#WarAndPeace2022 January Update

2022 is the year of Leo Tolstoy. I am involved in a global community reading War and Peace, which began on January 5, 2022 and will end on the stroke of midnight December 31, 2022.

Chapter 1 welcomes us into the drawing room of the elegant Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honour and confidante of the Empress Maria Fyodorovna. It is an evening in July 1805. There are rumours of war and talk of Napoleon Bonaparte.

#WarAndPeace2022 Readalong Photo Credit Liz Humphreys

The detailed descriptions and the emotional conversations that swirled around the room captured my entire attention. I felt a sense of anticipation when Pierre, aka Pyotr Kirillovich Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of old Count Bezuchov walked into the room.

Have you ever wondered what books were in Leo Tolstoy’s library? When not engaged in writing his epic novels, what books did he chose to read? Have I read the same books as Leo Tolstoy did over a century ago? These were the questions that I reflect upon in my January WarAndPeace2022 update.

#WarAndPeace 2022 January Update

Liz Humphreys from Edinburgh, Scotland, and Elisabeth Van Der Meer from Porvoo, Finland are excellent guides on this adventure.

You are invited guests on the #WarAndPeace2022 adventure. If you are unable to join the Readalong, you are most welcome to follow the journey via our blogs and podcasts.

#WarAndPeace2022 Readalong Leo Tolstoy (Translated by Anthony Briggs)

Liz Humphreys has brought together an invaluable collection of resources that will add depth to our reading experience. Books, blog posts, and reading schedules are available and easily accessible at the following links.

#WarAndPeace2022 – Reading Schedule

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.” Leo Tolstoy

Published by Rebecca Budd

Lifestyle Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

34 thoughts on “#WarAndPeace2022 January Update

  1. Thanks for update and I am amazed I have read the whole of Part One on a kindle free sample. I was not sure at first how I managed the soirées when I first read it. But think I was a better reader then! Yes, by end of Part 1 I am reinvested in the characters and curious to reexplore. The old Count Balkonksy is reclusive and odd. I wonder how much Tolstoy based him on himself. And yes, I think there is so much humour in how he writes about the characters.

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    1. I am so sorry for my late response, Georgina! I am delighted that you have joined the #WarAndPeace2022 Readalong. I have signed up to follow your blog and look forward to our many conversations!! Take care!!

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      1. Thank you, Rebecca. I am pleased to have rediscovered the book and look forward to keeping up with you all. It brings back a mix of emotions wondering how my teenage self read the book. But can also see how Tolstoy’s characters draw us in to a very different world. I must have been about 16/17 as I read Lord of the Rings after War and Peace and know I was 18/19 then. I loved long novels and being immersed but somehow lost those plots with family life! It is so good to have a reading group and challenge like yours.

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      2. I was 15 when I found “The Fellowship of the Ring.” I lived up in an isolated mining town Northern Manitoba. It took me a long time to find the “The Two Towers” and even longer to find “The Return of the King.” So I was about 18 when I finished the trilogy. Looking back, the waiting time in between was beneficial – it was the anticipation of what came next that kept my search for the books alive. I am delighted that we are on the #WarAndPeace2022 together. How did you find out about this readalong?

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      3. I think a twitter feed and then I realised you and Liz were on wordpress so seemed easier to follow and I was able to see more info and some good links to info on Tolstoy and War and Peace. Unfortunately I have ‘lost’ or gave away my original copy which was a prize at school when I was 13! Teachers thought I was quite precocious. I seem to remember a ‘ Do you really want that?’ Of course didn’t read it then but loved it when I did.

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      4. Just reading Part 2 and the war bits did not interest me at first but then I got really involved. I found the ‘showing’ of the retreat on the bridge really vivid. I have also now looked up more about Napoleon and the different coalition wars and alliances. Strange times and connections with what is happening in the Ukraine. Tolstoy seems to be pointing to changes happening and society moving from aristocratic power to a different kind of economy and equality.

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      5. Isn’t it interesting that a story will prompt us to look at history from a different, more in-depth perspective. I read that Leo Tolstoy’s research was exhaustive. He visited the battlefields and researched all the information related to these events. I am delighted that you are enjoying #WarAndPeace2022. I am finding that I am becoming more involved with the characters as their personalities are revealed.

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      6. This book certainly has its layers and am sure Tolstoy was very accurate on the military tactics even down to visits. Looking forward to meeting up with Natasha and Pierre. Didn’t realise it took a while into the book to come back to these characters. Almost called a daughter Natasha!

