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APS Together

Tolstoy Together 2021

July 28, 2021

August 3, 2021
Dear Friends,

Paging through Tolstoy Together: 85 Days of War and Peace—a book about reading Tolstoy's epic novel together last year—I have found myself exclaiming with joy: to experience a novel of multitudes with a multitude of minds.

Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was fortunate to have readers around the world join me for a journey through War and Peace. Tolstoy Together encapsulates that extraordinary experience. In September, when this communal reading journal is published by A Public Space Books, I invite you for an encore book club to read Tolstoy's novel.

Whether you are a first-time reader or a re-reader of War and Peace, whether you were part of last year’s journey or you are new to the endeavor, I hope you will be able to join us. We will read War and Peace along with Tolstoy Together—looking with more than one pair of eyes, and conversing with our fellow observers from last year. It will be like a party of the best kind.

Ever yours,
Yiyun Li

For Yiyun Li's #TolstoyTogether 2021 Reading Journal, click here.

How It Will Work
The book club will begin on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. It is free and open to all. Every morning, I will share notes on the day's reading on this website page, as well as on A Public Space's Twitter and Instagram accounts with the hashtag #TolstoyTogether. I hope you will share your thoughts and responses, and ask questions using #TolstoyTogether. An overview of the week's reading will be included in A Public Space's weekly Saturday newsletter.

There will also be several virtual events with independent bookstores throughout the fall. You can find the full schedule here.

What You Will Need
A copy of War and Peace! Any translation will do. I will be reading two translations: Anthony Briggs's version, and the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I hope you will also order a copy of Tolstoy Together: 85 Days of War and Peace from your favorite independent bookstore—your purchase helps to support A Public Space's series of book clubs, and to keep them free and open to all.

Questions about #APStogether? Write to

The Schedule
The aim of the book club is to read together daily. I hope the reading—a gentle schedule: 12-15 pages a day, around 30 minutes—can provide an anchor this fall, when transitions bring hope, thrill, and sometimes uncertainty.

Week 1

Day 1 | September 15
Volume I, Part I, i-iii. (From “Eh bien, mon prince” to “the company of intelligent women.”)

Day 2 | September 16
Volume I, Part I, iv-vi (partial). (From “Anna Pavlovna smiled” to “Word of honor!”)

Day 3 | September 17
Volume I, Part I, vi (second half) - x. (From “It was already past one o’clock” to “she slowly walked beside him to the sitting room.”)

Day 4 | September 18
Volume I, Part I, xi-xiv. (From “The countess was so tired” to “But for both of them they were pleasant tears…”)

Day 5 | September 19
Volume I, Part I, xv-xvii. (From “Countess Rostov, with her daughters” to “letting out a long, deep breath and pushing up her sleeves.”)

Day 6 | September 20
Volume I, Part I, xviii-xx. (From “Just as the sixth anglaise was being danced” to “Pierre went out.”)

Day 7 | September 21
Volume I, Part I, xxi-xxiii. (From “There was no one in the reception room now” to “Go to the dining room.”)

Week 2

Day 8 | September 22
Volume I, Part I, xxiv-xxv (end of Part I). (From “At the appointed hour” to “shook his head reproachfully, and slammed the door.”)

Day 9 | September 23
Volume I, Part II, i-iii. (From “In October 1805” to “the cornet turned and left the corridor.”)

Day 10 | September 24
Volume I, Part II, iv-vii. (From “The Pavlogradsky hussar regiment” to “Put a stick between your legs, that’ll do you for a horse,” rejoined the hussar.)

Day 11 | September 25
Volume I, Part II, viii-ix. (From “The rest of the infantry” to “a long-past, far-off memory.”)

Day 12 | September 26
Volume I, Part II, x-xiii. (From “Prince Andrei stayed in Brünn” to “women of their mutual acquaintance.”)

Day 13 | September 27
Volume I, Part II, xiv-xviii. (From “On the first of November” to “after the disordered French.”)

