Sunday, October 3, 2021

1000 Books Project: Les Miserables - Status Update

I'm having a dilemma and I'm hoping you will 1) understand and 2) work with me on this. I hope I'm not asking too much. 

I'm having a very difficult time with Les Miserables. Don't get me is very good. I guess maybe I'm just not in the mindset for it right now. It's fall and Halloween month and all I want to do is read scary.

Plus, I'm traveling to Salem, Massachusetts in a week and I'm going to have even less time for reading. After October, I'll be shortly segueing into holiday reading. So...I'm thinking I'm going to make this a very less structured and long term read-along. I just know I cannot finish Les Miserables before the end of the year. I'm hoping you will still read-along, but I will understand if you decide not to. I'm going to keep reading, and will post discussions periodically so if you do continue to read-along, please feel free to share your thoughts.

Thanks for understanding! Sometimes a person has to step back from too much.

Next year, 1000 Books Project will be focusing on a bit less weighty reading material. We will be reading classic fantasy. The Once and Future King by T.H. White (Jan - June) and The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake (July - December). Stay tuned!

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

1000 Books Project - Les Misérables Reading Schedule

Finally! Here is the reading schedule. Hopefully, you saw this post where I changed this read-along to the last five months of the year. We had an August start date, BUT I just finished The Count of Monte Cristo (final discussion here) so I'm starting it now. I'm really going to try to read a little each day so I stay caught up. Now, on to the details and reading schedule....

My edition: Hardcover, 908 pages, Published October 11th 2012 by Fall River Press

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.
  • August: Volume I - Fantine
    Discussion: September 1st
  • September: Volume II - Cosette
    Discussion: October 1st
  • October: - Volume III - Marius
    Discussion: November 1st
  • November: Volume IV - Saint-Denis
    Discussion: December 1st
  • December: Volume V - Jean Valjean
    Discussion: January 1st (2022)
The original challenge post with info and sign-up is here.

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1000 Books Project: The Count of Monte Cristo Discussion - Final Thoughts...finally!

Dumas really was an author who liked to create an atmosphere along with his story. There are moments where the story lags, but never once was I tempted to abandon the story. It's just too good a story for that. 

What's the price of revenge? Does a person who is wronged in a horrible way, his whole life taken away, have the right to seek revenge on those who wronged him, and still find happiness? This is what Dumas explores in this book. It's actually an excellent example of karma...what goes around comes around. In the end I feel (and apparently so did Dumas) that Monte Cristo (or Edmond Dantes) performed enough good deeds amidst his revenge to warrant him happiness in the end. Although I was a little weirded out that he ended up with Haidee. I guess my only cinematic viewing of the story, the 2002 version of the same name, had me liking that ending better...for Dantes anyway. I'm due for a rewatch since I've now read the book.

I'm not going to go into more detail with this discussion. Frankly, I'm exhausted, yet feeling accomplished that I finally finished. Now have to save my energy for Les Miserables.

So, what did you think? Any thoughts on what I said above, or further insight beyond what I mentioned? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. 

The official start of the Les Miserables read-along was the beginning of this month, but I had not got around to posting the schedule yet. It is now live and you will find the post here

Hope you will join us for another French classic. Les Mis is really one of my favorite stories.

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Friday, July 2, 2021

1000 Books Project: French Classics - Some read-along news

I have an update of sorts for our read-alongs. First, an explanation regarding my getting so behind on The Count of Monte Cristo. I've had a lot of health and personal issues in the past few months. In early April, and then again in May, I had two bouts of cellulitis. I was pretty sick. I also lost my grandmother in April which was another blow, and I couldn't go to the funeral because of my illness. Then, two weeks ago, I had to make the difficult decision to have my beautiful cat, Alice put to sleep. She was 14 years old. I'm still having a hard time. It has been a lot.

So, what does that mean for the 1000 Books Project? Well, I've decided to extend the Count of Monte Cristo read-along until the end of July. Then we will start Les Miserables in August and read it through December. There are five "volumes" in Les Miserables so one for each month. That's roughly 200 pages per month. I think we can manage it. I hope so. 

Stay tuned for the official reading schedule post for Les Miserables. I will have the final discussion post for The Count of Monte Cristo posted at the end of July.

Thank you for bearing with me. I really appreciate your understanding, and if you're still with me, I appreciate that too. 

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

An update for the Gather Together and Read community

You may have heard that Feedburner's follow by email function is going to be discontinued next month. At first I was in panic mode, but soon found there were easy solutions to the problem. Thankfully! So, I decided to switch over to which is a free email subscription service. If you were already subscribed via Feedburner's service, you won't have to worry about missing any email updates from this blog. New visitors can now subscribe via email at any time so you won't miss any of my future posts. You can subscribe now by filling out the form below, or on the form in its regular home in the sidebar.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

1000 Books Project: The Count of Monte Cristo - Update

Yes, grossly behind at this point. I was sick earlier in April and then my grandmother passed. A lot going on, to say the least. I am finished with the March reading section, but it's the end of April so still haven't finished the April section. Will try to have the March and April discussion (combined) posted by mid May. 

So, discussion by mid May will be the following:

March: Read through page 457, through the end of Chapter LV
April: Read through page 603, through the end of Chapter LXXVI

Will try my hardest to have May's discussion up by end of May/the earliest of June. That section is:

May: Read through page 725, through the end of Chapter XCIII

Thank you for bearing with me.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

1000 Books Project: The Count of Monte Cristo - (Very late!) Discussion Two

Sorry I'm so late! Seems I always get behind in February. 

