I'm in highschool and sometime down the road (within the next few years) I want to be able to not only understand and appreciate, but also read with ease Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. What should I be doing in the meantime to alleviate the difficulties that may be associated with the process? (reading various forms of literature, etc?) Thank you. Today I found out that… The key is to read as a habit and get used to reading quite lengthy books. After a while the sheer size of W&P won't seem so daunting. The pace of events in 19th century literature is quite slow compared to modern fiction, and the lengthy descriptive pasages can seem quite verbose, so I would also suggest you 'acclimatise' yourself by reading shorter 19th century works to begin with. A few suggestions to start you off are: Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner – James Hogg A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court – Mark Twain Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert A Hero of our Times – Mikhail Lermontov Moby Dick – Herman Melville If you enjoy these try these longer novels: Scarlet and Black – Stendhal Bleak House – Charles Dickens Crhyme and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (almost as long as W&P) If you read and enjoy these books you'll be ready to tackle 'War and Peace', although I reckon 'Anna Karenina' is far superior.