Closing the final page of my beautiful edition of this great epic was one of those moments when feelings of joy and sorrow are so closely aligned.
As I had journeyed nearer the conclusion the more I became aware of the nagging in the back of my mind. I didn’t want
it to end and the questions - what will I read next, how can any book I read in the future follow this experience? Now, of course that may well seem rather melodramatic to you dear reader as it does to me as I write in the cold clear light of day. There are many many readers who read many
great authors and their satisfaction of one does not diminish the other. But this was a very real thought to me as I travelled through this book. How can any other book I ever read live up to what I experienced over the last month?
To even begin to contemplate giving such a work a star rating seems highly inappropriate - let alone even begin to write a review! This book spoke to me in a myriad of ways as it has for so may others - such is the greatness of the book.
I have been left with a very strong desire to encourage others to read this work. Do not shie away from it, persevere through the first part, do not be discouraged. Most of all please do not think that you are in any way not 'good, or clever enough' to enjoy it - it is not
an endurance test, a badge of office to be won or a medal winning feat to have read it! Having mildly ranted I have to say I am thrilled that I fulfilled my desire to read it and feel a very contented healthy sense of pride in my success.
Should you feel even mildly interested please do contact me as I would be pleased to support you and share resources. If you think you would like to read it along with friends there is a Library Thing group here
that has just started. Why not check it out? You will not be disappointed. After thoughts
... at one point a friend asked me how was I 'tackling' the book? I replied ...
' you used the word 'tackling' and how appropriate. On reflection I have used strategies to tackle it and so far, so good .... here are one or two ideas that have supported me.
Firstly, I read quite widely round the work. This included reading other readers views and the way in which they found the work enjoyable or challenging. As a number of colleagues found the characters daunting I also downloaded some notes in relation to the characters.
Next, I tried to learn as much as I could about the translations available and deliberately chose the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation.
As I began reading I wrote on the character list, added my thoughts, scribbled down links and family tree relationships. As far as my reading 'sessions' go I adopt a completely different approach to this work! I sit at the table along with my fountain pen, journal and notes and approach it as a study session. In this way and for me personally I sense that I am more fully engaged with it than I would otherwise have been. Interestingly, further into the book read a lot in bed, on a couple of long train journeys and simply in the arm chair!
Finally, the fact that I have joined the War and Peace 08 group has given me a timetable for reading the work with discussion starting on Part 1 from January 15 2008 with a completion date in April.
Unlike many of you I rarely read more than one book at a time. At present I am doing so and have the feeling that in a curious way this is helping me focus on War and Peace. Reading ‘lighter’ books in parallel is helpful and I do have other books demanding to be read!'