A Year of War and Peace

Introducing a Daily, Yearlong, Chapter-by-Chapter Reading and Meditation on Tolstoy’s Masterpiece

What It Is

A Year of War and Peace is the bibliotheraputic equivalent of mainlining your favorite mood enhancer.

Over the course of one year, should you choose to join me, we will read one of the 361 chapters of War and Peace per day followed by a brief reflection on the chapter published here on Medium. These reflections will focus on the novel’s characters and how thinking about their nineteenth-century triumphs and failings may help us to live better, more fulfilling lives today. This unique reading of War and Peace is something I’ve been doing every day for the past seven years. I welcome you to join me this year.

Why You Should Join Me

The primary reason you should join me is that War and Peace is one of the greatest books ever written. It’s immensely enjoyable to read. It’s also just plain immense. In fact, its size is often cited as the reason people have not read it yet. A Year of War and Peace solves this problem by breaking down the gigantic novel into small, bite-sized pieces. No more than twenty minutes per day is required to read along and, by year’s end, with just this small investment of time, you’ll have a thorough understanding and appreciation of one of the world’s most celebrated books.

When It Starts

A Year of War and Peace begins on January 1, 2017. But, please, feel free to read at your own leisure.

What Translation I’ll be Reading

I’ll be reading Oxford World’s Classics’ Maude translation. I’ve read many of the English translations and this is my favorite. With the exception of the Norton Critical Edition, all the translations I’ve read follow the 361 chapter convention so following along with another translation should not be a problem. The first time I cycled through the book using the one-chapter-per-day method I used this cheap digital version. There are a few minor typos but it’s serviceable for our purposes.

The Daily Readings

Below are the daily readings. I will link to each as they are made available.

Day 1: Pavlovna’s God

Day 2: Pierre at the Party

Day 3: Enter Prince Andrei Bolkonsky

Day 4: Don’t Talk Politics

Day 5: Here’s Looking at Nothing, Kid

Day 6: An Unhappy Family Unhappy In Its Own Way

Day 7: именины

Day 8: Consider the Doll

Day 9: Nick Fit

Day 10: Kissing Cousins

Day 11: A Widow’s Workout

Day 12: Boris Does His Duty

Day 13: On the Distraction of C.R.E.A.M.

Day 14: Cry, Friend

Day 15: Speechmaking to Worms

Day 16: You May Die In Your Bed

Day 17: The Ants of Moscow

Day 18: Vasili the Unvirtuous

Day 19: Fate’s Force

Day 20: Approach of the Kneaded Clod (Bezukhov Smiles)

Day 21: Clarissa Explains It All

Day 22: On Proverbs and Purpose

Day 23: Good Grief, Part 1

Day 24: Good Grief, Part 2

Day 25: Good Grief, Part 3

Day 26: A Duty Disturbed

Day 27: A Review How-To

Day 28: Return of the Mack

Day 29: Raging Bull in a China Shop

Day 30: Pride’s Prejudice

Day 31: It’s Only Natural

Day 32: Amid the Madness

Day 33: Crave Not These Things

Day 34: Be the Rock

Day 35: The Flea Presumes

Day 36: Waking Well

Day 37: A Soldier’s Duty

Day 38: Prince Andrei in the Waking Echo of Confusing Strife

Day 39: On Miracles and Mistakes

Day 40: They Talked of Peace

Day 41: Plans and Anti-Plans

Day 42: “It Has Begun! Here it is!” Or: Smoke Puffs, French Pancakes and Bagration’s Chill

Day 43: Russian Carnage

Day 44: Get Ready

Day 45: Tune It Down the Middle

Day 46: Defeat in Victory

Day 47: Plotting Gardens on Volcanic Earth

Day 48: Lessons From Life and Literature

Day 49: Pop Offs and Prayers

Day 50: Justice Clashes

Day 51: Princess Marya Bolkonsky, Stoic Sage?

Day 52: But Then, Une Fine Mouche

Day 53: Fictions of Merit

Day 54: The Monstrous Enormous Whole

Day 55: Social Insecurity

Day 56: Wishing for Wishau

Day 57: Just Like Clockwork

Day 58: Leaving for Battle

Day 59: Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right

Day 60: Fog

Day 61: A Crop of Ruin

Day 62: That Infinite Sky

Day 63: Assorted Impressions

Day 64: Laughing for Some Reason Like Heaps of Manure on Well-Kept Plough Land and Disfigured by Fear of Death

Day 65: Une Belle Mort!

