War & Peace
Did you know that if you read 25 pages of War & Peace every single day, you can complete it in 56 days? You can! And you can even enjoy it!
Where I read War & Peace: the hair salon (pictured), the subway, Chop’T, in front of the fireplace in Southampton (pictured), on a coach bus to Big Bear, on a red eye flight, in the bathtub at a farm in Connecticut (pictured, you’re welcome), in the lobby of the High Line Hotel, in the lobby of the LINE Hotel, in the car next to my dog (pictured).
Don’t you hate when you read a book, a really fat book, and you don’t even like the protagonist? Natasha was so annoying – oh, she was always in love, so deeply, all-encompassingly in love, and when things didn’t work out for her, oh she was so ill, so very depressed and withdrawn and grew so skinny that she was close to death. And Pierre. Thank God he came into some major money, because was so easy to manipulate, could just change his views from page to page, so clumsy, so bumbling. The man “visited” the front lines of the Napoleonic Wars because he was curious – like he was taking a weekend trip! Blech. Natasha and Pierre deserve each other. (This is how I felt about Jane Eyre – also a dud of a protagonist in a giant book.)
That said, I really liked War & Peace. The supporting characters were so well-rounded. The Countess Rostova (Natasha’s mother) was warm and loving, yet was also so selfish and evil to those outside her immediate family; the little orphan niece Sonya that Natasha’s family cared for was sweet and helpful, but also a little resentful and cloying; the perfect daughter and sister Marya was religious and forgiving, but by the end was experiencing waves of hatred.
Scenes from Russia were fascinating. When parties were thrown, the wait staff would put bottles of red wine in buckets of hot water in the ballroom because Moscow was so cold that the wine needed to be heated to room temperature. All the wealthy families moved back and forth from Moscow to Petersburg as the weather changed, opening and closing their various homes for the season. The old-fashioned written correspondence!!! The furs!!! The opera!!! I enjoyed the book and I will never, ever read it again.
A Frenchman’s self-assurance stems from his belief that he is mentally and physically irresistibly fascinating to both men and women. An Englishman’s self-assurance is founded on his being a citizen of the best organized state in the world and on the fact that, as an Englishman, he always knows what to do, and that whatever he does as an Englishman is unquestionably correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets. A Russian is self-assured simply because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe in the possibility of knowing anything fully.
Coming in January to Lifetime, A&E, and the History Channel is a brand new mini-series with the current belle of the ball Lily James and Paul Dano.