anthony Briggs. It’s the one with (what I think is) a pretty dress on the cover, as in the image above.
3. How much do you know about War and Peace (plot, characters, etc)?
The small bits and pieces that I remember from my first attempt at reading, i.e. not much!
4. How are you preparing (watching adaptations, background reading, etc.)?
Considering that last time I tried to read this book I ended up resorting to drawing up a character list matched with the actors of the 2016 BBC miniseries (in order to try to keep track of who was who), I should probably just give in and let myself watch it. I’ve heard brilliant things about it though so it’s not exactly a chore.
Aaaand given that I quickly lost track of said characters once the war section started, I think I need to read up on at least a cursory timeline of Russian history. I have acquired one of those Very Short Introductions to Russian history so perhaps that will help a little.
5. What do you hope to get out of reading War and Peace?
Finishing War and Peace…
… it earns you bragging rights, right?
Also I’d like to see how/why this one has stood the test of time given that it’s pretty bloody intimidating.
6. What are you intimidated by?
War and Peace. Ok, not all of it… but the war bits – they’re notorious and they’re what stumped me on my first attempt because my own knowledge of Russian history is shoddy, to say the least.
7. Do you think it’s okay to skip the “war” parts?
Wait… people actually do that and still consider themselves to have read the book?! Why didn’t anyone tell me before now? No, but seriously, if you skip the war parts then you’re hardly reading War and Peace are you?
(Ok now I’m imagining a gimmicky War & Peace like Lauren Oliver’s Replica where all the peace bits are on one side and then you flip the book over and it’s all the war bits and you get to choose which to read first. But I digress… oh wait, the tag is over…)
Well folks, there we have it, that was the War and Peace Newbies Tag.
Have you ever read (or tried to read) War and Peace?
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting through this massive tome?
Please (please) leave them in the comments if so, because goodness knows I’ll be needing them once the readalong starts in July!