Saturday, July 28, 2012
This Year's (Really, Really) Big August Novel
I like to read a lot of novels. Sometimes, in order to further my goal of being well-read, I will choose to read several short novels instead of taking the time to commit to a lengthier work of greatness. This is a failing, and I recognize that. To make amends, every August I resolve to tackle a giant novel of great length and importance. The tradition began in earnest the summer after I graduated from college, when I would spend a part of every day without employment engrossed in the story of David Copperfield. Over the last few years, I’ve read other Dickens novels and last year I tackled Thomas Pynchon with rather disappointing results.
We’re nearing August, but I have already got a head start on this year’s Big August Novel, because I wasn’t sure I could get it done in just one month. This year I’ve really picked a doozy.
I’ll be reading Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, a classic French novel with a vast cast of characters and a generation spanning story. The unabridged English translation runs about 1500 pages. Luckily, I have downloaded it on my Kindle, making it much easier to read on the train to work.
Kindle doesn’t give you the page number, but right now it tells me I’m 12% of the way through, or about 180 pages. It’s an interesting novel, although it’s hard not to get impatient at some of Hugo’s digressions.
I may post updates on my reading as the month goes on, but otherwise it’ll be a while before you can expect to read a book review on this site.