How to Read War and Peace
At 1,400-plus pages, War and Peace can seem daunting. Here's how to read it.
Dodge the Draft
At a certain point, you might be blown away by Tolstoy's genius for making palpable the tiniest details of 19th-century Russian life—the quartets sung after dinner, the tulle of Natasha's gown—while at the same time capturing profound universal truths. Or you might be so absorbed in wishing you were Natasha, about to go to her first ball, that you forget you're reading a book. That said, it would not be unheard of to get bogged down in the military minutia of the battlefield chapters. Were you to skim, even skip, parts of the Battle of Borodino, for instance, the literary police would not come knocking at your door.