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February 2nd, 2016

09:50 pm:          Book 10 -- Now with Even More War

Ch. I-XI: It’s 1812. Napoleon is scary. Prince Andrei wanders around the war, looking for Anatole so he can challenge him to a duel for having tried to seduce/abduct Natasha, but doesn’t find him. He does invent chaos theory.

Ch. XII-XV: Elsewhere in the War, Nicholai has his own young sidekick now (where’s Denisov?!) Also he captures an enemy officer with such ease that he feels really guilty and embarrassed when he’s awarded a medal for it.

Book 11:


(More seriously: the first half of this novel was a slog, but somewhere around Book Eight, all the plots that the author had spent hundreds of pages setting up began to finally pay off, and it’s been really good for the last while. Now to go find out who’s not dead.)

The End:


More seriously -- Even though Epilogue I could pretty much be read as "and most of the surviving characters got a reasonably happy ending," it depressed me for some reason, maybe because it ended abruptly and sort of anticlimactically and was followed by a second epilogue in which Tolstoy recaps all the abstract historical-theory parts of the novel; maybe because Natasha and Sonya's endings were "being happy being an ordinary matron" and "being happy being a doormat."


January 31st, 2016

08:36 am: Dream Report
 (Middle of the night)
In a warehouse, Salma Hayek was organizing some kind of jumble sale for charity. I was a volunteer assistant. David Bowie showed up with some clothes to donate, though I can't recall whether they were stage costumes or just normal stuff.

(Later, before and after various awakenings)
I was back at university, and living in a residence where everyone shared one big room full of bunkbeds. I had a single bed, though, with a small living room area (square, with little globe-shaped lights at two of the corners) in behind it.

I kept coming across footage of a Spanish Surrealist poet, who had later gone to Hollywood become an actress at Universal -- handful_ofdust recognized her from something called <i>Daughter of the Wolfman</i> (?) Her name was Yva or Ysa something. I think my brain was actually basing her name off Yves Tanguay.

Some kind of cartoon about pigs wearing overalls?

I was suddenly married to a guy named Han (big bearish guy, curly hair, possibly Polynesian) who had a small stepdaughter. They were nice, but I was vaguely worried that I couldn't recall how we'd met or that we only seemed to have known each other a week. Trying to brush my teeth before bed, I kept picking up what I thought were tubes of toothpaste but invariably turned out to be hair gel or some other non-toothpaste substance.


January 30th, 2016

08:49 pm: Book 8, Ch. III
I think the Count Rostopchin who shows up here is a real person and the father of Sophie Rostophchine, la Comtesse de Segur, AKA the author of half the books I read in French Immersion.

Ch. V
Smarmy Boris marries Julie, who is basically a Goth, but very rich:

To Boris, Julie was particularly gracious: she regretted his early disillusionment with life, offered him such consolation of friendship as she who had herself suffered so much could render, and showed him her album. Boris sketched two trees in the album and wrote: "Rustic trees, your dark branches shed gloom and melancholy upon me."

On another page he drew a tomb, and wrote:

    La mort est secourable et la mort est tranquille.      Ah! contre les douleurs il n'y a pas d'autre asile.

Natasha meets her future sister-in-law and has a strained awkward conversation.

Ch. IX

The floor of the stage consisted of smooth boards, at the sides was some painted cardboard representing trees, and at the back was a cloth stretched over boards. In the center of the stage sat some girls in red bodices and white skirts. One very fat girl in a white silk dress sat apart on a low bench, to the back of which a piece of green cardboard was glued. They all sang something. When they had finished their song the girl in white went up to the prompter's box and a man with tight silk trousers over his stout legs, and holding a plume and a dagger, went up to her and began singing, waving his arms about.

First the man in the tight trousers sang alone, then she sang, then they both paused while the orchestra played and the man fingered the hand of the girl in white, obviously awaiting the beat to start singing with her. They sang together and everyone in the theater began clapping and shouting, while the man and woman on the stage—who represented lovers—began smiling, spreading out their arms, and bowing.



