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Les Misérables
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Spotlighted Reads > March 2013 - SR - Les Misérables

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 21, 2013 03:00PM) (new)



Les Misérables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title, which can be translated from the French as The Miserables, The Wretched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, or The Victims.
Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption.
Examining the nature of law and grace, the novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. Les Misérables has been popularized through numerous adaptations for the stage, television, and film, including a musical and a film adaptation of that musical.
The appearance of the novel was highly anticipated and advertised. Critical reactions were very diverse, but most of them were negative. Commercially, the work was a great success, not just in France, but also in the rest of Europe and the world.
Source: Wikipedia


Some movie adaptations:

Les Misérables (1935) Les Misérables (1952)

Les Misérables (1978) Les Misérables (1995)

Les Misérables (1998) Les Misérables (2000)(TV Mini-Series)

Les Misérables (2012)



Reading schedule:

Volume I - Fantine: 20th March - 2nd April
Volume II - Cosette: 3rd April - 16th April
Volume III - Marius: 17th April - 30th April
Volume IV - The Idyll in the Rue Plumet and the Epic in the Rue St. Denis: 1st May - 14th May
Volume V - Jean Valjean: 15th May - 28th May


I've set two weeks for every volume. If the dates are messed up (I'm very bad with numbers) or you prefer more than two weeks for every volume, just let me know :)


message 2: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 27 comments SO excited to start reading this one!


message 3: by Marren (new)

Marren | 127 comments Ohhh myyy, this is my chance to read it (been wanting to). Let me see where I can get it.


message 4: by Liz (new)

Liz (hissheep) I have the book and would love to read it along with you; however, I cannot figure out the dating system! Help!! ;o)


Jonathan Terrington (thewritestuff) | 129 comments Mod
Liz wrote: "I have the book and would love to read it along with you; however, I cannot figure out the dating system! Help!! ;o)"

20.03 would mean the 20th march (3rd month). 02.04 would mean the 2nd of April.


message 6: by Jaime (new) - added it

Jaime | 5 comments Thank you for clarifying the dates....I was having a little trouble with that as well. My copy of the book is on my Kindle and ready to go!!! I have never read this book, so I am very excited to do so. I saw the movie that just came out and LOVED every minute of it.


message 7: by Zeljka (new) - added it

Zeljka (ztook) | 2838 comments Mod
Yay, I'll start reading it hopefully tonight :)

Let me compliment Dodo - this is her first (big) introductory post and I really like it, way to go girl :D

Now I am pleasantly surprised to see listed so many adaptations, each seems to be filled with great actors. I hope to see the musical as well, not live on the stage though. The tape would have to do :)


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I've changed the date format and hope it's more clear now.


I'm 100 pages in now. The beginning was kind of dry and my mind wandered off a lot, but since Jean Valjean appeared it's getting better.

I've only seen the musical adaptation yet and Javert was my favorite character (it might be solely Russell Crowe's fault). I'm very curious how much I'll like him in the book.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
There are some long, dry sections, from what I remember, but the overall story is so compelling and incredible. It truly is a masterpiece.


message 10: by Liz (new)

Liz (hissheep) Jonathan wrote: "Liz wrote: "I have the book and would love to read it along with you; however, I cannot figure out the dating system! Help!! ;o)"

20.03 would mean the 20th march (3rd month). 02.04 would mean the ..."


Thanks, Jonathan! Dodo, I'm sure there is a perfectly good reason for listing the dates as you did, but why? ;o)


message 11: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) I'm only about 50 pgs in but I'm enjoying it so far. It's alot easier to read than I had anticipated. Looking forward to Jean Valjean entering the picture!


message 12: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 27 comments I'm off to a very slow start! But I can't wait til it picks up :-)


message 13: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) I'm a little behind schedule...about 200 pgs in, but I am SOOO enjoying this book. I regret I hadn't read it sooner. I don't want to give away any spoiler alerts since this is the only thread we have. So, I'll just say I'm so enthralled with Jean Valjean and my heart is already breaking for Fantine, who just never seems able to catch a break. I can't wait to get further along in the story and I'm DYING to go see the movie, but don't want to ruin the book. Where is everyone else with the story?


message 14: by Zeljka (new) - added it

Zeljka (ztook) | 2838 comments Mod
I am glad you like it! I am still on Monsieur Bienvenu, because I am trying to finish some other books before, sorry :/


message 15: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) I'm getting close to the halfway point; I'm in the section about Marius. So far, I'd say this is probably the greatest book I've ever read. It's killing me I have another 600+ pages until the story is resolved. I want to know how all this turns out for Jean Valjean!


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
:) Good, I'm glad you're enjoying it! I thought it was incredible.


message 17: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 27 comments Gosh do I feel slow, I am only about 130 pages in, I am reading so slowly atm as have just moved!


message 18: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) We got a new puppy a few weeks ago, so I haven't gotten as far as I had hoped to lately. However, I'm getting close to the end. . .about 150 pages to go. Is anyone else still reading it?


message 19: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 27 comments I'm reading very slowly! Much more to go than you!


message 20: by Zeljka (new) - added it

Zeljka (ztook) | 2838 comments Mod
Michelle wrote: "We got a new puppy a few weeks ago, so I haven't gotten as far as I had hoped to lately. However, I'm getting close to the end. . .about 150 pages to go. Is anyone else still reading it?"

