Yes, you read that correctly. In the year of planning to have no plans, I am making a tentative commitment to join in to a group read! Gulp!

So far this year the only real project I’ve got involved in, apart from our reading years of course, is the LibraryThing Virago Group’s monthly author choice. This has been enjoyable, and I feel that I can drop in and out of this one as necessary, so there isn’t any pressure.

Old hardback Maudes version

However. When I read that Laura of Reading in Bed was hosting a War and Peace Newbies read over the summer, I was sorely tempted. Tolstoy’s great work is one I’ve intended to grapple with for years and have simply never got to. Yet I loved “Anna Karenina” so there’s no good reason not to, apart from size!

Laura’s read is split up into manageable weekly chunks and looks doable. She’s come up with a Q&A to go with the tag and you can read her thoughts here. I thought I would have a go, too, so here’s my take on the meme!

Have you read (or attempted) War and Peace?

No, basically. I’ve owned a copy for decades but I don’t think I’ve got farther than reading the first two pages.

What edition and translation are you reading?

I have two copies of “War and Peace” in the house if I’m not sure of which translation I fancy reading. One is a lovely two-volume set with box that came out at the time of the old BBC adaptation, and it’s translated by Rosemary Edmonds. The other is *very* old – and I’ve had it for decades – and is the Maudes version. I tend to always go for a contemporary rendering if I can so that would suggest the Maudes – we shall see.

The BBC tie-in version

How much to you know about War and Peave (plot, characters, etc)?

Not a lot really – I know the names of some of the main characters and that Napoleon’s in there, but apart from that I come to War and Peace with little foreknowledge!

How are you preparing (watching adaptations, background reading, etc?)

I’m not. I figure I want to come to this with no preconceptions and I already have some as I visualise Pierre as a young Anthony Hopkins! So I’ll try to judge it as I find it, and I’ll have all the plot twists to come with no expectations.

The hardback even has a lovely little map inside

What do you hope to get out of reading War and Peace?

I don’t actually know! But I loved Anna Karenina – one of those books you kind of live through – and I’m hoping for a similarly immersive experience.

What are you intimidated by?

The length. And having a schedule. I don’t do too well with schedules….

Do you think it’s okay to skip the “war” parts?

Definitely not. You need to have the contrast between the two elements. I shall try to read each page, despite any occasions of my attention flagging during battle scenes.

So – I will give it a go and see if I can stick to a small section of “War and Peace” every week. I’m not always good at disciplined reading that like but I think it’s worth the attempt – to see if 2017 will be my Summer of “War and Peace”!

If you’re keen to join in, do go and check out Laura’s site – it should be fun! πŸ™‚

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