Somewhere along the line, I got it into my head that I wanted to read it in the original language, which is going to be much, much harder. I studied Russian in college, but that was ten years ago, and I've lost a lot of it. I can't speak it anymore, but I can read it (slowly, and with a dictionary at hand).
It's been a little tricky finding a format that I'm actually likely to read. Four fat volumes make print awkward (too big!); so did reading a sketchy Kindle edition* on the iPhone, whose limited display area forced me to flip back pages far too often (too small!).
Now I have a real Kindle, with a better screen, and it occurred to me to look for public domain digitizations through WorldCat, archive.org, and Google. (I already knew I could get the English from Project Gutenberg; I'd been using it in lieu of a Russian/English dictionary.) Lo! They led me to:
- War and Peace, Vol. 1-2, Russian/French original, on Google Books
- War and Peace, Vol. 3-4, Russian/French original, on Google Books
- War and Peace, English translation, on Project Gutenberg
Over on tor.com, Leigh Butler has been blogging her first time reading A Song of Ice And Fire;** it seems like a pretty good format on which to base blogging my first time reading War and Peace. What seems particularly useful is that she's thought to write a summary of what she read, so that she can keep track of what's going on; I am very likely to forget what's happened already, especially given the huge cast of characters.
And, er, especially given how very, very likely I am to set it down for long periods of time. I'm not so good on the whole finish what you start thing. But I am telling myself: one is allowed to take a very long time to accomplish an item from one's "Things To Do Before I Die" list. There's only the one deadline, and if you don't make it... well, nobody's going to have opportunity to scold you, are they?
* I'm also not entirely sure that sketchy Kindle copy won't go the way of 1984 - it disappeared from Amazon's listings for a while, and then later reappeared under a slightly different title. Suspicious. (I never finished the sample, so never popped the $2 to examine the entire content - for all I know, it might not even be all four volumes. The product description is virtually nonexistent. It makes me unwilling to shell out any money at all, if I can find an alternative.)
** I had been dying for her to get to that one part near the end of the first book - you know the one I mean if you've read it, and if you haven't, you'll know it when you get there - for MONTHS. I lived to see her reaction. It did not disappoint: it was just like mine.