Today is Bank Holiday Monday 25 May, and has anyone noticed – it’s SUNNY. We’ve had a lot of Bank Holidays recently, 10 & 13 April, then a delayed one on Friday 8 May and now quite an early one a week before the end of May.
Today I finished reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace – 1000 pages of closely typed writing. To be truthful, I didn’t quite finish it – I gave up 4 chapters into the Second Epilogue. It took a long time to get into it, as I remember when reading Jane Austen and Dickens, but I got into a rhythm after 200 pages. I’m hoping to persuade Robin to watch the BBC dramatisation which is currently available on iplayer. I expect many of you will already either have seen that or read the book.
Tolstoy not only tells a story of wealthy aristocratic Russian families of the time (1805-1812+) but often describes the theory of war, somewhat heavy-handedly taking a swipe at the historians of his time (1865). In fact, the reason I fell at the last post, was because he spends the first 4 chapters of the First Epilogue describing how flawed most historical descriptions of war are, before getting into anything about what happened to the main characters after the main story has ended. Then, having ploughed through four chapters of similar at the start of the Second Epilogue, I realised that there was no more story and the entire 12 chapters are a further diatribe on the same topic.
I did enjoy reading it however, and feel that Tolstoy’s thoughts on war, power, the greatness (or not) of historical figures (including Napoleon), and other topics including the Freemasonry, religion, the human spirit, serfdom and many other things were engaging and interesting.
It’s really good to have the internet to help. There are so many characters, and Tolstoy refers to them sometimes by Christian name, or nickname, or family name, and those often in different forms, so I downloaded a family tree:
Somewhere I read that it takes about 10 days to read War and Peace. I’m a slow reader (I don’t and can’t skim) and I’ve taken 10 weeks almost to the day. I did, however, intersperse a few other books. W&P is 3 volumes subdividing into 15 books, so I took a break every so often and read something else.
Wow, that’s an eclectic reader – you might say. I enjoyed them all. P.G.Wodehouse is ridiculous of course, but I used to really love the Jeeves and Wooster stories – I’ve still got an omnibus edition of the short Jeeves stories. The Mayfly was a good read, although I didn’t enjoy some of the more gratuitous horror moments. But I can really recommend Garrett Carr’s ‘The rule of the land’ – a very gentle and sometimes amusing walk along the border country dividing Ireland. Carr was born in 1975 in Donegal (that’s the North Western bit of Ireland that’s not in Northern Ireland) and now lives in Belfast. So he’s got authenticity and an honesty about him which I enjoyed.
This last week I’ve also been doing some decorating. The hallway wasn’t entirely the right shade of Farrow and Ball grey (says Mrs H), so I had to repaint it which also involved removing a radiator and putting up some brackets for a new shelf. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to snap off an essential ‘thing’ in reconnecting said radiator, and might have to call in the plumber.
And finally, we’ve been able to enjoy seaside walks (and sometimes runs). Last week it was pretty windy but the tides were quite low, so one day we walked onto the rocks looking for crabs.
Now I just need the library to re-open, because I’ve run out of books. Mind you, there are some on our bookcase that are still unread. Anybody got any suggestions?
I hope you are all able to enjoy the good weather and are keeping well. Take care.