Day 66: Kisses

Day 67: Owned

Day 68: A Tale of Two

Day 69: The Meat it Feeds On

Day 70: Lear’s Baby

Day 71: Self-Judgment and the Wild Spectrum of Love

Day 72: The O’er Fraught Heart

Day 73: Habits and Homecomings

Day 74: The Lock in the Wax That Floats

Day 75: The Leaf and the Rake

Day 76: At Home in a Spirit of Love with a Head Full of Heat

Day 77: In the Neighborhood of Others

Day 78: Imitate or Loathe

Day 79: Self-Examination and the Dread Existential

Day 80: Oh Mio Crudele Affetto

Day 81: Tomorrow Never Knows

Day 82: The Stranger

Day 83: Lessons

Day 84: On Mediating Institutions

Day 85: Our Naked Shivering Nature

Day 86: Practice

Day 87: La Crème De La Véritable Bonne Société

Day 88: Flattering Mirror of the Proud

Day 89: The Wisdom of Choruses

Day 90: Torment as Teacher

Day 91: Practical Business

Day 92: Peaks

Day 93: Pals

Day 94: God’s Folk

Day 95: Hero

Day 96: Lines Written A Few Miles Above a Totally Ruined and Deserted German Village

Day 97: All That Is Moving And All That Is Not

Day 98: The Difference Between What Is Hard And What Is Easy

Day 99: When King Laugh Come (But Only For Some)

Day 100: Boris Drubetskoy And The Art of Career Advancement

Day 101: Where Despair Most Fits

Day 102: The Alexander Option

Day 103: Andrei’s Oak

Day 104: Natasha’s Moon

Day 105: Remote From These Bounties

Day 106: Prince Andrei Puts His Guiding Principles To Work

Day 107: Conform To The Nature of Which You Are A Part

Day 108: Every Day

Day 109: Maybe The Flu

Day 110: The Purification And Reformation Of Oneself

Day 111: Thinking Makes It So

Day 112: I ❤ Pierre Bezukhov

Day 113: Doubtable Foundations

Day 114: Such Seething Brains

Day 115: (Just So) What’ll We Do About Boris?

Day 116: Revving Up For Le Réveillon

Day 117: The Sweet Nectar

Day 118: Sunshine and Storm

Day 119: Markets and Meditations

Day 120: The Social Contagion

Day 121: These New Eyes and What They See

Day 122: Consider Also That You Do Many Things Wrong

Day 123: A Party of Leaves

Day 124: Through Weal and Woe

Day 125: All With Whom We Associate

Day 126: A Test of Character

Day 127: Stumbling Footsteps in the Dark

Day 128: Wax Wings are Things Without Feathers

Day 129: Family Law

Day 130: The Rage Returns

Day 131: Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Day 132: Baby, You’re a Rich Man

Day 133: It Raineth Every Day

Day 134: The One Breeds Union, the Other Disunion

Day 135: The Cosmopolitan Dream

Day 136: Stuck in the Net

Day 137: Fleas, Crickets, Grasshoppers

Day 138: Met Him Pike Hoses: I Sailed With Thee Along the Peruvian Coast Last Voyage

Day 139: Moonglow

Day 140: Natasha and the Infinite Mirrors

Day 141: Act Naturally

Day 142: Pierre’s Errors

Day 143: Eating the Other

Day 144: The Angry Man

Day 145: We Have a Thaw

Day 146: Le Sourire de la Mélancolie!

