Lizzy’s Literary Life is 200 posts old today. Does that mean that Lizzy has now outgrown childhood and is ready to launch into a rebellious adolescence? Or has she passed that milestone already?
How did it happen so quickly? It seems like this online notebook of mine only got started 19 months ago yesterday.
Even more unbelievably, how have I got to post 200 and not mentioned Tolstoy or more specifically War and Peace, the greatest novel of all time and, since I started talking about desert island books, my number 1 choice.
There are so many reasons to love War and Peace. For once though let’s forgo all the literary ones. They’re well documented elsewhere. These are Lizzy’s.
1) As the saying goes “You don’t read War and Peace, you live it”. So true – I’m a three-timer myself. The first time at the age of 17, the second somewhere in my early 30’s and the third coincided with the BBC’s Big Read and heralded the start of my online presence. I, or Lifelong Bookworm as I was in those days, organised an online read-a-thon. It was my first and we read and discussed War and Peace in week-sized chunks over the course of 3 months. The Big Read Board now sadly defunct but those discussions saved onto a digistick for posterity.
2) Prince Andrei. Proud, cynical but so very, very vulnerable. Keep your Darcys – wet shirts and all. Andrei is the fictional man who raises my heartbeat. In fact, as I was morphing from Lifelong Bookworm, via Lancastrian Nomad, to Lizzy, I considered a tribute to my favourite literary male. But somehow Princess Andrea just didn’t resonate.
3) I once won a prize courtesy of War and Peace. The only one ever. At a Bloomsbury Reader’s Day the audience was asked the stock desert island book question. My response, describing Tolstoy’s 1000+ page masterpiece in 50 words, went something like this:
“War and Peace contains the whole gammut of human experience – war, peace, love, hatred, life, death and the many variations inbetween. I’d never feel lonely on an island with its cast of characters for company. The philosophic material perfect also for quieter reflective moments.”
Barbara Trapido thought it good enough to award me a rather nice bottle of chardonnay. It wasn’t sparkling but this one is. Let’s hear it for Tolstoy and for the next 200. Would someone do the honours?