New: Book Report: War and Peace

Russian novels are long.

Back in high school, my English class was supposed to read Crime and Punishment. Our teacher asked for a show of hands: how many of us had finished reading the book. Mine was the only hand to go up--and I was making a waggling so-so gesture. Mr Tresize asked why my hand was waggling. "Uh, I only read the odd-numbered pages." I'd reached the end, but only by skipping. The describing and re-describing of the anti-hero's situation... it was more fun to reconstruct the gaps than it was to read the material.

Russian novels are long.

A few weeks back, my mom loaned me a fraction of War & Peace. One problem with long novels--if you mostly read during a bumpy bus ride, heavy books are rough on your wrists. I'm not exactly sure when I'm going to break down and buy a Kindle/Iliad-like device--but I bet it will be around the next time Neal Stephenson publishes another 10kg novel. (Disclaimer: I have not actually tried weighing any of Stephenson's novels--that way lies despair.) My mom has a low-tech solution. She sliced her copy of War & Peace into sections. She loaned me a section. I read it. She loaned me the next section.

Yestere'en, I stopped by the SF Minigame after-party. The talk turned to Gamers' blogs. Justin Santamaria pointed out that I read a lot. I apologized, giving the excuse that I had a long daily bus ride. Lessachu remembered back when she was studying in France, she'd read on the Metro. She could polish off a Russian novel in a couple of days--she was in an immersion program, and these books were a welcome bit of English.

I remember really enjoying Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, but part of why I liked it is that I read it in Japan and it was so nice to just understand something without straining my brain with translation.

I didn't finish reading War & Peace. I'm here in California. I have choices available to me.

And Russian novels are long.

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Posted 2008-04-27