Aw that's really cute reason to abandon your books :D

I am still reading, but so slowly. Still wrapping up Fantine, first part of the book :(

I wonder now, the way we go, if we should update this buddy read title, into a whole year one!


message 21: by David (new)

David Silva | 1 comments This might be cheating. But this is what I did after reading the book a second time... I simply skip those introductory chapters that give more historical summaries rather than progress the story. I mean, who really cares about the history of Waterloo, a monastery, or a sewer system. If you skip those parts, you will still know what's in the book. Hope this doesn't offend anyone. It's just what I did.


message 22: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) David wrote: "This might be cheating. But this is what I did after reading the book a second time... I simply skip those introductory chapters that give more historical summaries rather than progress the story. ..."
I have done some of that too. With 1200 pgs to read, I felt I could live without the history of the sewer system and some of that other stuff as well. I skimmed alot of the parts about the revolution until it really heated up at the end w/ Marius, Gavroche and the others.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
I read ALL of it the first time, but on a re-read, when I ever get to it, I would either skim or skip quite a few of those sections. I don't think I'd feel like I was cheating as I did actually read all of it at one point.


message 24: by Zeljka (new) - added it

Zeljka (ztook) | 2838 comments Mod
Eh yes, this is my first reading time, and I do read those sections too.

And exactly that, I've noticed that I suddenly lose the reading rhythm when I get to those descriptive parts. Not that they are not interesting, but are so long and very minute, so my mind starts thinking about everything but the book before it.

Beside that, I really like the book. The characters are fascinating, and some descriptions do help in understanding the whole story, surroundings and the circumstances in which they all lived. The thing that terrified me the most, was the unjust and cruel law system that, considering all the side effects, causes and consequences, instead of improving life back then did their lives all the more miserable.

What do you think of Javert in this first tome -- that man was so strange, not a man one would socialize with, as Hugo mentioned, one who would betray his own mother if she would do anything against the law. His guess concerning the mayor was correct, but to go so many years after him, after a former convict, for a petty crime after which nothing is heard of him, sounds at least... pathetic. As if there aren't more important things to do... I sometimes think that he could display power and importance only when doing things nobody actually cares for, like hunting down people nobody is honestly looking for, and punishing people nobody would stand for, like Fantine almost was. It is easy to be omnipotent in such cases.


message 25: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) I agree about the legal system from back then. It's so crazy how the prisoners were treated and how they seemed to be convicted without necessarily having any evidence as seen by Jean Valjean being convicted of stealing from that boy, after he got out of prison the first time, when really it was just his word against the boy's word. The cruelty of the prison system really hit me. . .how they were treated like animals. How can you expect someone to come out of prison being a functioning member of society, if you treated them worse than an animal.

I thought Javert was rather sad. To be so hung up on Jean Valjean after all those years. He just couldn't let it go.


message 26: by marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

marc | 22 comments iam curenley reading it so far so good


message 27: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle (dmwade_1comcastnet) Cool wrote: "iam curenley reading it so far so good"

I think you'll really like it. It is definitely my favorite book of all time. A little long, but worth it!


message 28: by marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

marc | 22 comments i saw the new movie loved right now iam on page 382 in the book


message 29: by Zeljka (new) - added it

Zeljka (ztook) | 2838 comments Mod
I stopped reading the book unfortunately, didn't even open the second tome :( Hopefully I will start reading it again, especially as it'll probably be one of our epics in the project we'll undertake this year (I guess so, although there are still two days left for the voting).


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
I'm reading it with Reading the Chunksters, they've got a good schedule going.


message 31: by Zeljka (new) - added it

Zeljka (ztook) | 2838 comments Mod
Alana wrote: "I'm reading it with Reading the Chunksters, they've got a good schedule going."

Just checked it, looks really good. It might be really helpful with our epics. I've read the first tome already, might jump in the second :)


message 32: by marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

marc | 22 comments good luck!


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
I got started on this with the Chunksters group. Going to be a huge read! But it's a re-read and I'm determined. Thank goodness for Sparknotes to help me out! Although I'm finding the summaries rather lacking.

I'm going to be going through some big books this year, but I'm excited. I remember Les Mis taking awhile, but it was so good that I felt very rewarded when I was done with it. Some long sections that are tedious, but interesting and the story is fantastic. :)


message 34: by Jonesmikey (new)

Jonesmikey | 64 comments I read the abridged version in high school. Unabridged looks daunting, I believe the second chapter is only 8 pages in the abridged and 42 pp in the unabridged. I know, I know, but I was just in high school and only 1 person in a class of about 30 chose to read the unabridged. I'll get around to it one of these years. I did watch the movie w/ Russel Crowe, I don't know if I could sit through the broadway show though. It's what, about six hours? I can't even imagine sitting through that.


message 35: by marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

marc | 22 comments i want to see the broad way show! oh and i am on page 605


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
I didn't realize the Broadway production was that long. wow! Definitely a "once in a lifetime," I can't imagine doing that more than once! That's an all day undertaking!


message 37: by Jonesmikey (new)

Jonesmikey | 64 comments Alana wrote: "I didn't realize the Broadway production was that long. wow! Definitely a "once in a lifetime," I can't imagine doing that more than once! That's an all day undertaking!"

The movie's over 3 hours long. Onstage you need to figure all the set changes. So yeah, around six. I have no idea how many acts it is. If they're sadistic then it would only be two.
I guess I've had those lazy days where I watched 3 movies but it wasn't planned that way. We'd watch one and ask "wanna watch another?" To actually go into something knowing it's going to be that long? Nah. I'd go see Equus or Assassins instead.


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