War and Peace Newbies Read-Along | Week One

Welcome one, welcome all, to the first of my weekly progress reports proper for War and Peace. You may have seen my first post from last week but this is the real deal, week 1, actual words of War and Peace have been readFor those unaware, I’m taking part in the War and Peace Newbies Read-along, as hosted by Laura from Reading In Bed, and I will be making my way downtown through this chunker of a book over the next couple of months and, this time, I hope I will succeed in making it through to the bitter end (or at least past around page 200 where I gave up last time).

Every week I will be doing a short progress wrap-up/my thoughts so far on the book, very low key, probably in the form of bullet points, and likely not always coherent. So don’t expect eloquence is what I’m trying to say. Expectations lowered accordingly? Ok, then let’s begin, with Week 1 which covered Part I, Volume I of War and Peace:

  • I work at a University Press and I buzzed a man into the building for a meeting – he spotted War and Peace on my desk (it casts a very long shadow after all) and said “Oh I approve!”. When I was like “oh thanks yeah I’m trying it again, I failed at page 200 last time, I’m not so great with the war bits because my history knowledge is pretty poor” he responded with “Nah I teach the Russians, it’s fine, just skim it if you need to and go along with it”. So I feel like that was vindication from (presumably) a professor in Russian literature to say I’m allowed to not get what I’m reading but just plow merrily on regardless. Thanks, random professor, I shall!
  • Short chapters – praise the lord for serialisation, guys, this makes getting through War and Peace so much easier. Plus, either the translation I have (the Anthony Briggs one) or the language itself is actually really readable, what a pleasant surprise!
  • Ok so we have a regular rowdy night on the town with the lads (I presume in modern parlance they would refer to themselves as “the lads” or “the boys” tbh). But are they dancing with an actual bear? That’s not a metaphor for anything? An actual bear? (Are you sure it’s not a metaphor?) So is that normal behaviour for drunken Russian aristocrats? I mean, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here but wtf guys. Hey, let’s all party like the Russians in that case.
  • I already have to keep Googling characters to get a photo of who played them in a TV/film adaptation so I can keep them straight in my own head – please stop having so many extra/pet/formal names everyone! I came up against this problem with Anna Karenina too (another book I attempted and failed at reading), except it’s much worse with War and Peace because there are a bajillion characters. That’s the true actual factual number, I swear.
  • Vassily and the princess (Katishe? idek anymore) keep scheming to cut Pierre out of the Count’s will and to make sure it isn’t known he’s been declared legitimate by the Emperor and they just want the money from Bezukhov’s death and I bloody love it, it’s so catty and her and Anna Mikhaylovna squabbled over the papers they were tried to secrete and it’s practically slapstick at this point. I love how Anna Mikhaylovna can’t keep her nose out of anything, she might be my fave tbh.
  • I also watched the first episode of the BBC adaptation and I really enjoyed it and it undoubtedly influenced what I think of some characters, and confirmed my suspicions on other things.
  • I’m not a fan of the Kuragins, or of Boris, or of Dolokhov, or the Bolkonskys really.
  • I’m confused because I just find Andrey Bolkonsky kind of…. well, petulant. Like oh your life is sooooo hard, poor little rich boy. Idk, maybe it doesn’t help that I’m never very endeared to the dude who plays him in the BBC adaptation (James Norton) but I kind of assumed given that he plays him, that he’ll end up being the hero somehow. Ugh. Either way, I hope he has some character development because I’m mostly finding him unbearable, and not even in the good kind of way.
  • I am really endeared by all of the Rostovs and Pierre, and I still bloody love Anna Mikhaylovna, even more so after watching Rebecca Front just be amazing in the first episode. But let’s see if that continues once we get into the meat of the story, shall we?

And those, dear readers, were my oh so insightful comments about Volume I, Part I of War and Peace. I never said they’d be particularly intelligent so there we go, week 1 is now over, we move onto week 2 and Volume II, Part II of the book – and until next time…


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War and Peace Newbies Read-Along | It’s Go Time

Since we’re in this for the long haul, I thought I would introduce a weekly feature to my blog in which, every Monday, I will be looking back at how I’ve done in the past week with reading the one, the only, the mammoth that is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. For those unaware, I’m taking part in Laura from Reading In Bed’s summer read-along of the book which runs from the start of July through until mid-September.

