“Do you think War and Peace would have been as popular if it had been titled ‘War, What is it good for?'”
This is a paraphrase of an argument from the classic television show Seinfeld. The characters have a debate and, of course, one of them asks this of a Russian fellow who was a descendant of Tolstoy, or something, to his chagrin. For me, this may have been the first time I heard of the book. I remember looking at it at a bookstore and it was SO LONG that I thought, “nope.”
Then eventually I decided to give it a try. I had read Dostoevsky and wanted to move on to the other famous Russian novelist. Surprisingly, War and Peace is not an incredibly difficult read. Sure there are lots of characters and it is incredibly long. But if you’ve read Game of Thrones or a Brandon Sanderson novel you’re used to lots of characters in long books. The biggest challenge is that the primary story is intertwined with stories of Napoleon invading Russia. If you do not like history, this is a bit challenging.
Overall though, there is a reason this book is a classic. Its a wonderful story. From this, it is worth reading some of Tolstoy’s nonfiction such as The Kingdom of God is Within You (which should probably be on my list). I haven’t read Anna Karenina, but someday.
Don’t be afraid. Check out War and Peace. And honestly, it is a brag book. You can take pride in finishing it.