W&P progress report

I’ve been reading War and Peace for about two months now, so I thought it would be a good time to do a progress post.

About a month ago, I estimated how long it would take me to finish reading this epic tome, and based on my previous reading rate, it was somewhere close to two years. I’ve never taken more than a year to finish reading a book, let alone two years, so the prospect was quite terrifying to me. As such, I made an effort to read more, and have trimmed back the timeline to less than one and a half years. I’m hoping with all the public holidays coming up, I might get a bit of a boost to my reading, and cut this back further.

I’m currently somewhere in the middle of Part Two, which is all about military stuff — something about the campaign against Napoleon. However, knowing nothing about Napoleon (except that he is a significant historical figure, who was allegedly quite short), I’m not sure I’m following everything that’s happening. I kind of feel like I need a quick history lesson before I proceed, but, the weather being humid and lethargy-inducing, I don’t really feel like learning.

Hopefully the weather will mellow out soon, and I’ll consider it. Until then, I will just half-guess based on the notes at the back of the book. 

For some reason I expected this to be similar to Anna Karenina in the sense that I didn’t need to know historical facts to really grasp what’s going on. I suppose I really should have known better based on the title and the blurb.

I’m still enjoying it, though. Tolstoy’s writing is as excellent as I remember (although I do think Anna Karenina was much easier to read, but that’s probably because the concepts themselves were easier to understand than in War and Peace).

I think I’m also finally getting a grasp of who’s who, which is no easy task considering how many characters there are, multiplied by all the different names with which each character is referred to. It probably helps that I’m reading more than I was before. I suppose it’s all about keeping it in working memory (and keeping my memory working).

Well, on that note, I think I’ll go laze around somewhere cool, and do some more reading!

4 thoughts on “W&P progress report

  1. Okay, quick history lesson: Napoleon was a brilliant army leader and politician. He rapidly conquered most of Europe. In 1804 he crowned himself emperor of France (which had become a republic after the French Revolution in 1792). In 1807 Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I became allies, meaning that he would not invade Russia. Did this however happen in 1812. He got as far as Moscow, but by then it was winter, and the French army was ill prepared for the Russian winter. The Russians used this to their advantage and won the great Battle of Borodino. The French lost many soldiers and in 1815 he was finally defeated in the Battle of Waterloo, meaning the end of his empire.

    • Thank goodness you’re here!
      So before they were allies in 1807, Napoleon and Alexander didn’t like each other? Some of the characters in War and Peace seem to have differing opinions of Napoleon

      • Yes, some Russians thought he was a genius, while others thought he was the devil incarnate. They thought that Alexander I was naive to trust him, and of course it turned out they were right. Nonetheless the tsar still had an almost god-like status in those days, and Alexander was very popular.

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