Archive for the ‘Classic’ Category

How is War and Peace treating you? Are you finding it a hard slog or racing through it? Or somewhere in between?

I’m loving it so far. I’m finding the battle scenes a little confusing at times and need to reread to work out who’s doing what but I’m getting the hang of it.

It’s not too late to join so come on and become immersed in War and Peace.

If you read only one article this week make it Liking Is For Cowards. Go for What Hurts by Jonathan Franzen.

He is an incredible thinker and writer. Wow.

A sneak peak at Jeffrey Eugenides’ upcoming novel, The Marriage Plot. Looking forward to it. Big fan of Middlesex.

This couldn’t be more off topic really but I had to share it: Style your garage

I would love, love, love one of these for our garage door but as our garage can be seen from a main road as cars come around a bend down a hill it’s perhaps not the best idea to be creating a major double-take distraction for drivers. (But it would look sooooo good.)

Thanks for reading.


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GWAPIRC has begun!

I made a good start on the train commute to work this morning. Bypassed the introduction (Does anyone read introductions?) – straight to the good stuff. It’s good to be back in Tolstoy’s world.

No one describes characters like Tolstoy:

Le charmant Hippolyte was surprising by his extraordinary resemblance to his beautiful sister, but yet more by the fact that in spite of this resemblance he was exceedingly ugly. His features were like his sister’s, but while in her case everything was lit up by a joyous, selfsatisfied, youthful, and constant smile of animation, and by the wonderful classic beauty of her figure, his face on the contrary was dulled by imbecility and a constant expression of sullen self-confidence, while his body was thin and weak. His eyes, nose, and mouth all seemed puckered into a vacant, wearied grimace, and his arms and legs always fell into unnatural positions.

Happy reading.

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Mark it in your diaries people – 1 June 2011 is GWAPIRC Day 1.

If you’ve always wanted to read War and Peace and just never got around to it then this it. Join us … well, me and my lovely This Mid 30s Life pal at least … get your hands on a copy and start reading from June 1.

No rules. No deadlines. No pressure. (It’s not a race.)

Share your reading experience – the trials, the tribulations – here at pagesetc or on your own blog and send me the link so I can post it here.

And please let me know if you’ll be joining GWAPIRC … so at least I know you’re there, reading along with us.

Spread the word.

PS – I’ll be reading the Maude translation (see pic).

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After reading Resurrection a couple of years back I found myself suffering a serious case of Tolstoy lust. Now I’ve read Anna Karenina and I’m head over heels in love with the man. Well, okay, given that he’s been dead for a century and I never had the opportunity to meet him perhaps I should clarify by saying that I just really, really … really love his work. Really love.

And it’s so incredible to me that a novel about a bunch of pretty well off Russians in the nineteenth century is not only still relevant but adored. (Which novels written today will be loved a hundred years from now? I wonder.)

Tolstoy writes about the human condition which really hasn’t changed much since mid-19th century Russia.

Love. Relationships. Work. Sacrifice. Social pressure. Expectations. Disappointment. It’s all the same old stuff. He just gets it. And he writes about it so eloquently and with such incredible insight and compassion for his characters.

If you haven’t read Tolstoy and feel a little intimidated by the idea do not be.

Think James (Even I don’t know what the hell this book is about) Joyce. Tolstoy is his polar opposite. His writing is accessible and a joy to read. You won’t need a dictionary or a literature PhD by your side. He treats his readers as intellectual equals and doesn’t write down to them.

Drop what you’re reading and get your hands on the nearest copy of Anna Karenina. (You can borrow mine.)

Next is War and Peace. Can’t wait.

What’s your favourite Tolstoy novel?

(Oh, and if anyone can recommend a good Tolstoy biography, please let me know.)

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