Day 14 | September 28
Volume I, Part II, xix-xxi (end of Part II). (From “The attack of the sixth chasseurs” to “Bagration’s detachment joined Kutuzov’s army.”)

Week 3

Day 15 | September 29
Volume I, Part III, i-ii. (From “Prince Vassily did not think out his plans” to “the counts Bezukhov in Petersburg.”)

Day 16 | September 30
Volume I, Part III, iii-iv. (From “Old Prince Nikolai Andreich Bolkonsky received a letter” to “raising her finger and smiling, she left the room.”)

Day 17 October 1
Volume I, Part III, v-vii. (From “They all dispersed” to “this hateful little adjutant.”)

Day 18 October 2
Volume I, Part III, viii-ix. (From “On the day after the meeting” to “remained for a time with the Izmailovsky regiment.”)

Day 19 October 3
Volume I, Part III, x-xiii. (From “At dawn on the sixteenth” to “worthy of my people, you, and myself. Napoleon.”)

Day 20 October 4
Volume I, Part III, xiv-xvi. (From “At five o’clock in the morning” to “‘And thank God!’…”)

Day 21 October 5
Volume I, Part III, xvii-xix (end of Volume I). (From “At nine o’clock” to “handed over to the care of the local inhabitants.”)

Week 4

Day 22 October 6
Volume II, Part I, i-iv. (From “At the beginning of 1806” to “Everyone was silent.”)

Day 23 October 7
Volume II, Part I, v-x. (From “‘Well, begin!’ said Dolokhov” to “dinners, evening parties, and balls.”)

Day 24 October 8
Volume II, Part I, xi-xvi (end of Part I). (From “On the third day of Christmas” to “which was already in Poland.”)

Day 25 October 9
Volume II, Part II, i-iii. (From “After his talk with his wife” to “with joy and tender feeling.”)

Day 26 October 10
Volume II, Part II, iv-vii. (From “Soon after that, it was not the rhetor” to “an intimate of Countess Bezukhov’s house.”)

Day 27 October 11
Volume II, Part II, viii-x. (From “The war was heating up” to “that is, all they could.”)

Day 28 October 12
Volume II, Part II, xi-xv. (From “Returning from his southern journey” to “Rostov noticed tears in Denisov’s eyes.”)

Week 5

Day 29 October 13
Volume II, Part II, xvi-xxi (end of Part II). (From "In the month of October" to "’Hey, you! Another bottle!’ he shouted.”)

Day 30 October 14
Volume II, Part III, i-v. (From "In 1808 the emperor Alexander went" to "trying not to be noticed, left the room.")

Day 31 October 15
Volume II, Part III, vi-x. (From "During the initial time of his stay in Petersburg" to "if Thou forsakest me altogether.")

Day 32 October 16
Volume II, Part III, xi-xv. (From “The financial affairs of the Rostovs" to "the way he does with these ladies.")

Day 33 October 17
Volume II, Part III, xvi-xxi. (From "Suddenly everything stirred" to "and Berg drew Pierre into it.")

Day 34 October 18
Volume II, Part III, xxii-xxvi (end of Part III). (From “"The next day Prince Andrei went to the Rostovs'" to "she loved her father and her nephew more than God.")

Day 35 October 19
Volume II, Part IV, i-v. (From “Biblical tradition says that absence of work" to "shyly smiled his childishly meek and pleasant smile.")

Week 6

Day 36 October 20
Volume II, Part IV, vi-viii. (From “The old count rode home" to "Things were not cheerful in the Rostovs' house.")

Day 37 October 21
Volume II, Part IV, ix-xiii (end of Part IV). (From “Christmastime came" to "went to Moscow at the end of January.")

Day 38 October 22
Volume II, Part V, i-iv. (From “After the engagement" to "try to get the old prince used to her.")