Based on her posting schedule (Mondays too) I have come up with my own little schedule of what page number/chapter I should be up to by the end of any given week and (because I’m obsessive) any given day. That’s right, I busted out a spreadsheet, and even put some formatting on it so that it gives me a nice green box if I’m on track or ahead of schedule.

I’ve even accounted for when I’ll be away in the US for a week and calculated how much I’ll have to read once I’m back in order to still make it through to the end. A tad obsessive, you say? You may have a point. But also I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t keep on top of this every single day I will definitely fall behind very quickly – this way I don’t want to break the chain! (I’m a child when it comes to positive reinforcement.)

So this is what the general schedule roughly looks like for reading my edition of War and Peace and it doesn’t sound too horrendous does it?

As I said, I’ll be away in the US for a week towards the end of the readalong so I’m planning to either catch up the pages I missed in the week following or to make sure I’m enough ahead of the curve in these early weeks so that it doesn’t affect my reading progress. And no, needless to say I will not be taking War and Peace with me – it is a proverbial brick and I don’t think carting it about DC will endear me to it any more. 

Still at it stands I’ll be reading, at most, 24 pages per day which is very doable – whether I can keep up with what’s going on in the story itself is another matter entirely (especially when it gets to the “war bits”) so I’m sure I’ll need the support of my fellow readalong participants, Google, and maybe the BBC miniseries to keep me going.

So folks, until next Monday and my first progress report, let’s do this thing.


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WWW Wednesday #1 | 22nd February 2017

Well I thought I’d mix things up a little here on The Terror of Knowing by bringing you a mid-week reading update (of sorts) in the form of WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words. This isn’t a new meme by any means but it is a meme that’s new to me and, having seen it a couple of times over at Cátia’s wonderful blog, I thought I’d join in since it’s simplicity greatly appeals to me!

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?


1. What are you currently reading?

I’m currently doing a re-read of V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic to try to prepare myself for reading the third (and final) book in the trilogy (disclaimer: I will never be prepared). Likewise I’m re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix via listening to the audiobook as narrated by Stephen Fry on my train journeys to/from work every day. I’m allegedly also still reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy but as I’ve not actively read any of it (not a single word) for close to a month, I’m not sure how accurate it is to say I’m currently reading it.

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished reading Erika Johansen’s The Fate of the Tearling to round off my read of the Tearling trilogy. I adored the first book, loved the second, and had… mixed feelings about the third (whispers I kind of hated the ending), but I’m really glad I finally finished off this trilogy because on the whole I loved the concept and the characters Johansen created. Similarly, in terms of trilogies, I also recently finished re-reading the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix (though I hear that’s a series now?) with Abhorsen, as narrated by Tim Curry. I would definitely recommend the Tim Curry audiobooks, they’re amazing, and he has a spot-on voice for Mogget! I’m planning to do trilogy reviews for both of these trilogies so, if you’re interested, definitely do keep an eye out for those coming soon on this blog.

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

As I’m currently re-reading A Darker Shade of Magic, it’s highly likely I will read (read: it’s nigh-on impossible I won’t read) the second book, A Gathering of Shadows next, and then move on to the new release – A Conjuring of Light. I’m not emotionally prepared for it to be over, but I also need to know what happens, it’s a difficult bind. Ha, bookworm problems, am I right?

Do you have a WWW Wednesday post? Please link it below if so (or just answer in the comments below), I’d love to hear your responses.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned – how did you like (or not like) them?
Until next time – happy reading!


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Friday Reads | 17th February 2017

It’s here again, folks, it’s another Friday. Yes, another week has gone by – scary, isn’t it? I just refuse to believe it is more than halfway through February, I simply refuse. The days/weeks are going by far too quickly for my own liking. But, still, the world rolls on and we too must roll with it, and on that very fine note…

abhorsenAs you may have seen in my last Friday Reads post, I was making my way through re-reading the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix via listening to the audiobooks on my commute. That’s been going really well so this Friday I will be listening to Garth Nix’s Abhorsen, the third book in the trilogy. I’m almost finished and all hell has well and truly broken loose in the kingdom – excellent! The books are still narrated by Tim Curry and they are still equally as amazing as Sabriel.

