War and Peace Read-Along: Week 3, Books 4 and 5

76051-war2band2bpeace2bread-a-longThis week’s reading was so much more interesting! There was drama, dueling, death, rejected marriage proposals! I love 19th-century drama :)

Here are my answer’s to this week’s discussion questions:

1. Are you managing to keep all the characters straight in your head?
Yes, finally. The only one I had to look up this week was Denisov, because I was confusing him with Dolokhov. And the fact that I spelled their names right without looking them up is saying something!

2. Have your tactics that we discussed in Week One changed since beginning this book?
I’m no longer reading every night. Instead, I read larger portions so I can spend other nights doing/reading other things.

3. Aww, poor Pierre. Do we feel sorry for him or is it his own fault for marrying for lust?
I pitied Pierre a lot in the earlier books. I felt sorry for him and I sympathized with him, but as Books 4 and 5 progressed, I started getting fed up with him and his naivety. I mean, how many times is he going to let people take advantage of him?

4. Do you think Dolokhov will get his comeuppance – not only for sleeping with Helene, but for basically bankrupting Rostov?
But did he sleep with Helene? We don’t know! No one confirmed or denied it. And although he bankrupted Rostov, Rostov did nothing to stop it. He’s just as guilty. And I hope he follows through with his plan to reimburse his parents. I like Rostov more than some of the other characters, so I hope he does the right thing.

5. Who knew the FREEMASONS were part of War & Peace!? How do you feel about this?
Confused. The philosophical discussions go right over my head, and the induction ceremony felt so cult-like.

6. Do you think Tolstoy dislikes women as much as he seems to, or is it a form of satire?
Hmm…I think he satirizes all the characters, not just the women. Did Tolstoy dislike women? I haven’t done any research on it, so if he did, maybe I’m just not reading deeply enough into the novel.

“I am afraid my way of looking at the world is so opposed to yours that we shall not understand one another.” – Pierre

Are you reading along with us? How are you liking the book so far? I flew through Book 4; it was so intriguing!

War and Peace Read-Along: Week Two, Books Two and Three

War and Peace Read Along

Hanna from Booking In Heels is hosting a read-along of War and Peace through February, March, and half of April, and I am one of the bloggers crazy enough to join in! Honestly, it’s not as bad as I always imagined it would be, although it can be pretty daunting.

Unfortunately, I was behind in my reading for this past week! I think that can be attributed to the fact that this weekend I was busy doing Valentine’s Day festivities with my hubby (so totally more important that Tolstoy), but also…there were TONS of loooooong war chapters this week, am I right? It took me most of the week to get through Book Two because it was full of war strategies and history lessons. Book Three was much easier to get through.

[spoilers below for Books 2 and 3 of War and Peace!]

The biggest happenings in Books Two and Three are the marriage of Pierre and Helen (ugh), Marya’s rejection of Anatole (YES!), and the Battle of Austerlitz, where the Russians suffer a huge defeat.

1. Do you feel that the tone of the novel has changed this week? Has that affected your enjoyment?
Book Two was sooooo long and honestly I got pretty tired of all the war descriptions. I was longing for Book Three because they included several “gossipy” chapters (that’s what I’m calling them from now on since they feature the two-faced gossipy characters) where some more interesting plot points unfolded. But the last half of Book Three brought us back to the war front, but at least it was a tad bit more exciting.

2. Do you feel comfortable telling other people that you’re reading War & Peace?
Absolutely. I just don’t like being applauded for reading it. Yeah, it’s a big personal accomplishment for me, but I’m not reading it to be impressive. I’m reading it because I genuinely want to.

3. How do you feel about Helene and Pierre’s marriage? Happily ever after or mildly doomed?
Totally doomed. I was practically yelling at Pierre to open his eyes and realize how badly Prince Vasili was playing him. But now that they’re married, I would love for it to work out. I just don’t think it will.

4. Should Marya have married Anatole or should she have stayed at home with her father?
As much as I dislike Marya’s father, Anatole is a huge egotistical jerk. I love Marya; even though she’s naive as anything, she’s also pure of heart and completely selfless. I’m holding onto the hope that one day she’ll marry someone who is actually honorable (is that an impossible hope? DON’T TELL ME!)

“My vocation is to be happy with another kind of happiness, the happiness of love and self-sacrifice.” – Marya

5. Andrei has featured in a lot of the war-related chapters so far. Do you think he’ll ever make it to military greatness?
I am now a quarter of the way through this novel and I STILL don’t know how I feel about Andrei. I don’t necessarily like him, but I don’t dislike him either. I think he could be a great military figure, but will he succeed in that? *shrugs*

Ok, I hope this week’s chapters are more captivating than last week’s were! How are the rest of the Read-Alongers doing??

War and Peace Read-Along: Week One, Book One

I recently heard about a War and Peace read-along hosted by Hanna at Booking In Heels and since I know this novel will be much easier to read with a group of other bloggers than it would be to read it on my own, I have decided to participate!

As you can see, it is a two-and-a-half month-long event, so we only have to read 1-2 books a week (there are 15 plus 2 epilogues), which is doable.

This week we read Book 1, and since I have never read anything by Tolstoy or any other Russian novelist, it took a lot of effort to keep track of all of the characters (there are plenty), as well as figure out how to even pronounce their names.

[spoilers below for Book 1 of War and Peace]

The main plot points that take place during Book 1 are the death of Count Bezukhov, the legitimacy of his son Pierre (who is then able to receive the Count’s inheritance, much to the shock of the rest of the family), and the deployment of Prince Andrew.

  1. What pre-existing ideas did you have about War and Peace?
    I expected it to be long and boring.
  2. On that note, is it as bad as you’d expected?
    While it is long (1,000+ pages), it isn’t boring. At the same time, not much has happened either. So it’s interesting that it’s able to keep my attention.
  3. What strategies are you employing? (e.g. reading in short bursts, using your Kindle on your commute, taking notes about the characters…)
    I printed out a list of characters (8 pages long!) because there are so many and it’s hard to keep track of who is who. At this point, only a handful of the characters are familiar to me–when I see Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya (isn’t that a mouthful?) or Pierre or Prince Vicili, I know who they are. But most of the characters are completely unknown to me.
    I’m also reading a specific number of chapters per night (~4) so that helps keep me on track and the chapters are fairly short so I can take breaks.

    War and Peace

    Keeping my 8-page list of War and Peace characters handy!

  4. How are you getting along with your translation?
    The Kindle version I’m using is great. Much better than lugging around a printed book. They’ve translated the French segments, but since I speak French that wouldn’t be a problem for me. (Side note: this also aided me while reading Jane Eyre. I think every reader should learn French; you never know when you’ll need to translate book dialogue!)
  5. Most and least favorite characters?
    Favorite character: So far I like Princess Mary (I think she also goes by Maria?). She seems sweet.
    Least favorite: By far, Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya is my least favorite. She reminds me of those women who just butt into everything that doesn’t concern them. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way?
  6. How do you feel about the way women are treated in the book?
    I feel that they are looked down upon; their opinions are condescended and they are often criticized by the male characters (and even other female characters).

“I am a woman, and you think we are all stupid;” – Princess Katishe

If you’re interested in reading along with us, it’s not too late to join! Click here for the schedule.