A New Challenge

A lot has happened in the eight days since I last posted something here, and to be frank a lot will happen in the days and weeks to come. Thankfully it seems no one really missed “Shelf Reflections” too much, so…

Anyway, I’m excited! Not just because of certain life circumstances and decisions to make at this juncture (it’s actually terrifying more than anything else), but because I am going to embark on a journey that I think it’s high time to start:


That’s right, folks – I’m going to read War and Peace. All of it, cover to cover.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to sound reckless or itinerant, and I’m not going to turn every post from this point forward into a BuzzFeed-esque list of “10 Ways Anna Pavlovna Scherer Is Just A More Articulate Mrs. Weasley,” etc. (Sorry.) As with almost every book I encounter, though, I want to read a good story, and I hope to figure out what it is about the book that lends it such weight and prestige in the history of literature.

I’m also going to hold myself to a daily commitment of about 20 pages a day. The edition I have (footnotes, intro, and appendices excluded) is just over 1300 pages in length – a 65-day project, if all goes well. (Future Chris: It won’t. But there’s no reason not to try.)

Nevertheless, it’s the kind of challenge I relish, and I suspect the rewards will far outweigh the effort…and hopefully the book itself. Onwards!


About csquaredetc

I'm a graduate student in English at the University of Pennsylvania (or "Penn" for short). My most prolific writing is on The Hong Kong Project, a blog about my former experience as an exchange student: thehkproject.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Books, Miscellaneous, Novels and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A New Challenge

  1. Rick says:

    what has become of you? did you finish war and peace?

    • csquaredetc says:

      Hi Rick! Thanks for your comment – as you can tell, it’s been several years since I last wrote on this blog, so I appreciate your finding the time to read through this post.

      Yes, I did finish War and Peace, although it’s strange to realize that happened over three years ago now! Nevertheless, I remember the feeling of completing Tolstoy’s great novel: it was as if I had floated out of a two-month-long reverie back into the present. I’d been so consumed with his prose and grandeur that, in truth, it has been difficult to feel the same way about other literary works I’ve read since then. Perhaps the closest feeling came with Milton’s Paradise Lost, which I (re-)read, meaningfully, in my first semester of graduate school.

      Speaking of graduate school: that’s where I am now. I’m pursuing my PhD in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania, and I am about to embark on my dissertation. It’s been a long ride so far, and there is a long way to go, but the challenge of reflecting (and now researching) on literature remains as fresh and daunting as ever!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s