War and Peace has been sitting on my bookshelf taunting me for over a year. I bought it in a moment of book club induced smugness, convinced that War and Peace and I were going to spend magical quality time on the couch together getting better acquainted. I had visions of a cozy blanket, roaring fire, stormy weather outside and hot chocolate inside.
I don’t even like when the fireplace is on (it’s gas and the place is so small that it heats everything up so much that a blanket isn’t even necessary and come on! That’s the whole point of reading) and when exactly did I envision myself having all of this time available to me?
But I finally had enough of looking at that smug spine and so I found myself lugging Tolstoy’s great work with me everywhere. My version of War and Peace is 1308 pages. There are longer versions out there but this one is pretty heavy.
I haven’t finished it yet – I’m about 400 pages in after reading it for just over 2 weeks. I know right? Slothful reading.
So here’s the thing with War and Peace: you need to spend time with it. Lots and lots of uninterrupted time to get to know (and keep straight) all the Kuragins, Bolkonskys and Rostovs. I like to think that I dedicate a fair amount of my daily life to reading. There is the hour to and from work each day – 2 hours of quality reading time right?
With a hefty tome like War and Peace? No. I didn’t take into account the fact that, leaving for work at 6.25, makes me sleepy. And War and Peace can be slumber inducing if you aren’t paying attention. Same with before-bed reading. War and Peace is just as likely to guide me into a peaceful slumber (and carpal tunnel) as it is keeping me up long enough to get anywhere with it.
But I finally managed to squeeze in some quality time when my job sent me on a site visit for some meetings. Two hours in the airplane without any of the transit distractions, in the middle of the day when I was wide awake – this is exactly what War and Peace and I needed.
I’m still not far enough into it to offer any sage words of wisdom or my opinion on the work as a whole, but I’m getting there. Finally. I think that War and Peace and I are going to end up coming to a workable arrangement, whereby I devote all large chunks of spare time to it and it blows my mind with awesome.
That’s the hope anyway.
Have you read it? Did your neck hurt this much?