There are SPOILERS below so if you haven't read this far, be warned.

Chapters 23 - 37 (pp. 156 - 305)

A lot happens in this section, especially at the beginning when Dantes does a lot of finding, and a lot of finding out. He locates the treasure Abbe Faria regaled him of. He also makes the heartbreaking discovery of his father's death and the marriage of his true love, Mercedes. Perhaps most importantly, for his designs, he learns of who betrayed him. This gets the ball rolling fairly quickly on his plans for revenge. How he is going to go about it is yet to be revealed. 

Though Dantes does have designs on revenge, it doesn't stop him from helping others along the way. His training and mentoring of Jacopo for one, and his huge help to the one person he feels stayed loyal to him through it all...Morrel. I loved the disguise and the way he secretly brought about Morrel's redemption. Such a man deserved to retain his honor and Dantes gives him that and much more. 

The next part with Franz and Albert was what caused me to struggle and get behind on the reading. I felt in this part of the story that Dumas went a little overboard with the story of Luigi Vampa, seeming to take us a bit off course, though Vampa does figure in the story not too long after this story is related. We don't know what Dantes has been up to, as Dumas is keeping his machinations secret so as to not spoil the unfolding of the narrative, which is brilliant. What we do know is Dantes has changed quite a bit. I was surprised by the description of his appearance, as I don't remember it being alluded to previously. Is this physical appearance just due to the years of imprisonment, but not previously mentioned (unless I'm mistaken), or is he now a sick man? I guess we shall find out.

Of course, the whole reason for him to become involved with Albert is...why? Well, he's the son of Mercedes and Fernand and so we know he will play some part in Dantes' revenge. At the end of Chapter 37 when Franz observes him acting repulsed by Albert's handshake, his reaction is understandable, as I'm sure he is imagining Fernand himself. "The sins of the father" and all that. 

In all, the story has progressed and I think our next section is going to really get us moving in the narrative.


What did you think of this second section? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

This month's schedule: March - Chapter 38 - 54 (pp 306 - 450)
Discussion March 31 (or around there 😉)


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

1000 Books Project: The Count of Monte Cristo - Discussion One

Oh, the injustice!!! Yes, pretty much my reaction during this entire first section. I cannot abide injustice of any kind so, even though I know the story (from films), reading it in the brilliance of Dumas' prose makes it all the more gut wrenching. 

When I was researching my original (abridged...egads!) copy of the book, I read somewhere a couple of comments alluding to this book being a difficult read. Not the subject matter, but the writing itself. I did not find that at all. I was absolutely riveted the entire time. This is my first Dumas read and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. (I happily obtained the Wordsworth Classics edition, pictured here. Much better!)

Some notable differences in the book from my favorite version of the film, the 2002 version which starred Jim Caviezel as Dantes. This is why the book should always be read, whether you watch the movie or not. So much more depth to the story, and more plausibility in my opinion. I am going to watch the movie again after we finish this read-along. It has been a while since I last watched it. 

In my research on themes in the book, I came across this statement:
"what separates the good from the bad in The Count of Monte Cristo is that the good appreciate the good things they have, however small, while the bad focus on what they lack." 
Isn't that the truth. Dantes would have been perfectly happy in life whether he stayed a ship's mate, or became a captain of the ship. I believe he would have eventually been able to find happiness even had he lost Mercedes in a normal way (death or some other reason) rather than the way it actually happened. Danglers could never be happy because he was just bad. Rather than focus on doing a good job in whatever job he held, he instead focused on the belief that he deserved what Dantes had. I feel that Fernand looked on Mercedes more as a possession than actually loving her, and also the belief that their being together was how it was supposed to be because of their families and culture. If you truly love someone, you would want them to be happy. Right? Caderousse is just an unhappy person. Hence the drinking. He is complicit in what happens to Dantes and does nothing to come to his aid because he just can't muster any positive thought or gesture.

Of course, the Dantes post-d'lf I suspect will fall under the bad classification of this theme with his plans for vengeance. 


What did you think of this first section? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

This month's schedule: February: Read through page 305, through the end of Chapter XXXVII
Discussion February 28 (I apologize if I'm sometimes late with discussion posts. Life gets in the way at times.)


Saturday, January 2, 2021

1000 Books Project - The Count of Monte Cristo Reading Schedule

Time to start this read-along! Long overdue on reading this one. We have six months to finish this 900+ page book. We can do it!

I just discovered that the edition I own is ABRIDGED!!! NO WAY! I ordered the Wordsworth Classics edition from Amazon. I will post the full schedule when I receive the book on Monday. 

My edition: Info coming

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.
  • January: Read through page 155, through the end of Chapter XXII 
    Discussion January 31
  • February: Read through page 305, through the end of Chapter XXXVII
    Discussion February 28
  • March: Read through page 457, through the end of Chapter LV
    Discussion March 31
  • April: Read through page 603, through the end of Chapter LXXVI
    Discussion April 30
  • May: Read through page 725, through the end of Chapter XCIII
    Discussion May 31
  • June: Read through page 875, end
    Discussion June 30
The original challenge post with info and sign-up is here.