I have also thoroughly enjoyed this experience of conducting a re-read by getting hold of the audiobook version – I would definitely recommend that to my fellow re-readers if you have the facility to buy or, of course, to borrow audiobooks from your library. It particularly works for me because it means that I can still re-read books without having to feel guilty that I’m spending all of my reading time on nostalgic re-reading instead of trying new books; instead I simply confine the re-read to a different format (whether you would choose ebook or audiobook) so my “main” physical book is a new one and I read that one when I’m not standing cramped on the train or walking to work.

Speaking of re-reading, who else is still a little happy and overwhelmed that Goodreads have finally (finally) put their brains to good use and given us the re-reading function we asked for? It sounds like it’s such a flippant thing but I’m pretty sure anyone who does re-read understands the pain of trying to accurately track reading without such a function. But now we don’t need to add random editions of the book to trick the system into counting it – there is a function, yay! But, I digress, back to the actual books themselves…

warandpeacecoverCan I really say I’m still currently reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace? I’m not sure. I’ve stalled at 200 pages in because I read until the end of a “part” and then stopped – that was an amateur mistake. Much like how the NaNoWriMo forums advise you to finish a day’s writing mid-sentence so that you have somewhere to immediately pick your writing back up the next day, I should not have stopped at the end of a section of War and Peace and then picked up another book too.

I’m a polygamous reader as it is but I think it only really counts as polygamous reading if you are actually reading the multiple books, not just occasionally staring at one of them with a wistful sort of look as you remember that you haven’t read a word of it since last month. However, since I’m going home to visit my parents this weekend, I may try to force myself to kickstart reading this by only taking this book with me. I am sure this plan has some flaws but, hey, good intentions are all that counts in the end, right? Wish me luck? (I’ll certainly need it.)

So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts? Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 27th January 2017

Another Friday, another Friday Reads. Another week has gone by, folks, and the world keeps on turning on…

warandpeacecoverAs you may have seen in last week’s Friday Reads post, I foolishly decided to try reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peacebecause I’m a masochist, apparently. If I’m being honest, when I decided to set one of my 2017 Resolutions as ‘read 4 classics’, I wasn’t really intending to tackle long classics, as I know this tends to burn me out. However, I had an odd urge to just get over the intimidating nature of War and Peace and give it a try, so here I am, a week or two later, and only 200ish pages into it, but feeling rather good about myself despite that poor progress! So, needless to say, I’m still reading War and Peace this Friday and this upcoming weekend (and for many more weekends to come I should imagine!) and I’m actually really enjoying the story. Admittedly I am enjoying the “peace” bits more than the “war” bits but I expected that and I think that’s mainly down to my own horrendous lack of knowledge of Russian history, let alone military history, so I can’t really blame Tolstoy for my own failings!

sabrielAside from War and Peace, I’ve got into the habit of having my audiobook on-the-go be a re-read, mainly so that I don’t feel like I’m procrastinating reading new books in favour of re-reading old ones. I don’t know quite how that works considering I’m still devoting quite a bit of time to it, regardless of whether I am physically reading it or listening to it, but on a psychological level it seems to be working for me. (Shhh, don’t question the faulty logic!) So, my current audiobook is Sabriel by Garth Nix. I was delighted to find my library had this on Overdrive and borrowed it immediately. It’s read by Tim Curry who has a fantastic voice for audiobooks, and his voice is especially fitting for the character of Mogget the cat who is funny and condescending but also sneaky and maybe evil under the surface… Tim Curry’s voice just oozes that so the audiobook is proving to be great so far.

audacityofhopeAnd, because having two mediums of reading in-progress simply isn’t enough, I’ve also got an ebook on-the-go, as of lunchtime today. Unsurprisingly, politics is frustrating me lately (two words – Brexit… Trump), and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. I frequently shake my head in despair at the news headlines I’m hearing every single day; I just surreptitiously turned off the reception area’s TV in my workplace because I couldn’t stand listening to it any more. And because I am incapable of letting go, I decided to start reading Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope – one, because Obama; two, because that is an amazing title; three, because he’s a very eloquent writer; and, four because I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction. That seems like plenty of reason to give this a read, finally.

