War and Peace

And no I’m not talking abut the existential struggle at the heart of British democracy; with debate having been replaced by the ‘who -can-shout-the-loudest’ party. (And both extreme ends of the spectrum shouting the loudest; ie the extreme left in labour and the extreme right in Conservatives {but also UKIP}) It appears that we have lost the ability to even think “I may disagree with what you say but will defend your right to say it”.- I can remember having debates (!!!!!!!!!?????????!!!!!!!!) in 6th form with the National Front.

No I am actually speaking about the book; by Leo Tolstoy; the one with 1400 pages (I know some peoples libraries that are little more than 1400 pages – I lie but tbh there probably is someone somewhere with about twenty Disney books who considers themselves the proud owner of a library – children exempt obviously from this statement – – (Two -‘s ‘cuz I started with one and then added another without thinking – gods been sooooo scatological hurts people!) But 1400 pages!? Now I usually calculate when I’m a tenth, fifth etc. of the way through a book but this time 14 pages in and I’m only 1% of the way?

So War and Peace. I’d seen the BBC series earlier this year and I’m always I  for a little self-improvement so I decided to read it – libraries are wonderful places where you can receive actual books for nothing. I must say that the whole novel was so much easier to read than I thought it would be. I tried to re-read Robinson Crusoe recently and found it hard going so I initially approached with trepidation- but joy of joy’s it was so easy to read.  Of course having seen the series it was a lot easier to visualise the characters. ‘Oh that’s that woman from ‘Humans’; she played the robot who looked after the old man who . . .and she was Simon Amstell’s mom in Grandma’s House’. So it was easy to put faces to the names and run them through my mind as I read.

There were still some issues though. Firstly I’m unsure who Boris is (in the TV series) and I’m pretty sure I ‘thought’ of the wrong character in a few places. In fact I mistook the younger Rostova lad for the older son and read a whole section trying to work out why certain people did not seem as upset as I thought they should be. ) Also, and I am not sure if this is a nineteenth century writer thing or a Russian thing or just Tolstoy, but his depiction of the proletariat (the poor people) was a bit weird.  It seemed at times that he was in awe of them, as if as genuine ‘salt-of-the-earths’ they had transcended wisdom at their finger tips whereas every kid at my comprehensive school seemed a little dim (and I include myself trust me) still I really would recommend anyone to read it.

In fact thinking about the prols part I can see that at that time been a writer would mean having an education and also either having independent money hence you can write, or a well paid job so that you can write. Neither of these options would be open your common or garden bloke/bloke-ess and so Tolstoy could only write from a position of authority which may have given him a different view of peasantry and all that. Believe me knowing that your options after school are factory or factory (only having an A Level in Art doesn’t help at all) in Wolverhampton is really restrictive.

So please go and read while I go back to my SF – The Long Mars is next on my list followed by Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (as I said the library is a wonderful place – but a bit of a pain when you suddenly find two or three books there all at once)


good day/night/afternoon/evening

Ste 🙂




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