How often have you been dating, interviewed, or even quizzed on Facebook and in a moment of panic told a porky when asked ‘have you read War and Peace’?
Mumble mumble mumble
Well, you’re not the only one… According to pollsters almost half of us claim to have read more than we have. The stats don’t surprise me. I know I’ve done it. Why? Because claiming to have read War and Peace instead of Twilight means people will see our smarter and more cultured selves? I dunno, you tell me. It seems silly when you think about it.
With Tolstoy’s Russian masterpiece weighing in it at 1,225 pages, getting through the tome takes commitment , (32.63 hours worth of shopping, eating, gaming), and with twitter and the BBC serving up instant gratification versions, ‘enhancing’ your Good Reads account has never been easier.
The reception to Andrew Davies’ adaption was good, really good, but can a well received TV series transmit everything Tolstoy poured into his masterpiece? It’s a question that the Handmaids Tale recent televisual success has also left me wondering, (because, between you and me I haven’t actually read that one either).
But, if you agree with Stephen King that ‘the word is only a representation of the meaning’ then its arguable that it doesn’t matter how many (or how few) words a story is told in as long as at least one of them captures the essence of its meaning. So with this theory in mind, when your teacher, mum, date next asks the question and you don’t have 30+ hours to spare, do you think checking out the twitter take, quoting King and saying yes will leave you guilt free?
I’m not sure, but i’d like to think to find out. And with that final kick of motivation… i’m off to read Tolstoy….
LEO TOLSTOY: WAR AND PEACE
Napoleon invades Russia. Russian aristocratic families sent into a tizz. War ensues. French retreat. Russians celebrate. Lots of them marry.