As far as this weekend in general goes, I cannot wait to be done with work for the week, it’s just been strangely busy with lots of little bitty things to get done, and that hasn’t left that much time for anything else. I am looking forward to closing the office door this afternoon and not thinking about it for a couple of days. Myself and Liz are gym-ing this afternoon after work so we’ll see if I can truly close that door and not think… hopefully being so knackered from the gym will aid that utter lack of thought!

My weekends are low-key as a rule but since Liz is off too (yay) we have a couple of outings planned – this weekend should include a Tavern breakfast and a trip to the cinema to finally see La La Land, both of which will be amazing. I’m hoping to get caught up on blog posts and reviews I need to upload too, so hopefully I can productively use my weekend and do those. We’ll see, though, I am notorious for doing next to nothing, if given the chance – watch this space…

So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts? Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 20th January 2017

Yes, I’m doing 2 Friday Reads posts in a row. Why? Well, to be honest, this week has been a bit just bitty… low level stuff has happened that made me not get the opportunity, or desire, to post. Also, mostly, I’m lazy. But here we are, another Friday, another weekend looming so let’s try and get life and blogging back on track, shall we?

In fact, whilst I’m here I’d like to mention a few very good things I’m excited about that happened this week.

Firstly… and let me take a breath to try not to scream in your face in excitement…

WE GOT HAMILTON TICKETS FOR THIS YEAR!

87fa8c29-3a5b-4098-9255-b28008789785Yes, my friends, I get to see Hamilton when it comes to the West End and I’m super excited that I can say I am officially seeing Hamilton in 2017. 2017 is already so much better than the shit show that was 2016. Needless to say, myself and Liz are now diligently memorising every single damn line. We’re tackling CD 2 and, let me tell you, CD 2 really teaches you political history, like relentlessly hits you in the face with it. But it also contains the room where it happens (the room where it happens… the room where it happens…) so, you know, we’re good.

The second good thing – Wicked is going on a UK tour again, so there’s a chance for me to finally see it, and it to not be a big trek to see it because, handily, it’s coming to Liverpool. I’ve never managed to see Wicked (not even illicitly on YouTube) but it’s a musical that I really want to see done, and done properly. I’m not really in a position to go to London to see it so the touring production will definitely do rather nicely. I haven’t managed to nab tickets yet since it’s only just been announced but I’m crossing my fingers and I am quietly hopeful.

So, yes, two very nice musical-related things have happened, which brightens up 2017. And now onto the present, and the very near future…

As Friday dawns I am wilfully ignoring The Event which is happening today, which is quite the feat given that rolling BBC News is constantly playing, right in my eye-line, at work. But I simply refuse to acknowledge it and instead will move onto better things – namely books.

You might have seen in my last Friday Reads post that I was reading Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds and listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on audiobook as a way of re-reading the series. The latter is still ongoing because that book is bloody huge. The former… well… let us just say me and The Darkest Minds did not get along. In fact, it was a DNF for me, and I did a review of it for Cuckoo Review which explains why I was so disappointed in this book. If you have any interest in that, you can read it over here, but be pre-warned, it is a critical review since I didn’t like the book.

Moving on… this week I decided, for no apparent reason, that as part of my Read More Damn Classics mission, I would tackle perhaps the most intimidating of classics first. Because that obviously makes complete logical sense for a girl who used to read such books at university but hasn’t really since as some kind of weird form of rebellion and liberation after graduating.

warandpeaceSo, I am currently reading (and I anticipate I will be for a long time) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. No, I’m not sure what moment of madness lead to this. But it’s happening. And do you know what? It actually isn’t that difficult, so far. I mean, true, I’m only 160 pages in, and it has taken me a week to get to that point, but I’m quietly optimistic I will stick with this one. I’ve put together a character list and have given it a tracker page in my bullet journal and everything – I’m all prepared.

(PS- A post regarding bullet journalling is in the works, obviously, because a person can’t just bullet journal and not take photos of their page layouts. I’m fairly sure it’s the law so stay tuned for that.)

But that’s all folks, that behemoth of a book up there is all I plan to read. Undoubtedly, when I am hit with the enormity of how many words War and Peace actually consists of, I’ll seek immediate gratification and mix up my reading by also picking up something like the A Series of Unfortunate Events books (my review/discussion of the Netflix series is in the works too!). But, until that point, it’s me and Tolstoy, that is my Friday Reads.


