Tuesday, September 09, 2014

War and Peace

My dad and I both loved good books.  Not the easy reads, the good books. The thinking books.  He read to me weird stuff when I was young.  He also loved poetry.  I am probably the first 5 year old to love the Charge of The Light Brigade or Robert Service poems about the far frozen north.  He and I both loved Pat Conroy.  I think dad had a similar childhood to the one that formed the story of the Prince of Tides.  No the details but the struggles.  

The last book we shared was Pat Conroy's My Reading Life.  It is a book about books. Books he loved, books he hated.  It as sort of life time book report.  One chapter is devoted to Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.  Upon reading the book, Dad and I both decided to read War and Peace.  When he left the house after my December surgery, he promised we would both read it in 2011.   He only made it to January 3rd so I have forgiven him for not finishing it. 

I started and soon realized it was not an easy endeavor and stopped my efforts to watch 27 hours of the 1972 BBC production of the book.  Sort of the Clift note version.  I never would have been able to read it had I not done that first. 

I did read it.  I did read it and every single word.  I did so for three reasons.  

1. I told Dad I would and I always hated to disappoint him.  2. Pat Conroy loved it and I value him as a great American Writer. 3. Countess Tolstoy copied the book six times by hand.   

I read it during treatment.  Perfect book for Cancer World.  Slogging and endless and despairing and great loss are central to the story.  But in the end there is great love and satisfaction and happiness.  

Happy Birthday Leo....

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