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06:49 pm: End of Book 7 (some spoilers)
 So, the wolf-hunting scene was… fairly horrifying. I can’t tell if Tolstoy meant us to go, “ugh, animal cruelty” or “yay, sport in the countryside.” Maybe the latter, because it starts off several chapters in which the Rostovs Do Traditional Stuff and Are Folksy and Russian Instead of Sophisticated and French.

 Interestingly, their traditions include both Christmas mumming and trying to fortell one’s future husband by looking in a mirror in a dark room, both of which I knew in western variants.

While they’re both  cross-dressed as part of the mumming, Nicholai suddenly remembers he’s in love with Sonya and proposes. Never let it be said this book goes for the obvious romantic cliché.

While the girls are fortune-telling with the mirror (still with mustaches drawn on their faces from earlier) Natasha asks Sonya to look on her behalf:

“Of course she will!” whispered Natasha, but did not finish… suddenly Sonya pushed away the glass she was holding and covered her eyes with her hand.

“Oh, Natasha!” she cried.

“Did you see? Did you? What was it?” exclaimed Natasha, holding up the looking glass.

Sonya had not seen anything, she was just wanting to blink and to get up when she heard Natasha say, “Of course she will!” She did not wish to disappoint either Dunyasha or Natasha, but it was hard to sit still. She did not herself know how or why the exclamation escaped her when she covered her eyes.

“You saw him?” urged Natasha, seizing her hand.

“Yes. Wait a bit… I… saw him,” Sonya could not help saying, not yet knowing whom Natasha meant by him, Nicholas or Prince Andrew.

“But why shouldn’t I say I saw something? Others do see! Besides who can tell whether I saw anything or not?” flashed through Sonya’s mind.

“Yes, I saw him,” she said.

“How? Standing or lying?”

“No, I saw… At first there was nothing, then I saw him lying down.”

“Andrew lying? Is he ill?” asked Natasha, her frightened eyes fixed on her friend.

“No, on the contrary, on the contrary! His face was cheerful, and he turned to me.” And when saying this she herself fancied she had really seen what she described.

“Well, and then, Sonya?…”

“After that, I could not make out what there was; something blue and red…”

This is kind of interesting, because if it does later turn out to be prophetic in some way, it would seem that the prophesy lies not in consciously seeing anything, but in what one’s mind prompts one to say about it afterward.

Oh, also Natasha is presently engaged to Prince Andrei, which is… either they’re perfect for one another or a hot mess, and no one (including themselves) seems to know which.


January 28th, 2016

08:24 pm: War & Peace, Somewhere Between Books 6-7
 It’s, like, 1810 by now

Pierre is back together with Helene, though it’s a marriage in name only. Actually it seems to work better this way: she’s somehow got a reputation for being witty as well as beautiful, and he’s her quiet, good-natured husband. Actually he’s thinking about God and the meaning of life the whole time, but no one notices.

ETA – and, um, having somewhat erotic dreams about the head of the Masonic order.

“And he’s very nice, very, very nice. Only not quite my taste—he is so narrow, like the dining-room clock…. Don’t you understand? Narrow, you know—gray, light gray…”

“What rubbish you’re talking!” said the countess.

Natasha continued: “Don’t you really understand? Nicholas would understand…. Bezukhov, now, is blue, dark-blue and red, and he is square.”

“You flirt with him too,” said the countess, laughing.

“No, he is a Freemason, I have found out. He is fine, dark-blue and red…. How can I explain it to you?”

Natasha is synaesthetic, apparently.


Meanwhile, Berg & Vera’s relationship appears to be a happily awful one:

Berg smiled with a sense of his superiority over a weak woman, and paused, reflecting that this dear wife of his was after all but a weak woman who could not understand all that constitutes a man’s dignity, what it was ein Mann zu sein. * Vera at the same time smiling with a sense of superiority over her good, conscientious husband, who all the same understood life wrongly, as according to Vera all men did.


