Kalen's Reviews > War and Peace

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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's review
Nov 03, 2013

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011-reads
Recommended for: Masochists
Read from January 02 to December 03, 2011

** 1/2

I've made no secret of the fact that I didn't love this book, but I did stick with it and I think others should read it. It's an important part of "the canon" and it is far more accessible than many people realize. It's not a difficult read at all--until you get to Epilogue 2--and then you're 95% or so done.

I've got a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head but foremost where the hell was Tolstoy's editor? And then when you think you're done with the book, you've got not one but two epilogues AND then an appendix. It's like being cornered by the guy at a party who just can't stop talking.

I did truly enjoy the "Peace" parts and think Tolstoy had a wicked sense of humor. He was not a big fan of the aristocracy, and makes no secret of it. These sections were like reading a soap opera and provided a lot of color and a lot of laughs. Could have used more of them, honestly.

I'm sure I've got more to say when I've had a chance to step away for a bit. This has been a work in progress since January and I need to get W&P out of my brain for a bit.
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Reading Progress

01/02/2011 page 22
2.0% ""How can one be well...when one suffers morally?""
01/03/2011 page 35
3.0% ""...finally he thought that all these words of honor were mere conventions, with no definite meaning, especially if you considered that you might die the next day, or something to extraordinary might happen to you that there would no longer be either honor or dishonor. That sort of reasoning often came to Pierre, destroying all his decisions and suppositions. He went to Kuragin's.""
01/06/2011 page 70
5.0% ""Moscow has nothing else to do but gossip.""
01/10/2011 page 87
7.0% ""Just as the sixth anglaise was being danced in the Rostovs' ballroom to the sounds of the weary, out-of-tune musicians and the weary servants and cooks were preparing supper, Count Bezukhov had his sixth stroke.""
01/29/2011 page 137
11.0% "...in the council of battalion commanders it was decided to present the regiment for review in parade uniform, on the grouns that it is always better to bow too much than not to bow enough."
02/12/2011 page 165
13.0% ""I cannot consider that," Prince Andrei said coldly, and thought: "I'm going in order to save the army." "Mon cher, vous etes un heros," said Bilibin."
03/22/2011 page 233
18.0% ""Yes, now you and I have nothing left but to drink sweet wine, my dear; now it's time for these young ones to be so boldly and defiantly happy.""And what stupidity all this that I'm going on about is, as if it interests me," thought the diplomat, glancing at the happy faces of the lovers. "That is happiness!""
03/25/2011 page 248
19.0% ""He was indeed in love with the tsar, and with the glory of Russian arms, and with the hope of the future triumph. And he was not the only one who experienced that feeling in those memorable days preceding the battle of Austerlitz: nine tenths of the men in the Russian army were then in love, though less rapturously, with their tsar and with the glory of Russian arms."
03/25/2011 page 248
19.0% ""The next day the sovereign stayed at Wischau. The court physician Villiers was summoned to him several times. In the headquarters and among the nearby troops the news spread that the sovereign was unwell. He had eaten nothing and slept poorly that night, as people close to him said. The cause of it was the strong impression made on the sovereign's sensitive soul by the sight of the wounded and dead.""
03/25/2011 page 260
20.0% ""Eh, mon cher general, je me mele de riz et des cotelettes, melez-vous des affaires de la guerre." (Ah, my dear general, I'm involved in rice and cutlets, involve yourself in matters of war.)"
03/28/2011 page 297
23.0% "I'm caught up!"
03/29/2011 page 317
25.0% ""He had evidently had his hair and side-whiskers trimmed just before the dinner, which changed his physiognomy to its disadvantage.""
04/01/2011 page 347
27.0% """Yes, Count," she used to say, "he's too noble and pure-hearted for the depraved world of our time. No one loves virtue, it's a sty in everyone's eye."""
04/03/2011 page 363
29.0% ""Whatever he started thinking about, he came back to the same questions, which he could not resolve and could not stop asking himself. It was as if the main screw in his head, which held his whole life together, had become *stripped*. The screw would not go in, would not come out, but turned in the same groove without catching hold, and it was impossible to stop turning it.""
04/03/2011 page 363
29.0% ""Your way of thinking is a lamentable error.""
04/03/2011 page 363
29.0% ""Look at your inner man with spiritual eyes and ask if you are pleased with yourself. What have you achieved, being guided by reason alone? What are you? You are young, you are rich, you are educated, my dear sir. What have you done with all these good things that have been given to you? Are you content with yourself and your life?""
04/09/2011 page 418
33.0% "On to Part III!"
04/10/2011 page 439
34.0% ""Pierre was struck for the first time at this meeting by the infinite diversity of human minds, which makes it so that no truth presents itself to two people in the same way.""
04/15/2011 page 462
36.0% ""In Natasha's eyes, all who were at the ball were equally kind, nice, wonderful people, and loved each other: no one could offend anyone, and therefore they should all be happy.""
04/17/2011 page 495
39.0% """Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury their dead, but while I'm alive, I must live and be happy," he thought.""
04/17/2011 page 557
44.0% ""Christmastime came and, besides the festal liturgy, besides the solemn and boring felicitations of the neighbors and the servants, besides the new dresses everybody put on, there was nothing special to mark it as Christmastime, yet in the windless twenty degrees of frost, in the bright, blinding sunlight of day and the starry winter light at night, one felt called upon to mark this time somehow.""
04/17/2011 page 557
44.0% ""For him, Moscow was comfortable, warm, habitual, and dirty, like and old dressing gown.""
05/01/2011 page 632
50.0% "The war is just now starting. The Peace bits are much easier to read than the War-y bits."
08/07/2011 page 686
54.0% "I'm back but fighting for momentum."
08/30/2011 page 801
63.0% "Slowly but surely...."
08/31/2011 page 821
64.0% "Caught up--on schedule!"
10/29/2011 page 1075
84.0% 2 comments
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