War and Peace - Week 2
I fell behind a little with this week's reading. Not in any way because I wasn't enjoying the book, I am definitely enjoying it. I just didn't feel like reading that much. Does anybody else have weeks like that? Normally I just end up not reading for a couple of weeks when I feel like that, but this readalong made me pick up the book again over the weekend, and I am glad that I did! Thank you readalong!
I think I said I was going to do better at writing a proper post this week, but I'm not. Haha. I SERIOUSLY need to start taking notes.
So, answers to the prompts kindly provided by Hanna!
Note - I actually ended up reading about half of this week's section (thank you insomnia!), but I have answered the questions based on the week 2 reading, rather than what I know now!
1) Do you feel that the tone of the novel has changed this week? Has that affected your enjoyment?
Yes! This week saw a lot of war related action, which I thought might be bad news for me. One of the issues that I have with books sometimes is that I find it hard to picture big action scenes, and can easily get disoriented and confused. But I didn't really have any issues here, although I will admit to not really paying that much attention to some parts.
I did find it weird to be reading something that, whilst showing the horrible side of war, also had the characters excited to be fighting. Most of the things that I've read or seen up to now (not much to be honest) have focused on how horrible and miserable war is, so it was slightly jarring to have some of the characters be so happy about the whole thing. A sign of the times that it was written in? Or is it just that I haven't exposed myself to enough things about war?
2) Do you feel comfortable telling other people that you're reading War & Peace?
Yes. Although, I don't tell people unless I either know that they are similarly bookish or they ask me. I have only had positive responses so far, and a few people have told me that I'm brave (I say a few, I think that apart from the people in this readalong, only 4 or 5 people know, hehe). I think the danger here is people thinking that you're pretentious for reading it, but I'm not sure anybody could accuse me of reading pretentiously, given that I'll read pretty much anything as long as someone I trust has told me it's good!
3) How do you feel about Helene and Pierre's marriage? Happily ever after or mildly doomed?
Doomed. Completely doomed. Poor Pierre is a bit of a dimwit really, isn't he? He needs a good friend who will point out that people are only being nice to him because he's rich.
4) Should Marya have married Anatole or should she have stayed at home with her Father?
Neither. Marrying Anatole would obviously have ended in heartbreak for her, and staying at home with her dad who apparently cares about her but has no idea of how to show that in a sane way means she's just consigning herself to a sad life. She is the one character that I would really like to bring to life and bring to the modern world, to show her that she does have other options!
5) Andrei has featured in a lot of the war-related chapters so far. Do you think he'll ever make it to military greatness?
I thought as I was reading the chapters that that seemed to be where it was heading, but with him contemplating what is really important in life at the end of this week's reading I'm hoping that he will realise that he should maybe pay a little bit more attention to his poor wife!
I have to say that as I was reading the chapters, initially I was annoyed at all the focus on Andrei, but I think that maybe overall he is not as big of an idiot as I thought he was after last week. This may be purely because he hasn't really interacted with any women for a while. We'll see!
Other random observations:
I am looking forward to Rostov realising that he is actually in love with the emperor (or Tsar or whatever) and them running off together. I think the things that Rostov thinks about the emperor are the most passionate that any of the characters have been so far in the novel, even for the people who they supposedly love. Poor Sonya.
That bit with the ice was pretty horrific. I'm actually pretty scared of falling through ice, so it might have affected me more than the average person, but... urgh.
I really haven't read or seen that much based on any wars earlier than the first world war, so reading the battle scenes has been pretty interesting for me. It seems so weird that the characters could actually speak to the enemy before the battle (like Dolokhov and those French guys).
I think there were fewer characters to worry about this time, but I definitely feel like I'm getting a firmer grip on who everyone is. I think this is partly thanks to the Schmoop chapter summaries I've been reading (I find that I sometimes need a summary to make sure that I've actually got the main points, especially during the war parts as I do have a tendency to get slightly lost sometimes). On the other hand, there are only a few characters whose names I could also say if asked to, although I recognise their names on the page. It's like learning a language - the amount that you can actually verbalise is always less than the amount that you can understand!
That's it for this week!
As I said above I am already halfway through the next block of reading, and it's pretty eventful so far, so I am actually really looking forward to getting back to it. I honestly never imagined that I would enjoy the book this much, I'm so glad! <3
I think this means that I definitely need to buy a paper copy to have on my shelves after this finishes.