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  2. HI Rebecca, I have only read some of the books Tolstoy read, but I have read plenty that he would not have [smile!]. I don’t think I’ll get to reading in Greek, or Hebrew in this life time, to be honest. A most interesting post.

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    1. I am with you on Greek and Hebrew language studies! When I read this article, I was reminded by how ancient languages were included in school curriculums in previous centuries. We are seeing more interest in bringing back language studies, which is heartening given that many languages are at risk of being lost. I am delighted that we are on the #WarAndPeace2022 readalong together.

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      1. I am too, Rebecca, it is so much fun. I will share this post to FB now as it wouldn’t work yesterday. They teach Latin and Greek at Michael’s school and Greg’s old school. PS Greg passed his learner’s drivers license today on the first attempt which is virtually unheard of.

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  3. Thank you Rebecca, for the opportunity to join with others on this exciting read along! I have read the comments above and I think we are joining with very interesting friends and will profit from their insights.as we share our observations. I find that Tolstoy does not write to satisfy the needs of the “unlearned” but writes to the level of the intelligent and educated. This should stretch out vocabulary and language styles. I appreciate the recommendations that Liz Humphrey has suggested and will be investigating! We are a few chapters into this exciting historical novel and I am sure all of us have found the book exciting. So, now off to an exciting year! !
    .

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    1. I am delighted that you have joined the #WarAndPeace2022 Readalong, Frances. 2022 promises to be an exciting year of learning and exploring. Liz has gathered wonderful websites and ideas that will add to our journey. I use her reading schedule daily and keep Elisabeth’s list of main characters close by to avoid confusion. I agree we are now off to an exciting year!

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  4. Well! I’m prepared to meet Tolstoy half way. Greek myths? Tick. Odyssey & Iliad? Tick. Gospels? Tick. But… erm… in English. Maybe up to half the other books he recommended too – but always in English. And didn’t he have anything to recommend to those of us over 69? Just as well maybe. I’ve still got to master Classical Greek. Thanks for that enlightening video, Rebecca!

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    1. Many thanks for your visit and comments,Margaret! You are definitely in Leo Tolstoy’s elite literature class. I was especially interested in the diversity of his recommendation. Elisabeth Van Der Meer recommended Leo Tolstoy’s “A Calendar of Wisdom, which highlights his thoughts for a particular day. For example, today January 30, Tolstoy quotes from Cicero and Thomas Carlyle. A Calendar of Wisdom is a great companion to War and Peace.

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    1. I was very surprised by the recommendation of East Lynne, Liz. It seems like an outlier to me. According to the blurb, East Lynne was A Victorian best-seller, remembered chiefly for its elaborate and implausible plot, centring on infidelity and double identities. According to Wikipedia, “The book was originally serialised in The New Monthly Magazine between January 1860 and September 1861, being issued as a three-volume novel on 19 September 1861.”

      Three volumes!!!

      I found the book on Gutenberg Press.

      https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3322/3322-0.txt

      I continue to learn….

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  5. This was such a fun post! I was doing very well with Tolstoy’s recommended reading list until he got to his recommendations for mature readers. What I didn’t expect from War and Peace was the humor.

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    1. Thank you for listening in, Liz. There is so much to learn about Leo Tolstoy this year. I am enjoying a companion book called, “A Calendar of Wisdom” by Leo Tolstoy. I found Mrs. Henry Wood’s East Lynne on Gutenberg, but am rather surprised by its inclusion in Tolstoy’s recommendation. Maybe its the intrigues and intricacies of the plot development. There are many adventures waiting for us in the reading journey. Yes – there is a great deal of humour!!!

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  6. I am loving War and Peace. The characters are amazing and often quite amusing. I love the Russian sense of humour. I loved learning about the books Leo Tolstoy read, Rebecca. Thanks. I won´t be reading anything in Greek very soon though.

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    1. The first time I read this article, I was happily ticking off the recommendations until it came to the age 35. YIKES! I can only imagine what he would recommend for those older than 63. I am certain that he had some ideas given that he reached the lofty age of 82!! I am delighted that you are on the #WarAndPeace2022 Readalong adventure.

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    1. Oh Mandy – you wonderfully optimistic. You are so right – how delightful that Tolstoy would think that we could keep up with him. I am having so much fun reading War and Peace. It is certainly different that the Brothers Karamazov. Grateful for your company along the way….

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