Tag Archives: War and Peace

The joy of re-reading…with Charlie Brooker

The joy of re-reading – now I really hate re-living moments, whether it be books or films (except for music, I can play a song for hours on end til I break the record).

I had to re-think my stance though, after reading Charlie Brooker’s insightful piece

Apparently 65% of us have lied about reading the great works of literature. We needn’t have bothered

Haha, I love Charlie Brooker.

Well, I’ve got to say – no I haven’t read 1984, I’m trying to gather the courage to pick up Ulysses, i read the entire Bible when I was 12 and I feel embarrassed admitting Tolstoy’s War and Peace is my favourite book of all time.

The first three don’t bother me so much but War and Peace, well there is a conundrum, I think of it fondly and I might cite is my favourite 1000 pages but I can barely remember a word. So,

why is it my favourite? Maybe because I read it in Italy while I was backpacking and it reminds me of the carefree, orange-blossom smell in the air. But it’s more than that, as a book the language is beautiful and precise, and helped me evolve as a fictional writer – I just wish I could remember.

I have read nearly all the greats, or what I consider the worthy (minus the post-1940s disappointments) – but can’t remember.

Nevertheless, I should re-read all these novels that gave me so much joy, taught me about love (every single Victorian novel, my favourite of course being, the oh so unsatisfying, Jane Eyre), it taught me about life and every other thing that anyone needs to know under the sun. (Oh except for animals, don’t understand them, don’t read about them, so can barely tell them apart – never ask me about badgers/porcupines/beavers/otters/moles…)

Because although the fictional world had a heavy hand in moulding me into who I am today, I still bloody well don’t remember.

Soooo, next I want to read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

And I want to read the last Anna Politkovskaya book sitting on my buckling shelf, and the end of the Amber Spyglass so I can return it to my friend, and finish Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, and read whoever won the Man Booker this year, and last year and maybe 2007.

And I want to read what I have already read: my falling to pieces War and Peace, my annoying Anna Karenina (so when I say she annoys me I can back up the why), and finish Dante, and re-read (in English) Madam Bovary, and Tess of d’urbervillles, and The Master and Margarita, and The Satanic Verses, and Crime and Punishment and Villette (consequently the only I really remember vividly).

But I can’t, or won’t, because I still sit at home…watching TV.

But, I most definitely do not say I have read a book just so that I can seem more attractive, a) because it’s pointless; knowing me, my date would quiz me, and b) I’ve usually read anything they have anyway. Plus like Charlie says, who really thinks “man, s/he is totally hot, now that I know s/he’s read Lord of the Rings”.

So here’s what I should do: make a list of everything I want to read, ask everyone else what they think I should read, include Richard and Judy ‘s book recommendations, and ….

… only read War and Peace and Agatha Christie for the rest of my life.

P.S. There’s a grossly blatant repetition here, can anyone spot it?

P.P.S. I miss Jon Ronson and his crazy ways.


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