(*I apologize that there is no picture for this post. Our house is in shambles because of our leak and also because we just returned from a trip. The hedgehogs from previous War and Peace photos are nowhere to be found. Possibly gone forever.)
So, I finally finished War and Peace, and I loved it. In fact the week I finished, I wandered around in a War and Peace haze, consumed by thoughts of Natasha, Andrei, and Pierre (after spending 1400 pages with my fictional friends, I became very attached. Even to old wrinkly angry Prince Bolkonsky). I found that everything I encountered somehow seemed to relate back to an idea or scene from the book. There is so much to think about with this beast of a novel and I don't want to write anything that would spoil it for anyone who is considering reading it (maybe we can discuss in the comments, Sophie and Christen and anyone else who finished? I'm really curious to hear your takes on some specific things).
But generally speaking, I loved how Tolstoy wrote these characters, and how good he was at describing human character in its entirety, particularly weaknesses, and with such honesty and gentleness (very instructive for those of us who are kind of idiots most of the time).
I also loved how spiritual the book was - particularly I loved Pierre's re-birth, so to speak. And that those characters who were most admirable in the book (to me) were the ones who asked themselves hard questions and found answers to those questions through a belief in something bigger and more beautiful than their own intellect - namely, the existence of God and His involvement in their lives.
Sigh, to all of it, and that it is finished.
What next? Any suggestions? I've always been completely intimidated by The Brothers Karamazov...