War and Peace - Week 4
Yayyy week 4! And we're almost halfway through the book!!!
I had (another) bad week this week - I started reading the chapters on Sunday!!! I really could have done what I did last week and read the chapters early in the week too, but I was putting off doing my taxes, so also put off all of the other things that I wanted to do and instead spent hours on my phone doing nothing. Does anybody else do that? It's so stupid, if I'm not going to do stuff I'm supposed to be doing, I may as well do stuff that I want to do, rather than mindlessly play stupid games.
Then when I did start reading, the first two chapters were all about Prince Andrei who I still dislike so I was put off slightly by that, but once I actually got into this week's reading properly I zoomed through it. Who knew that this would be a book where catching up wouldn't actually be a painful process? Yay War and Peace!
Anyway, on with this week's questions! Thank you as always to Hanna for being lovely and giving us all set things to talk about each week!
1) Do you feel that the tone of the novel changed this week?
Yes, a little... for one thing, there was almost no focus at all on the war aspect, it just seemed to mostly be about the mundane details of everyday life. Nothing that much really happened this week, which was a bit of a change from the whirlwind that was week 3!
2) Do you think that the story is uniquely Russian, or could it have been set somewhere else?
I feel like I don't have enough knowledge about either Russia or anywhere else at this period of time to be able to answer this! I do end up feeling quite a big culture gap sometimes when reading as I find it difficult to see how conversations work sometimes (as in, somebody will ask a question and then somebody else will reply with something that doesn't seem to make sense to me - is this a Russian thing, is it just the translation I'm reading, or is it just me being thick?)
But if a completely uninformed answer is okay, I feel like for the most part the peace parts could have easily been set in any European country with an aristocracy at the time and not really change THAT much, but seeing as half of the story is about war, I guess that part would be really different if it wasn't about Russia.
3) How about Andrey and Natasha's nupitals? Will they ever get married and do you think it will work out?
Although I still dislike Andrei, I did end up warming to him slightly this week if only because of his new association with the Rostovs and Natasha, who I think I might like, although I don't really understand her behaviour a lot of the time. So I do kind of hope that it works out, and that they actually have a happy marriage and change each other for the better! But I have to say that I found myself, as I do with all classics that I read, annoyed by the fact that the feelings of lust that they were both clearly having were talked about as being love. I really think that true love is something that takes time to develop, and sure, you can be infatuated by somebody when you first meet them, but until you actually know them properly I'm not sure that you can love love somebody. (On a personal, slightly soppy note, I say this as someone who actually experienced "Love at first sight" as described by most literature with my husband, but although I sort of knew somewhere that he might be "the one" (and I'm not sure that I believe that there is one person for everyone) when we first met, I would still say that it took a good while before I knew that he was the one for me for sure.)
Anyway, I do hope that it works out. It would be nice to see a healthy relationship in this book!! I think the signs are good so far as nobody really seems to have manipulated them into this.
4) Could Rostov have done more to help out his parents with their financial situation?
Yes. He annoys me a LOT. His mother begs him to come home and help sort stuff out and dig them out of the mess that he helped create (although it seems like his dad is just kind of useless with money anyway, so Rostov being an idiot has just made what would have already been bad slightly worse), and then when he comes home he's like, oh actually sorting stuff out is too hard, I'm going to go hunting all of the time and arse around instead.
I am not impressed. Although I'm not really impressed with his parents either, be more sensible with money you fools!!! (I am a weirdo who actually enjoys saving money, and is sensible to the point of being very boring about spending it, so it pains me to see people still making silly decisions about money when they're in financial difficulty. I end up having to remind myself that I am lucky that managing my money sensibly comes naturally to me, and that for some people it is as difficult as it is for me to stop myself from stuffing my face with chocolate a few times a week.)
I am glad though that he decided not to marry for money, although I do get that this would probably have helped his family a lot. But I hope that somebody in his family gets their act together and actually does something about their money situation, even if that is just changing their family's lifestyle so they're living within their means. I guess at least it seems like they are helping out a lot of other people with their stupid money decisions, even if they're not helping themselves.
5) How do you feel about the lengthy hunting descriptions? Did you read the whole thing?
Boring. I read it, but in a way where I was just sort of seeing the words but my mind was somewhere else. This happens sometimes anyway, but normally when it does and I realise I go back and re-read what I have missed, but I didn't bother this time. I still don't really know what happened in those chapters, but oh well!
Overall, I am still enjoying the book and finding it pretty easy to read, but I do feel like this week's chapters weren't the most interesting, especially the last part. Although all of the talk of instruments that I had never heard of led me to listen to some Russian folk music which wasn't at all what I imagined Russian folk music would be like, so that was interesting! I hope that the next section has less lengthy descriptions of hunting and more plot development!
On a side note, I got annoyed at how patronising the men were being about Natasha's horse riding ability (I'm sure they thought they were being complimentary, but shhh, silly men). Did they realise that she was managing to ride as well as they were and doing it all side-saddle, which seems to me the most illogical way to ride a horse ever?! BE MORE IMPRESSED! I never really got why it was women who ended up riding horses this way, as surely it would make more sense for men who have very sensitive parts between their legs. Women's sensitive parts are at least hidden away and protected somewhat! I also never really understood why trousers were seen as a men's thing, when they make SO MUCH MORE SENSE for women.
Ahem, anyway... I am going to start reading the next bit today, so hopefully I will end up finishing on time!!! I do seem to have a fallen into a pattern of being behind every other week, it's irritating me!!!