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The Count of Monte Cristo
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Count of Monte Cristo Q2 2019 > Count of Monte Cristo- Pre-Read/Schedule- NO Spoilers

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message 1: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
This is our Q2 big read which will run from April through the end of June.

Post any initial thought or just let us know if you'll be joining in. We'll have additional threads and a schedule of chapters in a few days.


message 2: by Linda Abhors the New GR Design (last edited Mar 31, 2019 12:30PM) (new) - added it

Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments My goal was to read it in the original French, which I may still do (on Kindle), but the vocab on the first pages intimidated me, so I also purchased the 1200+ page copy in English.
Not exactly a "portable, take it wherever you go" book, so I'm glad we're breaking it down into several weeks by page numbers!


message 3: by Parker (new) - added it

Parker | 204 comments When I read it, I had a French dictionary within easy reach (the dictionary was almost as big as the book). I had read it a couple of times when I was younger, so was familiar with the story.


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments Parker wrote: "When I read it, I had a French dictionary within easy reach (the dictionary was almost as big as the book). I had read it a couple of times when I was younger, so was familiar with the story."

When I can, I do my French reading on a Kindle, this is public domain, so it was free. But the parts of the ship are too many and too technical to look up without wasting lots of time. I'll recycle the English version with my niece's kids


message 5: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Mar 31, 2019 11:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Thanks for volunteering to lead this discussion Joy! I updated the bookshelf.

I like your idea to have target dates linked to the chapters and/or discussion threads. I haven't looked at the chapter breakdown yet, but if possible, can we target an average of 120 pages per week? That will enable us to finish in 11 weeks, allowing about two weeks for catch-up and discussion. I know we'll never all be at the same spot, but that gets us a little closer. How does that sound to everyone?

I'm going to finish my f2f bookclub book before I start on Count (and Dorian Gray will be later). I plan to read at least 100-130 pages of Count by next Sunday night.

I loved it the first time I read it (long long ago), and I think we'll all enjoy it.

EDIT -My library has many copies of the book and they all have slightly different dimensions and a different number of pages (most around 1100-1276 pages, but some on the school reading lists are only about 500 pages). The kindles I have (the free one from amazon and the one from the library don't show pages numbers at all, so I'll need to go by chapter numbers. My kindle copy has 117 chapters.

If the chapter are roughly equal size, we can read 10 chapters a week, for 11.7 weeks, which is a little less than 3 months.


message 6: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Mar 31, 2019 11:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Ella asked about translations, but I didn't notice any translators listed on the versions I saw. I saw one reviewer that recommended Robin Buss, the translator of the Penguin Classic book, but so far I haven't found Robin Buss listed on any of the editions at my library. Most don't name the translators at all, but some 2008 and 2009 editions use the term "new translation."


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments NancyJ wrote: "Ella asked about translations, but I didn't notice any translators listed on the versions I saw. I saw one reviewer that recommended Robin Buss, the translator of the Penguin Classic book, but so f..."

Buss mentions in his intro that his was the first to appear in a long time, so most of the others are probably the Schopp (the older one). Apparently, it suffered quite a few revisions during Victorian times, and Buss says he's always surprised that it's qualified as "children's lit", with all of the murders, suicides, poisonings, lesbianism, etc. Those sexual scenes and topics were what provoked so many changes during the conservative Victorian times.


Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Linda & NancyJ wrote: "Ella asked about translations, but I didn't notice any translators listed on the versions I saw. I saw one reviewer that recommended Robin Buss, the translator of the Penguin Classic..."

Linda is correct. There are about a million different "versions" but in fact they are ALL the Schopp translation that's been in the public domain for a while. How do I know? I spent today switching between every copy I could find online. They all seem to be the same, and it is the Schopp. It's readable, but I noticed that the Buss (who is Penguin's translator) is both more detailed AND easier to read. So I decided to buy the Buss translation for myself, then I checked my own books, and... all this drama was for naught -- I already own it! Actually, I now own both versions, because the older one is a free download, and I sent it to my kindle.

One thing I did notice - I suggest we go by chapter titles like Nancy suggested above, or we'll all be in very different places b/c even though all of the free and cheap versions are exactly the same, they all have wildly different page numbers, and then there's the children's versions and the ones that have been edited to pieces... If I'm gonna read this, I decided I'm going to read the whole shebang, murder and sex here I come!


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments Ella wrote: "Linda & NancyJ wrote: "Ella asked about translations, but I didn't notice any translators listed on the versions I saw. I saw one reviewer that recommended Robin Buss, the translator of the Penguin..."

Haha, I'm right behind ya, Sistah!

