2022 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2016 > War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

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message 1: by ZaraS (last edited Apr 01, 2016 09:50AM) (new)

ZaraS  *book reviewer | 2365 comments War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy This thread is to discuss Leo Tolstoy's book, War and Peace.

***Please remember to mark spoilers.***

Cassandra, Alison, Sinead, Gabriella, Rachael, Maya, Sid, Lindsay, Ayush, Martha, Ana, Robyn

message 2: by ZaraS (new)

ZaraS  *book reviewer | 2365 comments Suggested break down of reading so that you can check in and let us know how you're going. The following breakdown is purely a suggestion and is therefore not set in stone.

Rather than putting dates for each section I've done it so that it takes into account that not everybody will necessarily have the book at the same time.

Month 1
Week 1: 87 pages
Week 2: 87 pages
Week 3: 87 pages
Week 4: 87 pages

Month 2
Week 1: 87 pages
Week 2: 87 pages
Week 3: 87 pages
Week 4: 87 pages

Month 3
Week 1: 87 pages
Week 2: 87 pages
Week 3: 87 pages
Week 4: 87 pages

Month 4
Week 1: 87 pages
Week 2: 87 pages
Week 3: 87 pages
Week 4: 87 pages

Please note: If you prefer to read this another way please feel free to do so.

message 3: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments I'm already dying a little bit inside. Yay, Russian lit!

message 4: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments I forgot this was spread out over four months rather than three, but that actually helps it feel less intimidating. I'm excited to discuss this with you!

message 5: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (allons-y-bookworm) | 3072 comments This will be my first buddy read. I have a couple of books to read before this but I am looking forward to joining you!

message 6: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Welcome, Rachael! I probably won't be following exactly week-by-week either, and that's completely fine. It is nice to know how much you have to read to stay "on track" to finish in the four months, though. :)

message 7: by Bernardo (new)

Bernardo Pina (bernardopina) | 2 comments The main editions have this 1.392 pages? Bought a week ago an edition that has 2.536 pages. o.O

Or are we talking just about the first half?

message 8: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Hmm... Part of that could be font size - my edition I think is around 1400 pages with tiny print. It also could be the translation. When I get home I'll check my book and the translation.

It might be useful if other people post their translations as well.

If we have the same translation or similar translations, we might be able to go by chapter instead of by pages - we'll figure something out!

message 9: by Bernardo (new)

Bernardo Pina (bernardopina) | 2 comments I suggest to split the challange into chapters, not in pages, as the number of pages will vary from edition to edition. I guess the number of chapters is the same.

message 10: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Sounds good! I'll post a list of chapters that roughly correspond to even weekly chunks later tonight.

message 11: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments I have the Barnes & Noble edition which has 1110 not including the endnotes. I have a goal to finish this by the end of the month so I can finish out my other 2 big books, so I'll make sure to just record my thoughts for every step along the way so I can keep reading with y'all. :)

If you're looking for decent sized chunks, I've been reading along with Cliffsnotes so far (I'm like 8 chapters in, which is like 20 pages >.<) and they've got chunks already portioned out. Just an option to make your life a little easier :)

message 12: by Rachael (last edited Feb 26, 2016 12:31PM) (new)

Rachael (allons-y-bookworm) | 3072 comments I'll be using my Kindle to read this which uses percentages. I don't know if this will help anyone else but splitting it into even chunks means reading 6.25% per week over four months (so like 1% a day which seems manageable)

message 13: by Gabriella (new)

Gabriella | 400 comments I die a little bit inside every time I think about the number of pages lol

message 14: by Sid (new)

Sid Singh | 30 comments New to the v roup, but I would like to join as well. W&P has been on my shelf for over a year, still need to read it.

message 15: by Cassandra (last edited Feb 27, 2016 10:00AM) (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Okay, here is some information for deciding how to organize the reading for this book.

The book is organized into volumes, books, and chapters. I found a couple ways it could be broken down into 16 week chunks.

Almost Exactly Equal Number of Pages per Week
Unfortunately, this breaks up the books in a weird way.

Week 1: Book 1, chapters 1-21
Week 2: Book 1, chapters 22-28 & Book 2, chapters 1-10
Week 3: Book 2, chapters 11-21 & Book 3, chapters 1-6
Week 4: Book 3, chapters 7-19 & Book 4, chapters 1-3
Week 5: Book 4, chapters 4-16 & Book 5, chapters 1-12
Week 6: Book 5, chapters 13-22 & Book 6, chapters 1-17
Week 7: Book 6, chapters 18-26 & Book 7, chapters 1-11
Week 8: Book 7, chapters 12-13 & Book 8, chapters 1-22 & Book 9, chapter 1
Week 9: Book 9, chapters 2-23
Week 10: Book 10, chapters 1-19
Week 11: Book 10, chapters 20-39 & Book 11, chapters 1-5
Week 12: Book 11, chapters 6-29
Week 13: Book 11, chapters 30-34 & Book 12, chapters 1-16
Week 14: Book 13, chapters 1-19 & Book 14, chapters 1-15
Week 15: Book 14, chapters 16-19 & Book 15, chapters 1-21 & First Epilogue, chapters 1-4
Week 16: First Epilogue, chapters 5-16 & Second Epilogue, chapters 1-12

Thematic Chunks
Unfortunately, the number of pages varies per week. I put the number of pages according to my edition so you can get a sense for length - the pages will likely NOT be the same for your edition, but the respective lengths should be.

