I Read A Lot: “War & Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

Subtitle: Am sure glad I’m reading it electronically because this book is massive and I don’t have the arm strength although my Yoga teacher probably would be impressed at me getting the extra weight training

I’m renowned as a book nerd by those that know me best. I Read A Lot is a semi-regular feature on the blog in which I share with you what I currently have my nose buried in.

As a teacher of English literature – at high school, we’re expected to focus far less on the language aspects of English – I found that over the last few years I’ve had to make a conscious effort to read outside of work. It’s surprising as reading is one of the things that helps me relax but sometimes it seems to be too much effort when I am wrangling kids at the library to select a book of my own. Having an iPad (with iBook and Kindle apps) has definitely helped me boost my reading; it just goes to show that I’ll pay a small fee for convenience! Hear that, marketers?

In saying that, many of the books I’ve downloaded to date have been either sensationalist (I have an odd quirk for reading autobiographies of Mormon sister wives) or Young Adult fiction – I have to keep up with the students that I’m teaching. Recently, I’ve decided to work through some of the classics that I haven’t read yet, thus downloading the MASSIVE novel War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy.


What I have found interesting is the ensemble cast nature of Tolstoy’s novel; the multi-layered story and the way it progresses over time, like following threads through a tapestry. I can’t deny that a little appeal comes from having the same name as one of the characters, although said character has done nothing outstanding yet. After reading in the evenings for three weeks, I’m still not even half-way through, so I’ll keep you posted as to whether she becomes more interesting! Is Tolstoy the grandfather of the ensemble cast story – the predecessor of authors like Penny Vincenzi and Ken Follett?

I do find it a little bit hard to keep track of all the Russian names – nicknames and formal names and when they are referred to by the patronymic names. It is becoming easier as it goes along, however, and understanding in what situations characters are referred to formally or informally. I think that the story gripping me most at the moment (out of all the characters) is the story of Pierre and his struggle to be the best he can be… telling, much?

At the rate I’m going, I hope to finish it in a couple of months and I’m determined to see it through to the end – if only to say that I have done so! In saying that, the book is gripping me enough that I am thinking that I’ll be able to keep the motivation up 🙂 I’d love it if you would join in with me!

Do you ever set yourself challenges? With your reading or with other arenas of life? I’d love to know!


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