Nancy, I too love the idea of breaking it down by chapters.
I'm hopefully finishing Trevor Noah's autobio tonight, then have a f2f for next Tuesday, which should go fast ('cause it's in English). But I'm already 20% of the way to that goal for Sunday, and now that he's off that darned ship with all of its vocab, I'm finding that going through it in French isn't so hard.


message 10: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Apr 01, 2019 08:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "Linda & NancyJ wrote: "Ella asked about translations, but I didn't notice any translators listed on the versions I saw. I saw one reviewer that recommended Robin Buss, the translator of the Penguin..."


Did you find a Buss on kindle? I downloaded the one that was linked to the Penguin book, but it's the free one, so do you think it's sanitized? (It's very easy to read.) I'd rather have the best adult version. I probably read the student version years ago.

I ordered two different books from the library, one a large print, and one a fairly penguin. I'll read the penguin if the font is large enough.

I'll read the first 10 chapters (they're very short) by Sunday.


message 11: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Nancy, I tried like heck to find the Penguin kindle version, but it kept linking me to different editions. Amazon is horribly bad at figuring out that editions and translators and years of publication actually matter. I hate them, so I wasn't THAT upset to be unable to find one. (It's just that shelf space in my house is at a premium, and every book I buy means I may have to live in the mailbox so my books can have my home.)

One good reason for that freebie kindle version -- there is a $1.95 audio accompaniment if you want it. I have NO idea if it's any good, but I seriously thought about buying a kindle version to get the cheap audio just for the heck of it. The only slight worry is there seem to be so many "versions" and who knows what's on the audio. Nonetheless, I think people must be able to get the gist from all of the versions, or it wouldn't have become a classic, so I wouldn't sweat it.

Also - Penguin owns a bunch of imprints, so for instance, Puffin uses their translation in the newer editions, though they're for kids, so lots shorter, but I noticed they don't say it's the same translation. They aren't wildly different - just seems like about 300-400 pages are cut from many of these versions, although as we noted pages don't really mean much in all of this. Argh. All I mean is I wouldn't sweat it. The basic story will be the same in all of them!


message 12: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "Nancy, I tried like heck to find the Penguin kindle version, but it kept linking me to different editions. Amazon is horribly bad at figuring out that editions and translators and years of publicat..."

I have a free audio from the library, and so far it seems to be the same as the kindle. It's OK but the narrator is overly dramatic and the pace is too slow.


message 13: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I got Count from the library today. I should be able to get a breakdown of chapters tonight/tomorrow.


message 14: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "I'm hopefully finishing Trevor Noah's autobio tonight."

OFF-TOPIC, but Linda, How'd you like Trevor's autobio? I found it really quite good, which somehow surprised me. I read it long before I'd gotten to "know" him via The Daily Show.


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments Ella wrote: "Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "I'm hopefully finishing Trevor Noah's autobio tonight."

OFF-TOPIC, but Linda, How'd you like Trevor's autobio? I found it really quite good, which somehow su..."


Loving it.......I'm thinking of putting one of the quotes on all of my future syllabi! And I usually do not enjoy non-fiction.
I'd seen him on TV and YouTube first, then took the time to read this. I should finish it within the hour....I really do wish I'd made it my first audio book, though, because I think I would have enjoyed it even more.


message 16: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 23, 2019 10:40AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Turns out I have the Buss version which includes an introduction. I'm going to include that in week one so that people can skip it if they want to and so that anyone who wants to read along doesn't get too far behind if they miss the first week. As for threads, 11 seems like a lot so I plan on grouping 2 weeks together per thread, which will be about the same as we had for Pillars.

Look it over. Compare to your versions. I tried to make it clear since it may be numbered differently.

Week 1-April 1: Introduction through The Little Cabinet in the Tuileries (10)

Week 2-April 8: The Corsican Ogre (11) through The Smugglers (22)

Week 3-April 15: The Island of Monte Cristo (23) through Awakening (32)

Week 4-April 22: Roman Bandits (33) through The Rendez-vous (38)
::edit::
Chapter 38 is a better transition point than 39, so I've moved Week 4's reading to end with Chapter 38.


Week 5-April 29: The Guests (39) through The Morrels (50)

Week 6-May 6: Pyramus and Thisbe (51) through How to Rescue a Gardener from Dormice (61)
::edit::
Updated to a better transition between sections.


Week 7-May 13: Ghosts (62) through The Promise (73)

Week 8-May 20: The Villefort Family Vault (74) through The Hand of God (83)

Week 9-May 27: Beauchamp (84) through The Marriage Contract (96)

Week 10-June 3: The Road for Belgium (97) through The Assizes (109)

Week 11-June 10: The Indictment (110) through October the Fifth (117)


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments Thanks for doing the work, and for posting the titles, Jen. Thqt should mqke it easy for everyone to follow along, regardless of edition!


