Saturday, November 14, 2009

War and Peace

For about 10 years I have been trying to read the book War and Peace. The first time I started, I got about 20 pages in, got bored and moved onto something else. A few years later, I got about 100 pages in, something came up and I didn't get back to it for a while and by that time I had forgotten everything I had read before. The time after that I got about one third of the way in, something came up again and I gave up one more time. Recently, I was looking for something to read and saw that old nemesis War and Peace sitting on the shelf. I don't know why I wanted to read War and Peace so much. I might be that it's a long book and supposedly a challenge to read and I like challenges. It may be that I am interested in history enough to want to read the book, or it could just be that I like classic books. I've enjoyed Crime and PunishmentThe Count of Monte Cristo, and some other classic books, so why not give War and Peace a shot?

I decided that this time, I wouldn't let anything get in the way of finishing the book. This was especially hard because about half way through War and Peace, the 12th book in the Wheel of Time came out, and I've been waiting for that for a long time. We also purchased the 2nd and 3rd Books of Ember and those tempted me too. Something was different this time; I read the whole book and enjoyed it. I don't think it's a fantastic book, it doesn't rate in my top 10, but I did enjoy the book.

I found some things to be a little annoying in the book. Pierre Bezukhov seemed to change too often; we're not just talking a little change, but his whole outlook on life seemed to change frequently. It does seem to be a big of his personality to find something to grab onto and go after head first, but it seemed that every time Tolstoy was describing his story, he changed his life in some large way. He becomes a Mason, he decided he loves someone, then he loves someone else (this seemed to happen to many characters). I did like how Pierre changed over the course of the book, but I think his intermediate changes were a bit drastic.

Nicholas Rostov was one of my favorite characters, along with Andrew Bolkonski. They seemed opposite ends of the spectrum of characters and ended up in the end at peace with who they were. I think Denisov was great too. He showed courage and compassion throughout the book, but never ended up the way that I would have expected. He didn't turn out as heroic as I thought he should.

I did enjoy the book, but I don't think I'll read it again, unless something makes me rethink that in the future.

I'm on to the Books of Ember and The Gathering Storm for now; I also have a couple more books by Jack McDevitt that I need to read.

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