It is impossible to truly understand Tolstoy without reading his work - The Connection and Translation of the Four Gospels - for the sake of writing which he learned Greek and from 1881 a radical change began in his life, all the vulgarity of previous works, as if the veil fell away and real diamonds began to appear.
Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy's favorite work is his novel "Resurrection".
"War and Peace" is certainly an eternal and beautiful work, which, when carefully read, brings a lot of reader's joy.
Which one? Lev Nikolaevich or Alexei Konstantinovich? :)
If we are talking about Lev Nikolaevich, then I rediscovered him for myself, at 22, having read his "Confession", which will help to understand more deeply his work and spiritual searches. But, this, however, later.
I would advise you to start with small works and not grab onto novels right away. Start with "Childhood", "Adolescence", "Youth". Check out "Sevastopol Tales", "Cossacks", "Hadji Murad", "The Death of Ivan Ilyich", "Kreutzer Sonata". If they will captivate you, you can read the aforementioned "Confession" and take a fresh look at the work of Leo Tolstoy :) And there it is not far from novels.
Each of Tolstoy's works is good and interesting in its own way. From January to March 2016 I read "War and Peace" - still does not let go.