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Culture & Religion

Digest Tolstoy in a Week, Without ‘Speed Reading’

Tolstoy is the sort of author that requires deep reading for full appreciation. If you don’t have the time for that, there’s always the War and Peace quick-read strategy.

Leo Tolstoy was a great author, a fascinating historical figure, and an absolutely prolific writer whose novels feature enough ink to fill a small bathtub. If you’ve ever picked up War and Peace, and by “picked up,” I mean literally grabbed it and held it in your hands, there were probably two main things you thought of. The first: “Dang, that’s a big book.” The second: “I should really incorporate this thing into my workout regimen.”

Tolstoy is the kind of author whose works require deep reading for full appreciation. But sometimes you just don’t have the time for that. I was once in an English class that required me to read (and understand) James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in a week. I know the feeling.

That’s why this post at Enkicharity, which popped up on Reddit the other day, is so interesting. The author offers a quick-read strategy for rifling through War and Peace — the seventh longest book in a Latin alphabet” — in a week. 

The first of the six quick-read tips is to get as deep as possible on day one:

War and Peace is around 1,115 pages long, and therefore in a week you should average 159 pages a day. The total of the first three books is 265 pages, and is set in the same year, 1805, serving as an introduction. Doing this gives you a head start and allows you to get a strong foundation for the world prior to the main action.”

Other bits of advice include choosing the Louise Maude translation, slowing down for the relatively action-packed chapters 8-15, and doing prior dramaturgical research on certain historical characters including Napoleon I of France and Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

Take a look at the full post below to see the whole piece.

Read more at Enkicharity.

Below, graphic novelist David Small explains how the work of Tolstoy influenced his own writing:


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