Saturday, July 9, 2011

War and Peace Summer Read-A-Long week #1

War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy
Summer Read-A-Long sponsored by Laurie at What She Read blog.

 Week #1
Pages read:  1-111
Chapter read:  1-25
Volume 1, Part One read.

I have always wanted to read this giant tome of Russian literature and so when Laurie suggested it as a summer readalong, I decided to join.  I know I am overbooking myself so while Laurie will be reading this book much faster than I, I decided to read it at a slower pace, Part by Part, one page at a time and am not going to worry about being behind.

The first thing that struck me about War and Peace is that it is extremely heavy as it was leaving marks on my legs when I would rest it there after holding it up became difficult.  I put the book on the scale and it came up weighing a little over 3 pounds.  WOW!  The other thing that is unique about this book is that it contains several different languages including French and German and I am continually reading translations.  This is the only book I have ever read with two bookmarks.  One in the front, where I am actually reading and one in the back to look up the notes from the author.  Part one of volume one has 53 notes!  So far, I feel really brainy and studious reading this book. 

Part One really focused on introducing the main characters and introducing the readers to Russian society as well as the conflict with Napoleon and the French.  As a history teacher who has traveled to Russia and toured through St. Petersburg and Moscow, I loved it and am thinking I must go back to visit.

There is much talk and conjecture about what to do about Napoleon.  Men have enlisted and are following Alexander I as he journeys to Prussia to change their neutrality and on to Austria to watch their back.  The Germans have already fallen and Napoleon is out to conquer the European world. 

A famous Count has died and left his fortune to his illegitimate son, Pierre, and there is much to gossip about.  The Count never married and appears to have been one of Catherine The Great's lovers as well as fathered so many children that he doesn't know them all.  A fun and interesting part of the book, how all the people are vying for this dying man's inheritance and Pierre has no clue what is happening.

Next week I will post on Volume One, Part Two.
Until then, I bid you adieu.

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