Mandy | 41 comments Thanks for setting up the discussions! By chapter was a great choice.


message 19: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 04, 2019 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Hopefully this way will help us stay motivated! And it leaves us a few weeks at the end of June for catching up if we get behind and discussion before we jump into another big read.


message 20: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Apr 09, 2019 05:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "Hopefully this way will help us stay motivated! And it leaves us a few weeks at the end of June for catching up if we get behind and discussion before we jump into another big read."

Thanks Joy! The chapter titles are really helpful too if you want to refer back to prior conversations.

This book is much easier to read than War and Peace. For one thing, you know who the main character is, and how the other key characters are connected. The story builds at a good pace. I'm really enjoying it so far.

Chapter 4 - The Plot - is quite clever, and it was good on the audio. Chapters 5 and 6 are important too.

Note about break points - There is a year between chapters 13 and 14, so that's a good spot for a break.

There is a cliff hanger at the end of chapter 20, so chapter 21/22 is a good spot to stop and make some notes in the next thread. The end of chapter 25 might be a good place for a break too.


message 21: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments There's going to be many many cliffhangers in this one b/c it was written and submitted a chapter at a time to the newspaper, and their motivation was to sell papers, so it's going to be a roller coaster, I think. As such, it's also going to be a much easier read than Russian literature on any level. It was written for a popular audience. Thank god! It's interesting to think this is like the Game of Thrones for 1844 France - water cooler discussions of yesterday's cliff hanger -- what would be the 1800s French equivalent, I wonder.

So far in my reading, I've been thinking of Dickens and his serialized writing. I'm much preferring Dumas!


message 22: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 09, 2019 04:35PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "There's going to be many many cliffhangers in this one b/c it was written and submitted a chapter at a time to the newspaper, and their motivation was to sell papers, so it's going to be a roller c..."

To me it's very similar to the pace of Tales of the City which was also a serial.


message 23: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments J. wrote: "
To me it's very similar to the pace of Tales of the City which was also a serial. "


Tales of the City was my FAVORITE when it was being published. I was a nutcase running around to get my hands on the next installment. I've so often wanted to reread the whole shebang, but I've decided to wait until I'm on vacation and just take them all to read on the beach or by a pool or on the mountaintop - somewhere that time won't feel like it's crushing me and where I can completely live in that world again. I loved those characters and the neighborhood and everything about it. Someday I'll also treat myself to my own personal copies of the books.


message 24: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 10, 2019 06:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "J. wrote: "
To me it's very similar to the pace of Tales of the City which was also a serial. "

Tales of the City was my FAVORITE when it was being published. I was a nutcase running around to get..."


I have only read the first one, but I loved it! I plan on reading the rest at some point. It was a lot of fun.


message 25: by J., Your Obedient Servant (last edited Apr 10, 2019 06:44AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "J. wrote: "Hopefully this way will help us stay motivated! And it leaves us a few weeks at the end of June for catching up if we get behind and discussion before we jump into another big read."

Th..."


Between chapter 22/23 ended up being a good place to stop. It's a good set-up for the next phase of the story.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I last read this book when I was in the sixth grade. A copy of it was available in the children's section of the library. Not only do I not remember a word, I wonder what version I read. It was very very long and dense. That is what I remember.


message 27: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "I last read this book when I was in the sixth grade. A copy of it was available in the children's section of the library. Not only do I not remember a word, I wonder what version I read. It was ver..."

I was in high school when I read it and I loved it. I probably read an abridged version because I don't remember it as being very long at all.


message 28: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments I didn't know Dumas had been in prison himself - after a disagreement with Napoleon (of all people to disagree with!) He was a general in the navy and apparently disagreed with Napoleon's Egyptian campaign.

This brings a new light to my read in some ways. I'm SURE it's not autobiographical, but isn't it interesting that so much of this book notes the outsider and the imprisoned and the author himself spent two years locked up.


message 29: by Parker (new) - added it

Parker | 204 comments The Dumas were biracial, so were outsiders by definition. I believe it was Dumas pere who disagreed with Napoleon.


message 30: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Parker wrote: "The Dumas were biracial, so were outsiders by definition. I believe it was Dumas pere who disagreed with Napoleon."

That's this Alexandre Dumas - he is the father (père) of his son (heh) -- the playwright/novelist Alexandre Dumas, called Dumas "fils" to distinguish. But in reality, I don't know of many people reading the younger - that's an interesting question - anyone know what the son wrote and if it's still around to read?