Book 1: 82 pages
Book 2: 70 pages
Book 3: 74 pages
Book 4: 42 pages
Book 5: 58 pages
Book 6: 56 pages
Book 7: 38 pages
Book 8: 54 pages
Book 9: 64 pages
Book 10: 110 pages
Book 11: 86 pages
Book 12: 40 pages
Book 13: 34 pages
Book 14: 36 pages
Book 15: 42 pages
First Epilogue: 40 pages
Second Epilogue: 30 pages

Note also that there are 17 thematic chunks, so two shorter chunks would need to be combined if you want to stick to a 16-week schedule.

message 16: by Cassandra (last edited Feb 27, 2016 10:01AM) (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Personally, I'm going to do the thematic chunk method and will probably combine the two epilogues for one roughly 70 page chunk for the last week.

Note: Each person can have their own method, just make sure that when you post spoilers they are in a spoiler tag or otherwise clearly marked (and you include the chapter through which must be read so that it isn't spoiled).

EDIT: Welcome Sid! Glad to have you on board. :)

message 17: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 1083 comments now that I see everything written out, its very intimidating!! But I'm still gonna do my beat and read it! I have it on my nook, so I won't get freaked out by the physical size. I wanna read Four first, so I might start a few weeks late, but I'll hopefully catch up. Oh, and I have I am Malala scheduled for March too.

message 18: by ZaraS (new)

ZaraS  *book reviewer | 2365 comments welcome Sid to the group and this read.

Thanks Cassandra for these two breakdowns. I don't have a copy of the book so it's helpful to see how the book is divided.

message 19: by Cassandra (last edited Feb 28, 2016 11:01AM) (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments I agree, Alison. It does seem incredibly intimidating, and somehow I thought that I would be reading both War and Peace and Anna Karenina in the same year. We'll see about that!

I don't know that I'll stick to the week-by-week breakdown exactly, but my goal is to finish all of the chunks for the month by the end of that month.

No problem, Zara - it's hard to know how to break up a book this big and complicated.

message 20: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments It's not too intimidating when you get into it. It takes a second to latch onto that translated Russian literature state of mind, but once you clear that it becomes a lot easier to read through. I finished Anna Karenina a couple years back, and it was about the same thing.

message 21: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Good to know! We can do this. :)

message 22: by Sid (new)

Sid Singh | 30 comments This looks great. Thanks for the breakdown. I personally like the thematic chunking as it seems more structured and completing "a book" will motivate me.

One thing I found confusing is the cast of characters. I actually printed off a summary sheet of the characters (without any spoilers) that I am going to use as a bookmark. I think that will help.

message 23: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments Sid wrote: "This looks great. Thanks for the breakdown. I personally like the thematic chunking as it seems more structured and completing "a book" will motivate me.

One thing I found confusing is the cast of..."

That's actually a brilliant idea. I find myself mentally going "okay, that's the Anna that no one really likes..." just to remember who is who.

message 24: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments My copy has a cast of characters at the beginning, so I'm sure I'll be flipping back and forth regularly.

message 25: by Ayush (last edited Feb 29, 2016 11:29AM) (new)

Ayush Mehrotra (ayushmehrotra) Hey guys, I'm new to the group (and the concept of Reading Challenge). I've been meaning to read this for really long but never had the courage.. until now that is.

I'll try to follow the schedule.

Looking forward to nourishing discussions.

(I'll check out how to mark spoilers while commenting)

PS: I'm reading it on Kindle.

message 26: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Welcome, Ayush! Please let us know if you have any questions. The schedule is a recommendation, so don't worry if you can't follow it exactly.

To mark spoilers, you can use spoiler tags (change the []s to <>s for it to work):
[spoiler]Write comment here[/spoiler]

Alternately, you can just write something like

Read chapter 15 first!
*********** SPOILER ************
Write comment here.

As long as it's clear!

message 27: by Annie (new)

Annie (annie-somanybookssolittletime) | 52 comments Hello!
I just bought the BBC Books edition and it has 994 pages.
It's written in so tiny characters I am not sure I won't need a magnifier!
It really looks like a bible.
I'll try to follow with a mix between weeks and thematic chunks, as my reading speed is not the one of a native English speaking (English is only my third language, my mother language being French!), but I'll do my best to keep up!
Good luck to everybody!

message 28: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay | 1327 comments I would like to take part too if that is ok? This is my neighbour's favourite book and I always feelI have let him down by not having read it. I have it on Kindle and Audible and I like the idea of the thematic chunks. I think this is a daunting prospect and reading it this way will help motivate me. Much needed!

message 29: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Welcome Annie and Lindsay! Always glad to have more people in our little War and Peace support group. :)

Annie - don't worry about reading speed. Go at your own pace, and if you need to stretch it out over more time than we have planned, I'm sure you won't be the only one. We can always extend it!

message 30: by Sid (last edited Feb 29, 2016 05:44PM) (new)

Sid Singh | 30 comments So, I assume "Week 1" is this week correct? 2/29, since it is pretty much the first week of March?

