War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 197-227

So I did it–barely. I’m caught up again.

In the first section we have Napoleon on his way to Moscow, with Mary staying at her house because her father won’t leave. Then Old Bolkonski finally dies, and Mary finds herself ashamed to be relieved. More pressing, though, is the fact that the French army is bearing down on them, and now the peasants won’t let them leave, despite the fact that she’s offered them all of their grain. But then Nick Rostov rides in and saves her, and the result is that they are both in love with each other. Though love will have to wait, because it is War right now, not peace.

In the second section Andrew meets with General Kutuzov, who is not what you’d picture a “good” general to look like, since he is fat, can barely move, and generally droopy, but Andrew decides that he’s doing an okay job. And Denisov is back! I was worried he was a goner, but now he’s a Lieutenant Colonel and his plan for cutting off supplies to the French is welcomed by Kutuzov.

And we also see Pierre again, who is listening to all the gossip about the war and is being teased about his non-involvement. He finally joins up after seeing a man being tortured just for being French or speaking French, when not that long ago French was all the rage in Russia.

Our military analysis of the upcoming battle of Borodino: not the ideal place to have a battle; it’s just where the French caught up to the Russians and forced them to fight.

And finally, in the last section, Pierre is riding around through the Russian army at Borodino, looking for a way to be useful, and Boris shows him around. They find Andrew, who is not happy to see Pierre, since he knows everything about his past. We also see Dolokhov, who is in disgrace again and is desperately trying to prove his bravery to get out of disgrace. I still think he’s a complete villain, and I’m sure he’ll turn up again.

And after Pierre goes off to bed, we’re left with Andrew, who is contemplating the upcoming battle and the possibility of his death. He hates that war is treated as an idle past-time and that people go to war so frivolously, but he thinks that this particular war is important, since they’re now defending their country from invaders. I found it interesting that he’s placing such importance on this war, when a while back Tolstoy had interjected that this war really started over nothing–just a bunch of little things that built up into a big thing.

I’m glad to be caught up. And I’m glad it’s gotten exciting again. I’m looking forward to my (much shorter) reading next week. Maybe I’ll actually have time to read something else too and get up a few other posts!


Not War and Peace Saturday…Just Saturday

Every since my vacation it has been a challenge to do anything with any regularity. The good thing about the regular school year starting on Monday is that I will be back on a schedule. Hopefully I can get back into a routine of exercise/eating healthy/reading/writing. I plan to start slowly.

I do plan, though, on catching up on my War and Peace reading asap. I’ll be in a nap room again this year all 5 days except when we have a staff meeting, and that is the best time for me to do that kind of reading, as long as there are no children giving me issues. But I think I might just read aloud to them if they do. Good for their brains–and it might just put them to sleep. I can practice my monotone voice.

In writing news…

I hope to use my lunches productively again and start writing my current new book idea (whether it’s ready or not, I guess, since otherwise I use my lunch to play Sudoku on my phone). And I registered for a writing conference at the end of September where I can pitch my book that’s in submission to agents. I’ve never done that before. I’m a little nervous and excited, but also not because I’m really confident in this book, and I have a pretty clear picture of what it’s about, so I don’t have a problem talking it up. I’ll still have to practice though.

So, Monday–new routine, back on track. Summer’s over, figuratively, at least. Back to work!

War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 190-196

So we have an analysis of this war so far offered up. Basically, the French alone were responsible for their upcoming defeat for marching straight to Moscow, where all the Russian troops apparently unwittingly convene. Tolstoy is pretty clear that skilled war strategics had nothing to do with it. He’s not one for surprises, because he’s given away the results of every war and battle so far well in advance. I don’t really have a problem with that, though. In this I kind of like to know what to expect, though in most everything else in life I prefer surprise…I wonder why that is?

So anyway, on their march to Moscow, the French are going to pass straight through the land Mary and Old Bolkonski live. Andrew has sent them a message to get the hell out of there, but everyone is so afraid of senile Old Bolkonski that they almost end up staying just because he can’t concentrate on the letter long enough to make sense of it. Andrew threatens to come and get them out himself, but the old guy finally is lucid long enough to give the orders.

A side note on Mary: How can someone who has done nothing but study her whole life be so stupid? And this is book smarts too–like basic geography of their own country. She hears where the French are, but doesn’t realize that she lives in the path of their march. Maybe that’s the reason Old B is so hard on her–she doesn’t have the mental capacity to learn what he wants her to learn, so he keeps forcing the same things on her over and over again. It truly sucks to be her.

We get a note on Andrew’s latest personality development: Since the broken off engagement he is only nice to people who he has recently met and is rude to anyone who knows his history. So, his army people love him, and everyone else is probably glad he’s off with them and not hanging around anymore.

And we end with a brief check in with Prince Vasili and his social peeps. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen him, and he’s not doing the greatest. He belongs to two social groups with opposing views, and he can’t remember which comments are appropriate with which groups. It was a funny little chapter. Levity in the middle of war. Though Tolstoy has rarely made even his war scenes that serious. This book seems to poke fun at the upper class in every zone possible, from war to peace.