Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Literature - War and Peace

One of the big stipulations my wife and I both want for our son is to be a voracious reader.  My wife, as a self-proclaimed literature geek, has read just about everything published before 1900 world wide.  Everything except the new testament.  When we first started dating, I felt this huge imbalance, because my experience with literature has been limited to Dragonlance novels, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and when i really wanted to be immersed in thought-provoking work, i'd pull out a Vonnegut, or Bradbury book.  That's not to say that the Dragons of a Summer Flame isn't a badass book, though.

I'll have to admit - when i was in my teenage years, i had a bit of a crush on Margaret Weis, and a man crush on Tracy Hickman.  However, I didn't know it was a man crush until maybe three years ago when i found out Tracy Hickman was a dude.  Their Death Gate Cycle was probably the most badass thing i'd ever read.


Talk about Badass.  This guy is pretty much the epitome of everything awesome.  And really, this is what started my thinking that actual literature wasn't as bad as i had always thought.  Except for Dickens.  He's terrible.  So, i know you're supposed to read Count of Monte Cristo and Three Musketeers when you're in your early teens, but i ended up reading it when i was closing in on 20.  But as maturity would have it, there wasn't much difference for me, and i thought they were both awesome.

So i started to read.  I changed my major to French Literature, and got into Hugo and Proust and Flaubert.  But that's not very interesting.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because i finally picked up the Book to End all Books.  The Everest of books.  The book most used in murders and robberies as a bludgeon.  War and Peace.

I've tried it twice before.  I thought Anna Karenina was brilliant, and figured War and Peace would be just as insightful and moving.  But I've never gotten past that first party inside Anna Pavlovna's house.  This is where i am right now, and I'm quickly losing interest.

However, as i said before, we both want literature to be an incredibly important part of our son's life, so i'm resolute in the fact that i'm going to be pressing on.  i feel like i'm carrying a huge log.

ha.  this guy was miniaturized and is playing with Lincoln Logs.  and moving on...

And so far - I think I've understood more about what the story is going for.  Whereas Anna Karenina was more about the intense detail of one woman's life, War and Peace should be read as a intense detail of every single person's life throughout Russia during the Napoleonic Period.  How I'm expected to remember all these details is a mystery.  I can barely remember my own birthday, let alone the extensive facets and motivations of all of these people.  I just tried to count, and somewhere around "N" I lost count at like 80.

I'll let you know how things turn out.

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