Day 147: A Ruler to Make the Crooked Straight

Day 148: What We Talk About When We Talk About Marty McFly Being Called a Chicken

Day 149: There Will Be a Show Tonight

Day 150: Moloch Whose Eyes Are a Thousand Blind Windows

Day 151: Do Not Swear By Natasha’s Moon

Day 152: Watchful and Natural Guardians (Call Your Mother)

Day 153: Sufficient to Cleanse the Soul Completely

Day 154: Have the Standards Ready

Day 155: Greater Kindness and Tender Compassion

Day 156: Control

Day 157: Dance My Dunce

Day 158: Bad Men

Day 159: Crushing It

Day 160: A History of Rage

Day 161: You Will Not Suffer Any Harm

Day 162: Birthday

Day 163: All You Need is Love

Day 164: The Sovereign and the Swarm

Day 165: Boundless and Bare the Lone and Level Sands Stretch Far Away

Day 166: Achievement

Day 167: The King of Naples!

Day 168: The Compact of Mutual Indulgence

Day 169: Ethos and Athos

Day 170: Reflect

Day 171: Adieu, André!

Day 172: On the Faculty of Choice

Day 173: Critical of Theory

Day 174: Kinderspiel!

Day 175: He Had Gained Experience

Day 176: Nikolai Karenina

Day 177: Before a Blowing Wind

Day 178: Absurdity, Injustice, and a Bestial Kind of Madness

Day 179: There Will Always Be a Protest

Day 180: At This Point, I Excuse You

Day 181: Persist and Weigh the Enemy More Mighty

Day 182: L’Russe Besuhof

Day 183: Bandage

Day 184: Humanity

Day 185: Serfin’ USA

Day 186: True Freedom and the Sleekest Slavery of All

Day 187: Read a Book Every Day

Day 188: Be the Belly Without Blemish

Day 189: Out of Luck in La Belle Époque

Day 190: Smolensk

Day 191: Ask the Dust

Day 192: Models

Day 193: Put Away All Covetousness

Day 194: The Remainder

Day 195: Warm Waters

Day 196: One Model

Day 197: Marya’s Response

Day 198: Swept Away Together

Day 199: The Meet Cute, Tolstoy Style

Day 200: A Consciousness of Wrongdoing

Day 201: Revisit the Lofty Sky of Austerlitz

Day 202: Kutuzov’s Anti-Plan

Day 203: I Read the New Today, Oh Boy

Day 204: (Working Title)

Day 205: The Blind Tools of History

Day 206: Like a Morning Dream

Day 207: No Thine Own Self

Day 208: Ready

Day 209: Atqui Vivere, Lucili, Militare Est

Day 210: Be Well Content

Day 211: As If Burned

Day 212: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Day 213: Amour Propre

Day 214: A Great Wind

Day 215: Clotho Forbids

Day 216: Love and Beauty and a Latent Heat

Day 217: As if in a Tempest

Day 218: They Will Not Stop It, They Are Not Horrified at What They Have Done

Day 219: The Hand That Moves the Battle Along

Day 220: War and Economics

Day 221: The Wisdom of Age

Day 222: Fear of Death

Day 223: Without Fear of Death

Day 224: Fifty Thousand Corpses Lay There (This Heart Within Me Burns)

Day 225: Fate Show Thy Force

Day 226: The Calculus of History

Day 227: Prosecute the Present Study

Day 228: Prepare to Meet Everything

Day 229: Plain

Day 230: So it Goes

Day 231: Keep

Day 232: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Day 233: The Natural Sauce

Day 234: Silence

Day 235: To Be Honest

Day 236: Pierre Bezukhov and the Practical Practice

Day 237: The Countess and the City

Day 238: Natasha Turns it Around

Day 239: Riches and Rightness

Day 240: Profitless

Day 241: Indifferents

Day 242: Old Efim’s Sufferance

Day 243: Total Nihilistic Existential Breakdown

Day 244: The Ryazan Road to Ruin by Revolution

Day 245: Droning On

Day 246: The Common Lot of Mortals

Day 247: Eschew Outwardly Before the Worlde

Day 248: Laws for Leadership

Day 249: Steal Something from the Thief

Day 250: Les Loups du Barbarisme

Day 251: They Carried Their Loot with Them

Day 252: L’Russe Besuhof (Reprise)

Day 253: A Just Vengeance

Day 254: Get Contaminated

Day 255: Sometimes the Bear Eats You

Day 256: To Dine in Africa

Day 257: Divine Love and the Refreshing Inn

Day 258: Lay Aside the Senator’s Dress

Day 259: More Than Mere Bodies

Day 260: Life is Ball

Day 261: Ought Not This Person be Destroyed?