And Dumas' grandmother (?) was enslaved. I'm not sure - is he the first author of color to come from Europe? It's funny that we don't distinguish these older writers like we do today.

While reading of his navy career, I did learn of an unfortunate and ridiculously racist "nickname" he was called. However, he also was the most high-ranking black person in the navy, so he really lived an extraordinary life in many regards.


message 31: by Parker (new) - added it

Parker | 204 comments Dumas fils wrote Les Dames aux Camellias, which Verdi turned into the opera Camille (which inspired Rent). I'm not sure if it's still in print.


message 32: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Parker wrote: "Dumas fils wrote Les Dames aux Camellias, which Verdi turned into the opera Camille (which inspired Rent). I'm not sure if it's still in print."

Thanks for that. I'd put it on a sticky to look into when I have time, which often means I never get to it.

I'm pretty sure Rent was based on Puccini's Boheme - it's got the exact same theme music at times, character names and even exact lyrics (albeit in English rather than Italian) Mimi's theme is directly taken from the Puccini.

There are similarities to Verdi's Traviata, which is based on the son's Les Dames aux Camellias - and I'd rememebred the name but not the author. Traviata continues to be one of my favorite operas, despite the fact that it's staged way too often and sometimes quite poorly, but it's one of the best tearjerkers there is. It's a gorgeous story, with themes as romantic as the music.

I'm going to finish the father's work this weekend. (And not start the Three Musketeers any time soon, despite wanting to do so.) Maybe I'll go a-digging around in the university library systems. Very often the bigger universities around here (Baltimore) have things that are hard to find. I'll letcha know if I find anything interesting.

Thanks for the info, Parker - really really interesting!


message 33: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I came into this with very little context of Dumas the author. I appreciate all the background! The biographical information helps me a lot.


message 34: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "Parker wrote: "Dumas fils wrote Les Dames aux Camellias, which Verdi turned into the opera Camille (which inspired Rent). I'm not sure if it's still in print."

Thanks for that. I'd put it on a sti..."


I read elsewhere that LaBoheme, Moulin Rouge and Rent were all inspired by a French novel - Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger.

There are often similar plots in books, so they could have had multiple influences. I also read that Dumas was accused of plagiarism quite a few times.


message 35: by Ella (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Yeah - well, Rent is based on Boheme, which is based on Scènes de la vie de bohème - but the composer of Rent, who sadly died right before it went up, said very clearly he'd based it on Boheme -- and he also has the same names/musical themes etc. Much like West Side Story is based on Romeo & Juliet and newer stuff has been based on West Side Story. Almost all of the operas I know of were not written with original story - they're taken from an already existing work. (A few break this trend, but the average opera is based on a novel or some other thing.)

I'm interested in Dumas - I find him pretty fascinating. I mean - just the big strokes make him a pretty impressive man. Apparently he was bad with money. (He had to flee France b/c of debtors.)

I finally finished the book. I decided to just finish b/c I was having trouble sticking to the schedule, and while I would've appreciated some edits, I'm very glad I read it.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) Hi, guys!

I was amazed when I read this how fast a read it was. It's a real pageturner.

Also, for some background, an excellent book to read is The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. It is funny though France had slavery in its colonies it was not allowed in France itself. It's a great read too. The author's father was biracial, and actually served as a General under Napoleon.


message 37: by Parker (new) - added it

Parker | 204 comments I miss having a university library to poke around in! When I was at university, many moons ago, I happened upon ALL of Dumas' books, in French. I read them all - again (I'd read them all in English when I was a child, thanks to my Da, who handed one to me and said he thought I'd enjoy it. I was eight or nine. And I did).


message 38: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kirsten "Ghost Deserved Better" wrote: "Hi, guys!

I was amazed when I read this how fast a read it was. It's a real pageturner.

Also, for some background, an excellent book to read is [book:The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betraya..."


Don't you love how one book leads to another... and then another? I realized that I don't really know that much about Napoleon either.


message 39: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 26, 2019 11:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Parker wrote: "I miss having a university library to poke around in! When I was at university, many moons ago, I happened upon ALL of Dumas' books, in French. I read them all - again (I'd read them all in English..."

That's awesome! Which book was your favorite?

I miss having a college library to use, especially the online resources. I actually moved closer to the first University I attended, and I might stop by and browse in one of my old haunts someday.


message 40: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I want to thank Joy (J.) for setting up and facilitating this read for us! And thanks to everyone who participated.

Is anyone else still reading? We'll leave all the threads open right in this folder. We'll bump the folder down a little bit as we add new big reads.


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