Classics for Beginners discussion

Old Trimonthly Read > War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - Parts 1-4

Comments Showing 1-37 of 37 (37 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nicolle (new)

Nicolle We are reading this from 1st December to the 28th February.


message 2: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments I have been wanting to read this forever! Is there a reading schedule for this tri-monthly read? How far should we plan to read each month?

message 3: by Chatterjak (new)

Chatterjak Do I remember some clever person worked out its about eighty pages a day, or have I imagined it?! I'll be reading it on kindle so no idea how to figure it out - I'm looking forward to it though, I rather ambitiously started trying to read it when I was about twelve & gave up! I think I'm just going to start it & enjoy & not worry about how long it takes - I expect a few of us will take a little longer!

message 4: by Nicolle (new)

Nicolle I think I'll put the topics into parts of four and people can read at their own pace.

message 5: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (youratlass) | 3 comments Well looking through the table of contents there seem to be 15 books plus two epilogues. There are thirteen weeks so a good average would be a little more than a book a week. :)

message 6: by Nicolle (new)

Nicolle If I complete this it may be the best achievement of my life...

message 7: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Me too, Nicolle!

message 8: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth White I plan on reading this as it was on my 2014 reading list before we even voted on it, however I always do "holiday reading" as well. So with reading my holiday themed stuff (this year it's "50 Best Loved Christmas Stories and Poems") as well as Don Quixote for our monthly read I don't envision starting this one at least until late December.

message 9: by John (new)

John Garner (jdgarner68) | 82 comments These two books we are reading now, Quixote included, are stretching it a bit for me. I love to read, but we'll see.

message 10: by John Mikel (new)

John Mikel Zudlow (zudlow) I'm reading War & Peace, trying to follow alongside in Russian as well in some parts. Just started part two. Is anybody reading both translations?

message 11: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Not me. I'm reading a translation by Constance Garnett.

message 12: by Nicolle (new)

Nicolle I'm reading the free one from project Gutenberg translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.

message 13: by Lacy (new)

Lacy (lacy_stewart) | 15 comments I was so excited to read this with you, but I don't think that I will have time. I hope that you enjoy it. :)

message 14: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) I have the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation - a Christmas gift from a few years back. I hope this group read will give me the boost I need to finally get the darn thing read!

message 15: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments I have a gr friend that mentioned having a tough time keeping the numerous characters straight. So, I researched and printed a family tree of the five aristocratic families in the novel. I just finished chapter one, and I'm definitely glad I had that chart!

message 16: by John Mikel (new)

John Mikel Zudlow (zudlow) You're right, Sunny, if you don't keep track of who's who you miss half the story!!! I'm keeping a running list of characters, writing down their descriptions and defining characteristics. It has helped A LOT.

message 17: by Laurie (last edited Dec 11, 2013 03:15PM) (new)

Laurie Hi RitaSkeeter, I am reading Louise Maude's translation for Kindle. I am definitely enjoying it. The toughest part of the book so far has been keeping up with all the characters. I have taken the advice of some of the other members of this group and I am keeping a list of the characters to refer to while I read.

message 18: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Part 1, Chapter 16: I don't understand her jest about the pudding. Was something lost in translation. or did I miss something?

message 19: by John Mikel (new)

John Mikel Zudlow (zudlow) You're talking about Natasha standing up to Maria Dmitrievna (whom I picture as Edith Evans), right?

There's a lot, I've noticed, in this story that's "not important," and by that I mean, that doesn't have direct significance to the plot. Here, Natasha's just being goaded on by her little brother into being rude to the guest of honor. I think it's to enlighten her character as a playful, light-hearted soul. To show us that she's not afraid to stand out, take a chance, that she's a bright little extrovert girl.

message 20: by John Mikel (new)

John Mikel Zudlow (zudlow) Oh wait, or were you talking about…


"No, what kind?"

Yeah…I didn't get that either. lol

message 21: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Yes, YES, Rita! That was the part, and your interpretation makes a lot of sense. I re-read that little dialogue applying your interpretation, and it suddenly became clear. Thanks!

message 22: by Sunny (last edited Dec 16, 2013 12:53PM) (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments So, I did all that family tree drawing to keep up with all of the characters in Part 1, and now that I'm in Part 2, it's a completely different set of characters? Is that the layout of this book? One part peace, one part war, and so on?

message 23: by John Mikel (new)

John Mikel Zudlow (zudlow) Joy wrote: "John and Pete went to war. Pete died. John scored many victories for his platoon but he felt like a murderer. Finally he got a weekend pass and went to see his girl. "

I honestly would've enjoyed this more too. I love the peace parts…they play like a TV drama. The war parts, however, are more like a documentary dramatization.

message 24: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Joy wrote: "John and Pete went to war. Pete died...."

Oh, I feel so inappropriate right now. I read that and almost spit out my coffee! Hysterical! No. Bad Sunny! Not, not, not funny! LOL!

message 25: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Hi, Karen! My version (from Barnes & Noble) has a short endnote about that:

"In the battle scenes, the narrator frequently resorts to the first-person collective pronoun, thereby facilitating the reader's identification with the actors and enhancing the sense of a collective history."

I hope this helps. :)

message 26: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments My translation actually said somewhere in the story that he has a speech impediment of some sort. I can't remember where in the story, though. I'll see if I can find it and, if I do, I'll let you know.

message 27: by John Mikel (new)

John Mikel Zudlow (zudlow) Karen: Denisov does have a speech impediment, it even describes it in the Russian edition that he drops his R's, and it seems to replace them with "Г," which is sometimes pronounced as "h." I'm deducing that he pronounces his words with a French R, a cross between and H and a W.

message 28: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments I might be falling behind the group, since I'm still on part 3... the holidays have been busy. But, WOW! The Battle of Austerlitz! I'm sucked right back in to the story. Tolstoy must have spent two lifetimes just people-watching - he's so good at describing the thoughts and feelings of every single character!

message 29: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Part 4, Chapter 2: Can anyone help me understand what Anna Mihalovna was saying about why Pierre is so sad? Something about Dolokhov? Did he do something to disgrace the family name or have an affair with Helene or what?

message 30: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Thanks, Karen! That helps!

message 31: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments PRINCE ANDREY!!!

message 32: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Sunny in Wonderland wrote: "PRINCE ANDREY!!!"

Yes, PRINCE ANDREY! I am almost done Part 4 and so far Prince Andrey is my favorite character. I wonder if he will be my favorite character by the end of the book. I am finally enjoying this book. Part 1 dragged and I almost abandoned it, I am so glad I did not.

message 33: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments Laurie, he's my favorite character as well.

I'm on part 7, so I can't say anymore about it on this thread. But, I'm looking forward to your thoughts in the thread for parts 5-8. :)

message 34: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments So glad to have you joining us, Tiana! Is this your first time reading Tolstoy?

message 35: by Nicolle (new)

Nicolle I have decided to buy the book and read as I'm more comfortable than reading an ebook, plus want to get the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation as it seems like the best from googling.

message 36: by Sunny (new)

Sunny (travellingsunny) | 231 comments I think that's a good idea. I'm up to Part 10 now, but I've actually slowed down my reading progress on this one. Not from lack of interest, but I have it on my nook, and I've increased the font size to super-extra large and read it while I'm on the elliptical. (I WILL lose 50 pounds in the next 6 months. Tolstoy will get me there, because I keep hopping back on for 10 more minutes just so I can read another chapter! LOL!)

message 37: by Nicolle (new)

Nicolle Finally got a copy, just in time for the end of the read as usual! Will start tomorrow.

back to top