Meaning, the thematic breakdown would be something like this:

March 4 Book 1
March 11 Book 2
March 18 Book 3
March 25 Book 4
April 1 Book 5
April 8 Book 6
April 15 Book 7
April 22 Book 8
April 29 Book 9
May 6 Book 10
May 13 Book 11
May 20 Book 12
May 27 Book 13
June 3 Book 14
June 10 Book 15
June 17 First Epilogue & Second Epilogue

Just want to make sure I understand the dating correct. Thanks!

message 31: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Yup! Would it be helpful if I wrote out the dates for each week with my thematic breakdown?

message 32: by ZaraS (new)

ZaraS  *book reviewer | 2365 comments Lindsay and Ayush, I have added you both.

message 33: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 61 comments Hey everyone! I have always wanted to pick up War and Peace but was always too intimidated by it. But I love the idea of doing a group read and breaking it down over four months! Is it okay if i join??

Happy Reading !!

message 34: by Cassandra (last edited Feb 29, 2016 06:12PM) (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Thanks for coming up with the dates, Sid! Those are the correct Fridays that end the weeks.

Welcome, Carolyn! We're glad to have you. :)

message 35: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments Yay, a big group! I read the part for this week already (oops?) and pre-wrote my thoughts (I'm an overachiever....) so I'll throw them out there when it's officially March or other people start reading!

message 36: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments (The way you split them up, at least for the first chunk of Chapters 1-21, is actually really well broken up. Chapter 22 starts off in a different area with different people. So I'm going by that one.)

message 37: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Interesting! I was just going on an even number of pages, no skimming the text or anything. It's also no problem to read ahead and you can post your thoughts at any time.

message 38: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 61 comments My copy of War and Peace has the translations done by Louise Maude. I am reading it on my Kindle and the Kindle store was offering it for free. But I heard that the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation is very good as well.

I originally wanted to buy the P&V translation but because the Maude was free, I got that one...which might not be such a bad thing. I read that Maude and Tolstoy were actually friends and people seem to really love her translation of the text. Overall, I am not sure how much the translation matters, but who knows.

message 39: by Sid (new)

Sid Singh | 30 comments So, what translation is everyone reading? I have the Briggs version and started through it a bit, but not too happy with it so far. A tad too colloquial and modernized for my tastes.

message 40: by Sid (last edited Feb 29, 2016 07:32PM) (new)

Sid Singh | 30 comments Carolyn, I am leaning toward picking up a copy of the Maude one. I have heard the P&V is good, but apparently, the french remains and requires the use of footnotes for translation of the French. seems tedious.

oh, wow. The Maude edition is only 99c on Kindle. awesome!

message 41: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Thank you for reminding me to check the translation. I forgot to do that earlier. I'm reading the Maude translation as well.

message 42: by Ayush (new)

Ayush Mehrotra (ayushmehrotra) I'm reading Maude - the free Kindle edition.

message 43: by Sid (new)

Sid Singh | 30 comments Some links that I thought folks might find useful as we prepare to read. A little pedantic and geeky of me, I know.

From the Guardian (****this one has some spoilers!***):


Give War & Peace a Chance on C-SPAN:


Tips for Reading War & Peace:


message 44: by Ayush (new)

Ayush Mehrotra (ayushmehrotra) Thanks Sid. The third article was insightful and motivating (in case you're still wondering if you could do it).

message 45: by Gabriella (new)

Gabriella | 400 comments Just read the first chapter of Maude's translation and I got really drawn to it. It's an easy read, though it's a very, very long one.

message 46: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissa-juvinall) I am joining in on this group read! I'm planning to read by "books" v. pages, and I got the kindle edition. Excited to finally read this!


message 47: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra | 5832 comments Welcome, Melissa!

Sid, thanks for posting the articles.

message 48: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments Week One

(view spoiler)

message 49: by Maya (new)

Maya (ferafaces) | 99 comments Note to the group ::

If you have a physical copy of the book, don't read the back cover. Apparently, since the book is so flipping old, the publishers think it's okay to put spoilers in the description on the back.


message 50: by Ayush (new)

Ayush Mehrotra (ayushmehrotra) Same happened with my Maude translation. I read all the Forewords and Prefaces and they keep referring to incidents. In one, they even hinted at the end. Not very big spoilers, I agree, but don't read if you ABSOLUTELY hate spoilers.

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