Day 39 October 23
Volume II, Part V, v-viii. (From “Boris had failed to marry" to "Natasha also began to look.")

Day 40 October 24
Volume II, Part V, ix-xiii. (From "The stage consisted of flat boards" to "no answers to these terrible questions.")

Day 41 October 25
Volume II, Part V, xiv-xvii. (From "Morning came with its cares" to "ran back with him to the troika.")

Day 42 October 26
Volume II, Part V, xviii-xxii (end of Volume II). (From "Marya Dmitrievna, finding the weeping Sonya" to "now blossoming into new life.")

Week 7

Day 43 October 27
Volume III, Part I, i-v. (From "Since the end of the year 1811" to "Alexander had sent him off.")

Day 44 October 28
Volume III, Part I, vi-viii. (From “Accustomed though Balashov was" to "presented themselves to Prince Andrei one after the other.")

Day 45 October 29
Volume III, Part I, ix-xii. (From "Prince Andrei arrived in the general headquarters" to "'Here. What lightning!' they said to each other.")

Day 46 October 30
Volume III, Part I, xiii-xviii. (From "In an abandoned tavern" to "'And it seemed to her that God heard her prayer.")

Day 47 October 31
Volume III, Part I, xix-xxiii (end of Part I). (From "Since the day when Pierre, leaving the Rostovs'" to "astonished at what they had done.")

Day 48 November 1
Volume III, Part II, i-iv. (From “Napoleon started the war with Russia" to "he spurred his horse and rode down the lane.")

Day 49 November 2
Volume III, Part II, v-vii. (From “From Smolensk the troops continued to retreat" to "He gave Lavrushka another horse and took him along”)

Week 8

Day 50 November 3
Volume III, Part II, viii-x. (From “Princess Marya was not in Moscow" to "she was ready to do everything for him and for the muzhiks.")

Day 51 November 4
Volume III, Part II, xi-xv. (From “An hour later Dunyasha came to the princess" to "'Oh, German scrupulosity!' he said, shaking his head.")

Day 52 November 5
Volume III, Part II, xvi-xix. (From “'Well, that's all now!' said Kutuzov" to "three hours from total destruction and flight.")

Day 53 November 6
Volume III, Part II, xx-xxiv. (From “On the morning of the twenty-fifth" to "’They'd gone to the estate outside Moscow.’")

Day 54 November 7
Volume III, Part II, xxv-xxviii. (From "The officers wanted to take their leave" to "worthily fulfilled his role of seeming to command.")

Day 55 November 8
Volume III, Part II, xxix-xxxii. (From “Having returned from a second preoccupied ride” to “a straining man crying out with his last strength.”)

Day 56 November 9
Volume III, Part II, xxxiii-xxxv. (From "The main action of the battle of Borodino" to "vacillating men were comforted and reassured.")

Week 9

Day 57 November 10
Volume III, Part II, xxxvi-xxxix (end of Part II). (From "Prince Andrei's regiment was in the reserves" to "the hand of an adversary stronger in spirit.")

Day 58 November 11
Volume III, Part III, i-v. (From "For human reason, absolute continuity" to "enormous current of people which carried him along with it.")

Day 59 November 12
Volume III, Part III, vi-xi. (From "Hélène, having returned with the court" to "saw any more of Pierre or knew where he was.")

Day 60 November 13
Volume III, Part III, xii-xvi. (From "The Rostovs remained in the city" to "tried to take along as much as possible.")

Day 61 November 14
Volume III, Part III, xvii-xxi. (From “Towards two o’clock the Rostovs’ four carriages” to “the troops were now moving forward.”)

Day 62 November 15
Volume III, Part III, xxii-xxv. (From “The city itself, meanwhile, was empty” to “began shouting and dispersing the clustering carts.”)

Day 63 November 16
Volume III, Part III, xxvi-xxix. (From “Towards four o’clock in the afternoon” to “lay down on the sofa and fell asleep at once.”)

