Les Miserables

One Thousand Four Hundred and Sixty-Three.

That’s how many pages are in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

24280

I started this beast on Sunday. It has been a long time since I have conquered a book like this and it was almost as big a battle as the battle Hugo as writing about.

Ok…maybe not that big. But at times it felt like it. Like when we get through the biggest fight scene in the book–the big drama throw down at the barricade–and then we get a dissertation on Paris’ sewers.

No one kills a climax like Victor Hugo. WOMP.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. It’s impossible to read something this massive without having super strong feelings about it. This book is powerful, no way around it. And because I saw the movie musical first, it’s really hard to separate the two in my head. The entire time I was reading it, I was singing the songs. The main characters were their cast, of course. And I was pleased to find out how well the play actually did follow the main plot of the book…

…when we actually got to see the actual main plot of the book.

Here’s the thing about Hugo (or at least Les Mis, as this is my first Hugo):  he is the KING of context. For every 2 books/volumes of plot, there is at least one of scene setting or character building. For instance, before we even get to the storyline, we have to know every single itty bitty detail about the household of the bishop who redeems Jean ValJean. He’s an important character, sure, but a minor one. One we see him, he’s gone from the story. So why do we need to know Old Testament-level detail about his life? And we get that for nearly every single person who is introduced into the book.

You would think this would be a helpful feature in remembering who everyone is. But it’s actually just the opposite. All of the overcharacterization actually made it harder to keep track of the people in my head. It was just too much information. I didn’t realize until the end that Gavroche was the little boy until he took the note from Marius to Jean ValJean during the battle, or that Enjolras was the leader of the rebels. I actually had those two people backwards. Of course, I knew the main people–Jean ValJean, Javert, Cosette, and Marius–because, helloooo, I will never ever forget an Eddie Redmayne character, ever. But the rest is curtained by Hugo’s overwriting.

On the flipside, some of the extra stuff, even if it gets in the way of the story is interesting. Les Mis is as much philosophy as it is fiction. (Great historical fiction–but fiction nonetheless.) Sewer rant aside, there is quite a bit to be gained from diving into Hugo’s studies, even if it does sound like he’s standing on a soap box preaching at the top of his lungs. I also felt like I got much of the French history that I was missing. I want to go back and read parts of it from yesterday because I was not in the mindset to absorb it all and there was so much there that I have been wanting to learn about.

Les Miserables is a hell of a beast, but extremely worthy of my time and effort. I would suggest that if you’re going to try it, clear the other projects off your list.  This isn’t a book that you are going to be able share your reading schedule with, as I learned the hard way. Hugo requires too much focus for that. It’ll go in my reread pile…but not for quite some time.

 

Fulfills PopSugar #47:  A play

Fulfills Boxall #92

WWW Wednesday 7/22/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

For Study:  The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

 

What did you just finish reading?

 

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare

Maggie by Stephen Crane

1066:  The Year of Conquest by David Howarth

Trees of Reverie July Readathon Wrap-Up

Phew! Another great Trees of Reverie Readathon has ended. This was a record one for me–I’ve never read this many pages during a readathon. All of the reviews should be posted for the finished books below.

Here’s my total pages:  2478!

Books finished:

Trust No One by Paul Cleave

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Green

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

 

Books in Progress:

A Treasury of Poems by Sarah Anne Stuart

The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

WWW Wednesday 7/15/2015

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WHOOPS! Almost forgot about this today!

 

What are you currently reading?

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

For Study:  The Ramayana by Ramesh Menon

 

What did you just finish reading?

 

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield (Review up tomorrow)

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare

Maggie by Stephen Crane

 

Trees of Reverie July Read-A-Thon Day One

Create a TBR list and set some goals for the Read-A-Thon!

I completely forgot to put this month’s challenge on my calendar, and so forgot that it started today. OOOOOPS! Thankfully I saw people posting this challenge just in time for it to start.

Let’s get rolling, shall we?

This will work similar to the other challenges I’ve done in the past. I’ll go off my regularly scheduled TBR, and log the pages I’ve read. I’ll also be doing most, if not all, of the Daily Bookish Challenges Sarah posts. Should be a good week. I don’t have too many major things planned, so this could be a big challenge for me!

TBR, starting with what I am currently reading:

Trust No One by Paul Cleaves

Awake by Natasha Preston

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

 

I’m also reading daily The Queen of the Tearling, The Ramayana and The Treasury of Poems, so there will be pages included from that in my count as well.

Good luck next week everyone!