Sunday, January 30, 2011

War and Peace Readalong--Volume II

It's check-in time for the second volume of War and Peace.  I fell behind my reading schedule earlier this week and I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to catch-up.  I had the last 150 pages to read in three days but I ended up almost finishing all of it in one day.  I simply couldn't put it down.

A peace treaty is signed between the sovereign and Napoleon, so the focus shifts to society in Petersburg and Moscow for most of Volume II.  The happenings in society are filled with drama!  There is a duel.  My first ever to read about and it was pretty exciting!  There are also secret engagements, broken promises, an induction into the free masons (random!), thwarted attempts at elopement, and even an attempted suicide.

I'm grateful that I didn't live during this time period where the decision to marry involved so many outside factors.  It's sad that there are couples forced apart because the match is deemed beneath one of the families.  Wealth, and lack thereof, plays an important role in forming marriages.  Those seeking after the wealth feign love and interest in their partner, and that never ends well.  It seems that a marriage based on mutual love is very rare.

So many loose ends right now.  Most of the marriageable individuals fates are still dangling and I'm curious to see how it all plays out.  Tolstoy is sure filling this novel with twists and turns that I don't always see coming.  Off to start Volume III!

On a completely unrelated note, I finished The Corrections last week and I came across a passage that made me chuckle.  One of the characters was taking a lunch break at work and she happened to be reading War and Peace.  She mentioned that she was too embarrassed to read it in public for fear of looking pretentious, so she sat and stared at the sky instead.  I can relate.  Also, it is heavy!


  1. Sounds exciting!! I'm just entering Volume II and look forward to the intrigue!

    (That's funny about 'pretentious.' If more people stopped worrying about that sort of thing, maybe there'd be a new wave of classic reading.) :-)

  2. Ha! I got a real chuckle out of The Corrections scene you shared...I actually didn't bring W&P to my daughter's soccer tourney last weekend because it is so heavy and because I felt like people would think I was a total nut to be reading it...stupid, huh? :)

  3. Jillian--I agree. There's kind of a stigma that you're a snob if you read the classics. So not true.

    Carey--I wouldn't have brought mine either for the same reasons. Lately I've been reading two books at the same time. When I go out, I bring whichever will draw less attention. I agree--it's kind of silly that we feel that way, but I understand. :)

  4. I completely agree about the marriage thing. It's easy to forget how much has changed over the course of a century or two. I can't imagine being married off to someone I didn't love for my family's financial gain.

    I'm with you on reading W&P in public too. I take it to work to read at lunch, but only when I'm going to be on my own. It's silly, but I do think some people assume you're only reading it to look smart. If I was really smart I wouldn't be lugging that book to and from work everyday!

  5. Can I just reiterate that I'm in awe of you guys reading this in 2 months!! Incredible! Although it does sound like a ripping good read if you can get through 150 pages in one day. Promising :)

  6. Avid Reader--I'm glad I'm not the only one embarrassed to read it in public. When I worked in an office, I too would take whatever I was reading and read it at my desk during my lunch break.

    Kathmeista--I have much more free time now than I did when I was still in college. I'm impressed that you're reading anything that isn't required. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

  7. lol - I am behind too, and also found that last lot of pages a LOT easier. It's increased in interest for me, or maybe I'm just giving in and investing in the characters more...

    I'm actually looking forward to the next bit! :D

    I'm reading mine on an ereader, which makes we want to say "I'm reading a BOOK on here, not just Facebook!" :P

  8. Selene--I'm glad I'm not the only one that has fallen behind and had to do a quick catch up. The last half of Volume II has been the most interesting and fast paced. I was really looking forward to the third Volume but I'm falling behind again. :) Oh, well.

    That's funny that it's the opposite with an e-reader. You're not worried about looking pretentious but worried that people think you're just messing around. :)