So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts?

Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Or a new film release? (I haven’t seen La La Land yet but it’s happening soon-ish hopefully!) Let me know in the comments!


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T5W | Books To Finally Read in 2017

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books You Want to Finally Read in 2017. As Sam says: these are those books you meant to read in 2016 or 2015 or 2014 and never got around to. Those books that have been sitting on your TBR for a while, and you really want to get to. These aren’t upcoming 2017 releases; these are older books that need your love too!

It will surprise precisely no one that I have a proverbial tonne of books that I’ve meant to read for months and months and, let’s face it, years and years. The problem is, obviously, that the book industry rather rudely continues to persist in publishing more and more new books every single day, adding even more titles to the already lengthy ‘to be read’ lists we all have in the back of our mind, or on a metaphorically groaning Goodreads shelf. Unless I make a concerted effort to “get to” those books I’ve been meaning to for years, I probably never will. So this week’s topic will be a very useful step towards accepting that fact – and, as we all know, acceptance is the first step. Hopefully 2017 will be the year I take a rather logical and proactive approach to finally reading some of those titles that have been sadly abandoned on my TBR shelf for too long. So let’s have a look at the 5 I most want to finally read in the upcoming year…

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T5W | Books To Be Read By the End of the Year

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s theme is Books You Want To Read Before the End of the Year. Now I’m sure we all have TBR stacks, TBR shelves on Goodreads, maybe an old-fashioned pen-on-paper list of some books we really ought to get round to, so this isn’t exactly a struggle to put a list together. What is a struggle is limiting it to just 5 choices – but, hey, everyone likes a challenge so without further ado, let’s go…

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T5W | Favourite First Sentences

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic. This Wednesday’s theme is Favourite First Sentences. As we all know, first sentences do a lot to sell a book to a new reader. They are an author’s chance to really grab the reader and suck them into the world they have created. Because of this, my favourite first sentences are often ones which instantly highlight the weird or wonderful story that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

Confession time: I am a fiend for browsing those ‘top 100 first lines of novels’ lists that you often get on book sites (I’ve linked some at the bottom of this post), to the point where I collect opening lines. I might end up with a first sentence in my collection which I adore because it sets up a story so wonderfully, even if I didn’t end up loving the story that follows. Likewise, some of my favourite books only have so-so opening lines in comparison. So, whilst some of these first lines are on the list because they are the opening lines of some of my favourite books, others on this list are just damn good first lines. Since this is quite long enough already, I’ll just let the lines speak for themselves instead of rambling on about why I picked them – if you’re curious though, comment below and I’d be happy to explain my reasoning.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t simply pick five so, instead, I offer up 4 different lists which contain my top 5 first sentences from… Shakespeare plays, classics, modern/contemporary novels, and books I have yet to read – hopefully you enjoy a good list as much as I do, since I’ve given you four of them!

Enough explanation, let’s go…

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Teaser Tuesday | 12th July

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme created at A Daily Rhythm. Its simplicity greatly appeals to me since all that you need to do is grab your current read, open to a random page and share two “teaser” sentences, being careful about spoilers.

This week was prompted by the slightly foolhardy decision yesterday to pick up a rather hefty book, as though I wasn’t already reading two books at the moment, one of which is A Clash of Kings, no small task itself. But, clearly, clearly just one tome isn’t enough for me and since this is the first time in a long while that I’ve had a sudden urge to read I decided to go along with it and see how I fare.

So, I’ve picked up one of my “project books”, one that I’ve meant to read for years at this point, one that I have actually got about 200 pages through in the past before I set it aside for some (probably stupid) reason… Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. So, today’s Teaser Tuesday will draw from that book. And I decided to bend the rules a little bit and instead of picking a random couple of lines I just had to pick the opening line of the novel because it’s just brilliant, in my opinion. (And I might have picked out three instead of two sentences – buy 2 get the 3rd free, I guess?)

Anna Karenina

“Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 

All was confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with their former French governess, and had announced to the husband that she could not live in the same house with him.”

 

Have you read Anna Karenina or do you plan to sometime in the future? Do you have a Teaser Tuesday? Please do share/comment below!


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