War and Peace
I've always considered War and Peace to be one of those really Big Serious Novels that you only read because...well, can I be perfectly honest? If I have ever met anyone in real life who has actually read War and Peace, I don't know it. And since I've never met anyone who has read this book (that I know about), I don't know what motivated them to read it.
I certainly never really wanted to read it. Not really. I bought a copy at some point and had it on my shelves, but I don't know if I ever planned to actually read it. I wouldn't have minded being given credit for "having read" War and Peace, but actually opening up to page 1 and reading right straight through to page 1455 was another matter altogether. It's that kind of book. I've heard about War and Peace all my life, but I honestly didn't have much of an idea what it was all about. I must have been entertaining the vague notion that it was a worthy, classic novel just because it was so long.
After my recent wrestling match with A Tale of Two Cities, I wanted to read literature with someone else--with a small group, preferably. It's nice to have someone to throw around ideas with. I went looking for a good reading group at www.yahoogroups.com, but most of them are either defunct or reading books I don't want to read (and can't easily get). But this is the age of blogging, and all was not lost. I am reading War and Peace with these folks.
Although I'm only something like 1/7 of the way through the book, I already know why War and Peace has endured. It's a genuinely interesting story, full of interesting characters and plenty of action and interaction to pull you along from chapter to chapter. Ah! Leo Tolstoy was an excellent writer! Who knew?
I'm a little behind the reading schedule, but that's only because I'm the mother of four children, my kitchen is undergoing a complete renovation, and I'm preparing for my next Polish Ladies' Tea (which will be held, praise the Lord, at my co-worker's home). It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I'm reading two other books at the same time and I waste a lot of time on the computer during these hot, hot, hot July days.
War and Peace is my big reading project for the summer, and I think I'm going to enjoy it!