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January 24th, 2016

08:35 pm: Book Something, Chapter XII
OK, when it’s just Pierre and Andrei talking philosophy/religion, this story is pretty good.

”When returning from his leave, Rostov felt, for the first time, how close was the bond that united him to Denisov and the whole regiment.”

War & Peace: Friendship Is Magic


January 20th, 2016

08:02 pm: W&P, continued



#blogging War & Peace#trying to avoid spoilers 

So Pierre’s suddenly become a Freemason:

“Yes, that must be so,” thought Pierre, when after these words the Rhetor went away, leaving him to solitary meditation. “It must be so, but I am still so weak that I love my life, the meaning of which is only now gradually opening before me.” But five of the other virtues which Pierre recalled, counting them on his fingers, he felt already in his soul: courage, generosity, morality, love of mankind, and especially obedience—which did not even seem to him a virtue, but a joy. (He now felt so glad to be free from his own lawlessness and to submit his will to those who knew the indubitable truth.) He forgot what the seventh virtue was and could not recall it.

He’s really more into the initiation than the Masons conducting it, tho:

The bandage was taken off his eyes and, by the faint light of the burning spirit, Pierre, as in a dream, saw several men standing before him, wearing aprons like the Rhetor’s and holding swords in their hands pointed at his breast. Among them stood a man whose white shirt was stained with blood. On seeing this, Pierre moved forward with his breast toward the swords, meaning them to pierce it. But the swords were drawn back from him and he was at once blindfolded again.



January 17th, 2016

08:14 pm: That Novel About Russia, Book 4:


"Denisov! We're here! He's asleep," he added, leaning forward with his whole body as if in that position he hoped to hasten the speed of the sleigh.




She pulled up her muslin sleeve and showed him a red scar on her long, slender, delicate arm, high above the elbow on that part that is covered even by a ball dress.  "I burned this to prove my love for her. I just heated a ruler in the fire and pressed it there!"
Of Bolkonski, nothing was said, and only those who knew him intimately regretted that he had died so young, leaving a pregnant wife with his eccentric father.
WAIT is Prince Andrei dead after all I’m confused

Is *Dolokhov* dead?



January 12th, 2016

09:18 pm: War & Peace, Book, um, 3... I think, CHAPTER VII

Nicholai Rostov and Prince Andrei have just met, and I immediately get yaoi vibes:

Only when Prince Andrew was gone did Rostov think of what he ought to have said. And he was still more angry at having omitted to say it. He ordered his horse at once and, coldly taking leave of Boris, rode home. Should he go to headquarters next day and challenge that affected adjutant, or really let the matter drop, was the question that worried him all the way. He thought angrily of the pleasure he would have at seeing the fright of that small and frail but proud man when covered by his pistol, and then he felt with surprise that of all the men he knew there was none he would so much like to have for a friend as that very adjutant whom he so hated.


Stopping in front of the Pavlograds, the Tsar said something in French to the Austrian Emperor and smiled.  Seeing that smile, Rostov involuntarily smiled himself and felt a still stronger flow of love for his sovereign. He longed to show that love in some way and knowing that this was impossible was ready to cry. The Tsar called the colonel of the regiment and said a few words to him.  "Oh God, what would happen to me if the Emperor spoke to me?" thought Rostov. "I should die of happiness!"

Uh, OK… now it looks like Rostov has yaoi feelings for the Tsar as well.*


Boris was excited by the thought of being so close to the higher powers

as he felt himself to be at that moment. He was conscious that here he was in contact with the springs that set in motion the enormous movements of the mass of which in his regiment he felt himself a tiny, obedient, and insignificant atom. 



OK I’m having a hard time remembering Dolokhov, Denisov and Dolgorukov. They’ve all got pretty distinct personalities but it’s hard to match the name to the character until he says or does something.

*By Chapter X, everybody's just matter-of-factly "Oh, young Rostov's totally fallen in love with the Tsar. I mean, we don't even blame him because RUSSIA!"

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