I've read a few more books since I poked my head in here.
Alexandre Dumas. Le comte de Monte-Cristo
(1844). It was interesting in the beginning, dragged a bit in the middle, and was a complete page-turner near the end. I needed to download a character list to keep track of who was who, but it was worthwhile.
Michele Houellebecq. Sérotonine
(2019). Like all of Houellebecq's books, it's kind of brilliant and kind of reactionary and misanthropic. This one might be less misanthropic than his others. He's a major voice in modern literature, and I'd definitely recommend folks read Houellebecq at least once; I don't know that it matters which novel.
Yasmina Khadra. Les hirondelles de Kaboul
(2002). A book club selection. It was a fascinating look into a hidden culture. There's a good discussion on the forum here.
Alexandre Dumas. Vingt ans après
(1845). I've been complaining about this book on my blog since April. It's good enough that I want to finish, but also frustratingly uneven. And oh so very long.
Carmody wrote:Ok, I know this is using very bad judgement, however I am thinking about reading Les Misérables.
No, that's using very good judgement!
Carmody wrote:Probably for me, I try to steer towards the Classics when possible, but I hear Victor Hugo and Flaubert can be a bore.
oh la la ... Victor Hugo can be maddening, but his novels are action-packed, and full of anger and almost unbearable pain, but they're also about redemption. Hugo goes off on a lot of tangents in Les Misérables
, and these can be tedious, but overall he is not a bore! The novel is amazing, and since it's broken up into many smaller books it's easy to read one section at a time.
From The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and Les Misérables
Mario Vargas Llosa wrote:It is the case that, albeit to a lesser extent, all fictions make their readers live "the impossible", taking them out of themselves, breaking down barriers, and making them share, by identifying with the characters of the illusion, a life that is richer, more intense, or more abject and violent, or simply different from the one that they are confined to by the high-security prison that is real life. Fictions exist because of this fact. Because we have only one life, and our desires and fantasies demand a thousand lives. Because the abyss between what we are and what we would like to be has to be bridged somehow. That was why fictions were born: so that, through living this vicarious, transient, precarious, but also passionate and fascinating life that fiction transports us to, we can incorporate the impossible into the possible and our existence can be both reality and unreality, history and fable, concrete life and marvelous adventure.