I had a blissful experience in graduate school reading Anna Karenina. So why has it taken me so long to get to Tolstoy’s other big book? A new translation came out last fall, and for last Christmas I received not one but two copies of War and Peace. But I also got a new puppy from the shelter, and she was sufficiently distracting that I never read much beyond the translator’s introduction. Nearly a year later, Polly has learned—most of the time—to lie down quietly while I read. To be honest, I am not so much reading War and Peace at the moment as pledging—publicly—to settle down with Tolstoy this winter.