It began when I downloaded The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller onto my Kindle. He always set these books aside up until he was married with a child and a full-time job as a magazine editor.
Two of the books on his list were Anna Karenina (also by Tolstoy) and War and Peace. I had heard about what an amazing novel Anna Karenina was several times before and had a lingering curiosity about it.
Andy Miller's glowing review inspired me to finally check it out. As I was reading through it, I could not understand why I liked it, since I am not in the demographic for romantic melodramas about nineteenth century aristocrats.
Since it was such an enjoyable read, it made me curious about what War and Peace was all about and why it had so much hype surrounding it. But what finally made me want to read it was, in all seriousness, The Peanuts Movie.
With a little help from Marcie and Peppermint Patty, he chooses to read War and Peace. Interestingly enough, I later found out that War and Peace was Peanuts creator Charles Schultz's favorite novel.
I will now get more into the book, so if you want to read without having it spoiled, skip ahead. The main protagonists are Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, son of Prince Nikolai Polanski, Count Pierre Bezukhov, and Natasha Rostov, younger daughter of Ilya Andreevich Rostov.
Prince Bolkonsky runs Bald Hills, his family estate, like a dictatorship. Everything in Bald Hills is pristine and perfect, and Prince Bolkonsky maintains a militaristic routine for everyone.
She is weak and submissive, some might even say she has no backbone, but she is probably the most moral character in the novel. It is her equanimity and spirituality in the face of adversity that helps her find her strength as her familiar world falls apart, and along the way she demonstrates an admirable amount of strength.
He is fat, absent-minded, navel-gazing, and people in high society mock him behind his back constantly. He starts off inheriting his father's (Pierre is an illegitimate child) fortune, and is always on a never-ending quest for meaning and purpose.
My favorite scenes are where he is present at the battle of Borodin; he is dressed in a fancy coat and white hat and is very much out of place. He demonstrates considerable bravery, barely flinching as bullets and cannonballs whiz by him.
It is during his time in captivity --where he is deprived of food, shelter, and warm clothes -- that he is at his most selfless and courageous. “How quiet, calm and solemn, not at all like when I was running, “thought Prince Andrei, “not like when we were running, shouting, and fighting; not at all like when the Frenchman and the artillery, with angry and frightened faces, were pulling at the swab-- it's quite different the way the clouds creep across this lofty, infinite sky.
Never had love been so much in the air, and never had the amorous atmosphere, made itself so strongly felt in the Rostov's house as at this holiday time. Thought Prince Andrei, gazing with completely new, envious eyes at the grass, at the wormwood, and at the little stream of smoke curling up from the spinning black ball.
Pierre's state of mind at the end, after going through the horrors of war : And this very absence of purpose gave him that full, joyful awareness of freedom which at the time constituted his happiness.
This seeking for a purpose had only been a seeking for God; and suddenly he had learned in his captivity, not through words, not through arguments, but through immediate sensation, what his nanny had told him long ago: that God is here, right here, everywhere. Andrew D. Kaufman is a Russian literary scholar who is absolutely obsessed with Leo Tolstoy.
Kaufman packs in everything, from his scholarly analysis to his experiences with students, into this relatively short book. Nonetheless, making plans is still useful, but be prepared to course-correct and be ready to improvise like General Kutuzov does in battle.
The world is full of beauty and possibilities, but to truly see it, you need to view it imaginatively, not unlike the absent-minded Pierre and the dreamy Natasha. Tolstoy emphasizes that family is the indestructible seed that, no matter what else is happening in the world, continually renews itself by adhering to a set of laws as universal as the processes of nature itself.
From Tolstoy himself: “No matter how old or how sick you are, how much or little you have done, your business in life not only hasn't finished, but hasn't yet received its final, decisive meaning until your very last breath” In terms of its scope and ambition, it is the Lord of the Rings film trilogy of its era.
It even has similar aerial panning shots as Lord of the Rings, but done without CGI. It is good, and while the acting is excellent, the daytime soap opera productions values are outdated and distracting. The whole series is on YouTube.
A glance at the Wikipedia pages of the real-life historical figures such as Emperor Alexander I, Mikhail Kutuzov, and Prince Pyotr Bag ration. The TV Tropes page for this and for any work of fiction is always a lot of fun.
Woody Allen's parody of Russian literature--mostly Tolstoy-- with a few jabs at Ingram Bergman. So at the end of May (on my 31st birthday) I purchased few books & started a reading challenge in goo dreads.
I started with The Godfather BCO it was my favorite movie, It was beautifully written by Mario Puzo, I only read it before bed & finished it in 6 days. 1984 : I had already watched the movie but reading the novel made me depressed, I never enjoyed it.
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo : I've watched the Millennium Trilogy, Extended Mini TV series, American remake, still the novel was good, one of the best thriller. The Hobbits : I've watched the Trilogy, the studio had milked it for greed & ruined the whole story with unnecessary love interest & I liked the novel it was better.
I read Homo Zeus, but it was OK but not groundbreaking like Sapiens. Tower of Babylon, Seventy-Two Letters were also great & Understand was my favorite.
I've read Exhalation: Stories also, I really can't stop praising Ted Chiang, particularly The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate was so good, I want more, probably a full-fledged novel in that universe. Even Exhalation & Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom were great stories.
I, Robot : A classic novel with a lot of good short stories. I've read Caves of Steel, Naked Sun & Robots of Dawn, they are lit a bit slow but worth it, I liked the ending of Robots of Dawn finished it today.
Finally, after reading the novel, now I can say that I understand 2001: A Space Odyssey. Station Eleven : A Post-Apocalyptic novel by Emily St. John Manuel, I was probably a bit disappointing with the ending, I was waiting for a final standoff or something, even though I had guessed who The Prophet was, still a good novel.
Cormac McCarthy writing is beautiful, this paragraph briefly explains the state of post-apocalyptic world: At the farther edge of the town they came upon a solitary house in field, and they crossed end entered and walked through the rooms.
I have watched a lot of movies & TV series but nowadays I'm a bit bored, the quality of stories have dwindled, now its quantity comes first compared to quality, there are 100 of TV shows every year & movies are ruined by sequels, prequels, remakes & reboots. So reading books have given me a joy, something to look forward when I reach home apart from watching Football.
And I've heard a lot of good things about Brandon Sanderson, most of you recommended it. Edit: I can't believe so many of you replied & suggested lot of great books, thank you very much.
It all started with testing out my new kindle and maybe reading a few pages, and here I am now, just finished it. I am not a native speaker, so I thought it would be hard to read but holy crap that was amazing.
I am building my wishlist and Khaled Hosseini's books are at the top for now! I really am thankful for all the kind words and parallel the book recommendations, they're all in my list and I will take a look at them all one by one.
Edit four: guys you all gave me so much karma and stuff that my cartoon dude on the profile is glowing with a badge OMG. In college, I double majored in English Literature and Creative Writing (with a concentration in fiction).
Do yourself a favor and either buy the first trade paperback (titled Preludes and Nocturnes) or check it out at your local library. Gaiman also did a fantastic audiobook of the series that's so much fun to follow along with on Audible.
ETA2: As a side note, I'm planning on a Sandman sleeve very soon, which will mainly be Delirium art. You can check out tattoos, fan art, and discussions on the series over on r/sandman.
I was talking to my parents today, and it reminded me of a cool little family tradition that goes back at least four generations. It is our intent and purpose to foster and encourage in-depth discussion about all things related to books, authors, genres, or publishing in a safe, supportive environment.