It seems that War and Peace has been making some new waves recently. The classic, notoriously long book, which averages about 1500 pages, has recently been cut down and will be re-released as "half as long and twice as interesting." Before Tolstoy fans start screaming "Blasphemy!" though, it's worth pointing out that this "new" take on War and Peace comes from an earlier manuscript Tolstoy himself wrote. Worth noting is the fact that two main characters, who originally die in the finished book, live in this earlier draft. The new book shaves off nearly 500 pages, leaving you only 1000 pages to read. (That's roughly the length of Gone With the Wind, which I've read 4 times.) If you'd like to learn a little more information on the new book, go here.
Not only is there a revamped W&P for the busy reader, but there is also a new miniseries coming at the end of the year. So you can read the cut-down book at the beginning of the year, then watch the cut-down version of it on TV in the second half of the year. The only release date planned so far is April 30 for Italy. I'm not even sure if it will be released anywhere else at this time, but I will keep an eye on it. Following in Audrey Hepburn's footsteps as Natasha Rostov will be Clémence Poésy, a French actress who was recently in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (picture to the right).
Lastly, if you were interested in skimming over War and Peace to see if it would make an interesting read, you can actually read the entire book online here. Though I'm sure the table of contents alone will scare off most readers!