Saturday, November 03, 2012

War and Peace

One great thing about having kids is the fact they introduce you to wonderful things like Barney and Mitt Romney Style (check out You Tube).  One of my gifts to my dad was Pat Conroy.  Together we read most of his works.

In 2010, I did the unthinkable and bought a hard back copy of his book that talked about all the books that had influenced him. My Reading Life. He had been a kid that could not get enough reading done in a day.  One of the books was War and Peace.  During the days of my surgery, Dad and I talked about the different books and both admitted we had never read War and Peace.  We decided it would be the book we both next read. 

I started it and realized I would never get through it without some help.  Wala..Netflix had the 1972, 20 hours or more BBC version.  Anthony Hopkins played Pierre and it was pretty awful.  But I slogged through.  Then I started. Then on January 3rd, Dad died.  If he didn't want to read it, he should have said something.

I decided I would read it.  That led to a Kindle because who can carry around a big book like that and then there were other books and other distractions like Leukemia.

I have been reading it off and on over the months.  It is strangely compelling. It is written in that grand style of the Mid 19th century, some 60 years after the Napoleonic wars.  It was obviously well researched.  Early 19th Century war and Russia are interesting in and of themselves.  Tsar's and serfs... Counts and Princes and I could never figure out how one gets a title. Everyone has the same name and not only that but they each have at least 2 pet names.  A chart is good but if you cheat and watch the movie or Cheat sheet before, it all makes sense.

It is full of Tolstoy commentary on war and peace and history.  I kept waiting for tirade's on serfs and Tsars, but he was a count and very much a part of that system.

It had been a part of "My Reading Life" for so long that it is weird to have it finished.  Since it was first published as serial in a newspaper like lots of Dicken's books I sort of read it like a serial.  It has been such a long process but it seemed to fit into my life at a perfect moment.  

It is not a beach read, It is a Big Read.  Mary-Elizabeth would not tolerate me reading it out loud to her.  Silly girl.

Oh and by the way, I am done whining about the kidneys. Can't change it. I think the God's will reward me on Tuesday next.

I wonder if they having books in heaven or whether it is enought to be able to meet and have dinner with the authors.  Boy you better have read their books first.    

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