Day 262: Les Décrets de la Divine Providence

Day 263: Nikolai Rostov and the Spontaneous Order

Day 264: πρόσωπον

Day 265: Without These Structural Components

Day 266: Man of Action, Man of Mind

Day 267: Footpaths

Day 268: Crown with a Halo

Day 269: A Relationship Remembered

Day 270: State the Simple Truth of It

Day 271: My Name is Platon

Day 272: Round

Day 273: Nature Likewise by Power of Reason

Day 274: It’s Okay to Cry (It’s Only Natural)

Day 275: The Dream of a Particle of Love

Day 276: The Two Handles of His Story

Day 277: Let Me See Who You Are

Day 278: On Kutuzov

Day 279: A Call for Clouds

Day 280: Abide the Outcome in the Dark

Day 281: Look How They Massacred My Boy

Day 282: The World Will Not Quarrel

Day 283: The Less Control We Have

Day 284: Controlling You

Day 285: Autumnal Leaves

Day 286: New Yorkers

Day 287: Stoic So Hard

Day 288: Memento Mori

Day 289: The Grain of a Fig

Day 290: Cogs

Day 291: Make Haste

Day 292: Kutuzov’s Champions

Day 293: Revenge

Day 294: Bubble Trouble

Day 295: Mars on Earth

Day 296: The Unfailing Antidote (Solving for X)

Day 297: Transformation and Opinion

Day 298: The Implacable Governor

Day 299: Tikhon’s Caesarean Section and the Inevitability of Death

Day 300: The Curtain is Raised

Day 301: Hold to the Precious Few

Day 302: Use a Ruler

Day 303: Not the Footprint

Day 304: Petya Rostov and the Fairyland Fugue

Day 305: Envy and Oswald 4.6.729

Day 306: Pierre Bezukhov’s Terrible March to Enlightenment

Day 307: A Sovereignty Ancient

Day 308: War

Day 309: Dream is Destiny

Day 310: Licked Before You Begin

Day 311: Lives Hastening, Turning in a Speeding Whirlwind

Day 312: Greatness

Day 313: A Component Part of a Social System

Day 314: On the Loss of a Loved One

Day 315: La Valle d’Abisso Dolorosa

Day 316: The Choice is All You Have

Day 317: The Hard Winter Training

Day 318: It’s Hard Out Here for a Philosopher

Day 319: Coriolanus and the Stone

Day 320: Force and Fatalism

Day 321: The Price is Pain

Day 322: It is Yourself You Spare

Day 323: Shrugged Shoulders and Simple Sighs

Day 324: Put on Your Pajamas

Day 325: The Last of the Human Freedoms

Day 326: Identicalizing

Day 327: Magic and Where to Find It

Day 328: Love (My Sighs Speak, Each One a Grievous Thing) — The Rusty Door Opens

Day 329: Delivery from the Snare

Day 330: How to Get Rich

Day 331: Hope and Fear

Day 332: Eudainomia

Day 333: Accept and Endure

Day 334: Formed by Nature to Change

Day 335: The Sheepish Aims of Great Men

Day 336: From Thence All Things Flow

Day 337: The Bee is Something Else Entirely

Day 338: Everybody Hurts

Day 339: Determined Love

Day 340: How to Employ the Soul

Day 341: Nikolai Rostov and That Old Hussar Habit

Day 342: Jumping After Stars

Day 343: Between Fire and Ice

Day 344: It Kills the Ills

Day 345: Joy and Despair

Day 346: Happy Holidays!

Day 347: The Individual Mind and the Political Body

Day 348: Remember the Fifty Names

Day 349: The Word

Day 350: Blind Accidents

Day 351: Keep it Up We’re in the Final Stretch Now

Day 352: Just as it Was

Day 353: Feral Humanity

Day 354: Strange Blood and the Continuous Spinning Thread of the Web

Day 355: The Tolstoy Cone

Day 356: Power to the People

Day 357: Like Hadrian and Augustus

Day 358: We Fishermen Caught in a Net

Day 359: A Man’s Own Judgments

Day 360: Cause

Day 361: The End

Written by

For my friends and family, love. For my enemies, durian fruit.

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