Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bucket List: War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

This post is a 'twofer', as I get to strike an entire item off of my Bucket List as well as add one more book to my count [however, if I get close to June 2 and my book goal doesn't seem possible, I will be counting this book as '3', since it was 1,256 pages. My list, My rules. Ha!].

I started this book in June, read about 200 pages and stopped. When December rolled around, Hubs asked me about it and then told me to just give up because I was never going to finish the book. Yes, psychological motivation totally works on me…I picked it up mid-December and finished it last night.

The book was amazing and I can see why people would devote their time to reading it more than once. Almost everyone has an opinion of this book, mostly the same: boring and I have since come to the conclusion that those peeps have either not read the book [most likely] or got a crappy translation of the book [possible].

There are so many characters in the book, so many Russian names, but the story was tightly wound around three main families: Rostov, Bolkonsky and Bezukov. Each family is of high society and is connected together through some sort of relations. At first, the characters were so hard to remember and they were constantly called by different names [i.e. Marya, Masha, Marie would be one person], but once the story got flowing, I was hooked.

I would love to know if Natasha Rostov was based on someone that Tolstoy knew. She is described as beautiful, talented and adored, yet her plight and sorrow hit the most in the book leading to a relatively happy ending. Pierre was another favorite character of mine--an bastard child trying to find meaning in life and the true base for happiness. He finds it in the most unlikely place: a prisoner of war camp.

The battle scenes didn't hold my attention as much as the stories surrounding them. The history that Tolstoy threw in there was rather dull, but those bits were few and far between. As a reader 200 years later, it was interesting to see Tolstoy refer to the views of 'historians' about Napoleon, the war, etc. and the numerous books written about the whole debacle.

With over 1,200 pages of material, I could go on and on about how intrigued I was with this book--go over each of my favorite characters, as the list goes on. Had I read War and Peace in highschool or college, I don't think I would have truly appreciated it as much as I did [and I am most certain that going back to read it again wouldn't have been an option and I would have missed out on this magnificent book.]



KJac said...

Congrats! That's a long book!

Eric said...

Whoa, that is an undertaking. I do like his style though, The Death of Ivan Ilyich was great.