Week 10

Day 64 November 17
Volume III, Part III, xxx-xxxiv (end of Volume III). (From “The glow of the first fire” to “Pierre was placed separately under strict guard.”)

Day 65 November 18
Volume IV, Part I, i-v. (From “In Petersburg, in the highest circles, a complex struggle” to “kissing her plump little hand.”)

Day 66 November 19
Volume IV, Part I, vi-x. (From “On arriving in Moscow after her meeting with Rostov” to “depriving him of life, everything, annihilating him.”)

Day 67 November 20
Volume IV, Part I, xi-xiii. (From “From Prince Shcherbatov’s house, the prisoners” to “the value or the meaning of a word or act taken separately.”)

Day 68 November 21
Volume IV, Part I, xiv-xvi (end of Part I). (From “On receiving from Nikolai the news” to “solemn mystery of death that had been accomplished before them.”)

Day 69 November 22
Volume IV, Part II, i-vii. (From “The totality of causes of phenomena” to “the push was given which Napoleon’s army was only waiting for to begin its flight.”)

Day 70 November 23
Volume IV, Part II, viii-xii. (From “Napoleon enters Moscow after the brilliant victory” to “Pierre felt that this view obliged him.”)

Week 11

Day 71 November 24
Volume IV, Part II, xiii-xix (end of Part I). (From “In the night of the sixth to seventh of October” to “along their same fatal path to Smolensk.”)

Day 72 November 25
Volume IV, Part III, i-vi. (From “The battle of Borodino, with the subsequent occupation of Moscow” to “‘Well, tell me about yourself,’ he said.”)

Day 73 November 26
Volume IV, Part III, vii-xii. (From “Petya, having left his family on their departure from Moscow” to “joyful and calming thoughts, memories, and images that came to him.”)

Day 74 November 27
Volume IV, Part III, xiii-xix (end of Part III). (From “At noon on the twenty-second, Pierre” to “to threaten, but not to lash the running animal on the head.”)

Day 75 November 28
Volume IV, Part IV, i-v. (From “When a man sees a dying animal” to “a lackey has his own idea of greatness.”)

Day 76 November 29
Volume IV, Part IV, vi-xi. (From “The fifth of November was the first day” to “And so he died.”)

Day 77 November 30
Volume IV, Part IV, xii-xvi. (From “Pierre, as most often happens, felt the whole burden” to “‘It’s the first time she’s spoken of him like that.’”)

Week 12

Day 78 December 1
Volume IV, Part IV, xvii-xx (end of Volume IV). (From ““Pierre was taken to the big, well-lit dining room” to “‘Right, Marie? It has to be so….’”)

Day 79 December 2
Epilogue, Part I, i-v. (From “Seven years had passed since 1812” to “that gloomy state of mind which alone enabled him to endure his situation.”)

Day 80 December 3
Epilogue, Part I, vi-ix. (From “At the beginning of winter, Princess Marya came to Moscow” to “which she involuntarily remembered at that moment.”)

Day 81 December 4
Epilogue, Part I, x-xiii. (From “Natasha was married in the early spring of 1813” to “when the stockings were finished.”)

Day 82 December 5
Epilogue, Part I, xiv-xvi (end of Part I). (From “Soon after that, the children came to say good night” to “‘I’ll do something that even he would be pleased with…’”)

Day 83 December 6
Epilogue, Part II, i-iv. (From “The subject of history is the life of peoples and of mankind” to “we will get the history of monarchs and writers, and not the history of the life of peoples.”)

Day 84 December 7
Epilogue, Part II, v-viii. (From “The life of peoples cannot be contained” to “from their plastering point of view, everything comes out flat and smooth.”)

Day 85 December 8
Epilogue, Part II, ix-xii (THE END). (From “For the solution of the question of freedom and necessity” to “it is just as necessary to renounce a nonexistent freedom and recognize a dependence we do not feel.”)

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