The joy of puns

War and Peace. It’s one of those doorsteps of a novel that anyone who is trying to read ‘worthy’ novels feels they ought to read, but is put off because it’s so ginormous. The BBC has started to show a serialisation of it on Sunday evenings. I was lucky enough to watch the first episode because my husband was on a business trip. I read a little of it online because it’s on Project Gutenberg, but didn’t get far; I obviously wasn’t going to be able to keep up. I fully intended to watch the second episode, too, but I was reading another mighty tome, Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White and forgot to turn it on. It wasn’t set to record and we can’t watch iPlayer without jumping through hoops, so I’ve given up on it for now. Excuses, excuses.


Nevertheless I was intrigued enough to read an article on the Guardian website asking if it was possible to read War and Peace in a week. Tim Dowling decided to try, even though he says he had “committed it, along with several other titles, to a mental list labelled Great Works to Save For a Future Time When You Are Bedridden”. Ah yes, I have that list too. Maybe we could start a Goodreads group. It also made me laugh when he described how his wife had read the book, missing out on the war parts, whereas he was loving the fighting and dozing off over the social niceties of the drawing room. Reminds me of Jack Spratt who ate no fat and his wife who would eat no lean. Divide and conquer.

As is often the case with online discussions, the comments contained some gems, including somebody who had read it in 14 days whilst backpacking and walking in Australia. They left volume I at a hostel along the way and were looking forward to finishing volume II and replacing it with something a little different. Unfortunately for them, the only book available at the next hostel was an autobiography of Diana Ross. Hardly a fair swap.

The following exchange, however, is the icing on the cake, the reason I sometimes plough through comments sections. Literary puns; delightfully snigger-worthy.

elephantwoman Jan 2016 18:59
My brother said he read it in two days
But I think that’s a tolstory

gothicguru -> elephantwoman 10 Jan 2016 23:29

Two days? That would be Russian it!!!

shoname -> gothicguru 10 Jan 2016 23:33

That’s Putin it mildly.

escoppycoppy -> gothicguru 10 Jan 2016 23:57

Maybe he just saw no point in Stalin’ any longer

youcantalan -> escoppycoppy 11 Jan 2016 2:46

… *ponders possibility of a Gorbachov pun* ….
… *nothing so far* …
… *still nothing* …

gothicguru -> youcantalan 11 Jan 2016 17:40

Don’t try too hard to think of a pun. You might start feeling tired andropov.


Don’t you wish you were half as witty?