Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Slow Start...

now reading: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

OK, so I still haven't exactly reached page 100. I've had a lot going on. Last week was quite crazed and this week looks like more of the same, including a pre-school field trip and other madness at work.

What that means for you, dear reader, is that if you get your hands on a copy of The Book any time in the next few days and start in on it, you'll probably be ahead of me!

My general reflections so far are:

1. (from the duh! files) Tolstoy was a great writer.

2. I wish I could remember what I felt when I started reading Anna Karenina. My approach to that book was so entirely not spontaneous, or even particularly self-propelled. I had lived it vicariously through my sister when she read it two years before me (and told me the ending). When it came around to my turn in AP English (teachers in cabinets notwithstanding) I was pretty blase about the whole thing. And, I did in fact read the whole thing; that, I do remember: finishing it in the waning days of Christmas break, sprawled horizontally across my waterbed, my feet poking off one side and my chest and elbows on the other edge, so amazed with myself that I was completing my read of such a gargantuan book.

I also remember that I did like it on the whole, but I hated the part about the wheat. It went on and on about what's-his-name-that-started-with-an-L's farming collective, and in my mind that extends for at minimum a hundred pages, although when my boss read AK (along with Oprah) last summer he came through that part completely unscathed saying, "Linda, it was only, like, 30 pages." Grrr.

But enough about Anna K! I'm on to a different Anna! And some Pyotrs, and lots of princes and counts and countesses and princesses and Boris and Natasha and young men off to the Guards and Napoleon stamping around the world stage.

If you're not up to reading War and Peace with us, you could go for Nelson DeMille's The Charm School instead. That was in fact one of the many cosmic signs in spring of 2004 that pointed me toward W & P. I love Nelson DeMille anyway, and I read about one book a year of his. The Charm School is from the late 80s and concerns Soviet-U.S. spying and whatnot (a thriller) and in it they go to the War and Peace battlefield. Or, maybe there are many battlefields but this was the big one. Or something. Maybe when I finish W&P I can go back and reread TCS and know what I'm talking about.

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