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 Goodreads.com:
"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.
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!