Thursday, February 28, 2013

War & Peace Check-In: February

Hey everyone! I hope you are still on track with your War and Peace reading and still enjoying it! I am just barely. Basically, this one hundred page schedule was meant to make the book feel manageable to read, but really it's just super helpful for me when I am busy with other things and have to cram all one hundred pages into one night! Which I actually rather like--reading it all at once that is. I know some of you said last month that the pace might be too slow--if so have you finished? :)

Also, if you missed Jason's post last month you should definitely check it out. Since we were really just with a few of the men this month, the characters didn't feel overwhelming to me, I was more confused by BATTLE STRATEGY but I feel like the things that really mattered to me I got out of the reading so there's that. (speaking of Jason he also made this fab graphic)

Anyway! This month's reading was all about the war in War and Peace. How did you feel about it? One thing is that I'm sorely lacking in the historical context of this conflict. I plan to read up on it this weekend, but I don't have the time right now. So I'm not exactly sure about motivations and reasons for fighting, but I do know that it seems like in every historical fiction book I read where Russia's at war they are doing badly. (if anyone is well versed and wants to give me some cliff notes in comments it's much appreciated!) And that's the case here, even the one victory they have in this section is really more of a defeat.

I guess I felt like the section was a lot about having the characters confront the gritty reality of war. They go into it expecting one thing and completely unprepared for how messy and chaotic it is. And chaotic is exactly how it felt when I was reading and the leaders are shouting about orders last minute and everyone is scrambling to get it done, but it's not in the best possible way. (like when they burn the first bridge) And of course that's war--it IS messy and chaotic and unpredictable and you are never ever ready for it because who knows what will happen? But I was particularly struck by Rostov's sort of shock that anyone would want to kill him, he was after all, so loved! It's that real shattering of innocence that takes place in violence I think, when you are confronted with how impersonal it all really is. It doesn't matter if you are loved and a great person, your life is an obstacle towards that greater goal. So it was kind of sad to read his thoughts at the end as he was wounded and hurting :(

Also of course, there was Prince Andrei who had his own visions of glory and leading the troops to some sort of victory only to realize that it was in fact a terrible messy gory business. So I guess I feel like the idea of war came up against the reality of it.

But gosh no wonder Russia's a bit of a mess, look at their diplomat! He was more interested in saying memorable things than anything else (even though that was very funny) and the emperor Franz was also funny only having his list of questions to ask with no interest in the actual answers.

Overall, I found the section very readable and I'm looking forward to having more time to look through it again with a map and some history in mind!

What did you guys think? Were you bored or did you enjoy it? I don't really have any questions this month, but if you wrote a post, drop the link the Mister Linky or feel free to discuss in comments. I'm looking forward to knowing what you thought!


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