Sunday, December 12, 2010

War and Peace Readalong Sign-ups:

I feel that the time is right to announce sign-ups for the two-month readalong of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy that I am hosting during January and February. I see a lot of posts in the blogosphere about reading goals and books to read in 2011, so this is the perfect time to make a pitch for a classic a lot of us dread.

I have never read anything by Tolstoy, but I felt this was a great place to start. I have had great reactions to the other Russian authors I have read so far, so I am sure of great things for this mammoth title.

I will be reading from the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, but I have also heard great things about the translation by Anthony Briggs. My edition teeters in at 1273 pages, but some editions go up to 1500 pages.

For those of you who are debating whether you want to join in, here is a little blurb, taken from

"War and Peace centers broadly on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the best-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves behind his family to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman, who intrigues both men. As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy vividly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature."

It sounds wonderfully epic and I am so excited to start on this journey. If you still aren't convinced, I advise you to head over to Roof Beam Reader's blog and read his wonderful review of War and Peace.

So, what is the plan for reading this monstrosity?

The goal is to finish the book by February 28, 2011. Realistically you should start in January, but if you want to get a jump start on this during 2010, I won't tell anyone. :)

We will have four posts covering the following:
  • January 15, 2011: The first check-in will focus on volume 1. In my edition it is about 295 pages.
  • January 31, 2011: The second check-in will focus on volume 2. In my edition it is about 306 pages.
  • February 12, 2011: The third check-in will focus on volume 3. In my edition it is about 332 pages (the longest section).
  • February 28, 2011: The fourth check-in will cover volume 4 and the 2-part epilogue. These sections are about 282 pages in my edition.
It may seem like a lot and it probably is, but we will be reading around 300 pages every two weeks. That is incredibly doable! There are 365 chapters in the novel, so the chapters are short (something I always love in long books).

On each check-in date I'll have a post up with my thoughts and to serve as home base for you to find other blogger's posts. I WILL NOT require that you go and comment on everyone's posts if you do not want to, but I will certainly encourage you to visit and read as many posts as you can. All I do ask is that you leave a comment here so I can link your post to home base so we can all visit.

And, for those of you who succeed, well, I have something in mind for you (yes, I am using extrinsic motivation to get you to read this chunker)!

If you are interested in joining, all you need to do is leave a comment here stating that you want in on the fun. I'll put a link up to your blog so we can cheer you on.

I would also be extremely grateful if you would post about the readalong somewhere on your blog. It is always more fun to have many participants, so the more we can get word out, the better.

On one last note, for those of you who think this is insanity, the lovely Jillian at A Room of One's Own is hosting a War and Peace readalong over the course of 2011 (basically reading 1 chapter/day).

Anyway, sign up and spread the word! I can't wait to start reading this with you all!

Avid Reader
Peggy Tryton


  1. So excited to see you hosting this! If I hadn't just finished the book, I would definitely join you on this. As it is, I do plan to read with you if your upcoming reads happen to work toward my goals (The Woman in White, Rebecca, The Three Musketeers, and Oliver Twist are all sitting, neglected, on my bookshelves!).

    Thanks, also, for linking to my review for War and Peace! That was very kind of you - I popped-in to see what your plans are and to offer encouragement to your readers, because the novel is truly brilliant (and only daunting in length, I think, because the story is beautiful and flows better than expected) - but you already have my thoughts linked there!

    Ah, well, best of luck to you and everyone who takes part! Tolstoy is one of my favorites. :)

  2. Have fun with this!! I'll be eagerly watching! (To see if it's terrifying - ha!) :-)

    I'll go add your button to my sign-on, for folks who want to read faster than... a year, lol.

  3. I'm in! I'll be reading the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation also. I'm looking forward to it. Now I have to hurry up and finish Anna Karenina so that I can delve into this one.

  4. I am already making my way through this and will take alot longer to finish but I'll certainly be reading with interest and commenting.

  5. I wrote a post with some tips for reading War and Peace over at The Blue Bookcase if anyone is interested:

    good luck everyone! :)

  6. I want to read this but I have to find a copy, I'm going to be visiting secondhand book stores over the holidays and if I manage to pick one up I'll join officially then. If not, good luck! And I'll certainly be around for other read-a-longs if I don't join this one.

  7. I'm going the year route with Jillian because I'm scared of this one! I'll be interested to follow your readalong, though, so I can get a taste of what is to come! Gook luck!!

  8. Jillian's readalong prompted me to focus on my copy of WP. I knew a year was too long for me so I took about a month to read (along with some other things). I quite enjoyed the process itself. I think it helps to think of it as a serial, a soap opera almost, something that you don't expect to end anytime soon. Thinking of it as something to conquer makes it harder to approach. Having said that, I did keep track on my blog of how many pages I had read.

    And by all means have a cheat sheet with all the characters, my edition had one at the back, it is so easy to get them all confused. Have fun!

  9. Well this is certainly one of those books that I've wanted to read, so I'm in. Talk about a nice chunky choice for my first read-along. My blog is still waiting to be filled with my thinky thoughts so this might also help toward that. :)

    I like the breakdown by volume. It seems very doable looking at it like that. I'm going to purchase the translation that your using for my Nook. As much as I would like the paper copy, I think reading the e-book version will be easier for me given how huge it is.

  10. Ok, I am in! January is gonna be busy...what with War and Peace and The Woman in White and Rebecca!! I am nervous, but excited! :)

  11. I want to read this so bad, but I'm hesitant to committ before I know if I will have time. I hope I can though!

  12. Yes, I would love to participate! I'll add this to end of my blog post for today.

  13. Ok, ok, I'm in! I got a B&N giftcard for Christmas and immediately ordered this translation of War & Peace. Sign me up and I'll post about the read-along. Yay!

  14. Sign me up! I've read this before, but the wrong translation! I'd like to reread it with a better translation.

  15. I think I'm going to attempt this one too. I hope I finish!

  16. Tahleen pointed me to this readalong. I'm in. I think enough time has passed since I finished Anna K that I can read W&P. I thought about making this my first read of 2011, but seeing this confirms it.

    Thanks for hosting!

  17. I'm in. I thought I had already commented on this post long ago! I'm going to try to read it straight through as I find that once my attention is diverted it's immensely difficult to go back into the world of Russian angst.

  18. Is it too late to sign up for this! I've always thought of reading this tome as a chore, but this is a nice way of getting it off my list! :D

  19. Gah, I am so far behind... don't think I'll get through part 1 by tomorrow! Eek!

  20. I would like to participate in the read-along! I started this a few months back and have put it down to read other things but I want to get back into the swing of it.

  21. Ha! how funny, I just found your read-a-long and have basically been doing a similar timeline..though I started in December. So I finished a little earlier. I LOOOVED it until that damn epilogue. Left a bad taste in my mouth.