We've only just begun, so if you're reading this but haven't picked up your Tolstoy yet, you've still got time to join in!
A Tip or Two as You Begin...
Go easy on yourselves, gentle readers: Early on, Tolstoy introduces scores of characters and a significant portion of the text is written in French, so you'll need fortitude (especially if, like me, you don't read/speak French and must continually jump down to the footnotes) and patience with yourself until the novel picks up a bit in the latter chapters of Part One.
If you don't mind semi-spoilers, you might try reading Tolstoy's "A Few Words Apropos of the Book War and Peace" to orient yourself. Although more than a tad aggressively defensive (read it and then tell me this seeming oxymoron doesn't apply!), the brief introductory essay offers background on Tolstoy's goals for the novel (or the non-novel, as he defines one) and provides rationales (rationalizations?) for some of his stylistic choices. I'm reading the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation and this essay appears as an appendix. The same is true of the Oxford World Classics edition.
If you're the type of reader who benefits from perusing a quick chapter summary before the actual chapter, the Pevear/Volokhonsky edition offers those as well. However, much of the enjoyment here is in the dialogue and characterizations, so if you're tempted to skip chapters in favor of the summaries, you'll be missing out!
MFB with great big books this summer,
Here are the new dates:
7/6: Book One, Parts 1 & 2
7/13: Book One, Part 3 and Book Two, Part 1
7/20: Book Two, Parts 2 & 3
7/27: Book Two, Parts 4 & 5
8/3: Book Three, Parts 1 & 2
8/10: Book Three, Part 3 and Book Four, Parts 1 & 2
8/17: Book Four, Parts 3 & 4
8/22: Epilogue & Whole Book Discussion
FYI: No pressure. If you jump in late, that's actually fine. I'll just post a few thoughts on each Wednesday, trying to avoid spoilers. Maybe my musings will pique your interest...
So far, our read-alongers are:
Jackie of Jackie Is Reading
Laura of Booksnob