Monday, October 10, 2011

Stuck in a (welcome) classics rut

For some reason - perhaps because of the recent upheaval in my personal life - all the books I've read lately have been old favorites, mostly classics. There was Wuthering Heights, then a jump forward to The Guernsey blah blah blah, then a jump back to A Pair of Blue Eyes, and now The Count of Monte Cristo.

I've only read TCOMC once, a few years ago, and I decided back then that it was my second- or third-favorite book, behind Les Miserables and possibly A Tale of Two Cities. I remembered that it was bloated and overlong in areas (especially those pertaining to the use of hashish), but I also remembered that it was AWESOME. The humanity and principles of revenge/forgiveness on display in this book are so deeply moving that even its format as a serially published novel can't dilute its message.

I expected TCOMC to suffer from a second reading. Instead, I find that I am just as riveted as the first time around. Perhaps even more so, because I can anticipate with glee (or abhorrence, or grief) the events that are just around the corner for Edmond. The last few nights, I've gone to sleep in my comfortable bed thinking of Edmond in his filthy jail cell. I've wondered what it would be like to spend eight years secretly learning foreign languages from an old man in the cell downstairs, never knowing if I'd be able to gain freedom and use them in the outside world. And even though I knew that he would find the treasure on the Island of Monte Cristo, I, like Edmond, had to take a break from the part where he is digging and strikes a wooden box to collect my thoughts and tell myself that I wouldn't be disappointed if nothing came of it after all.

This, my friends, is the definition of a good book, one whose essence seeps into your daily life and colors all the moments it can, both sleeping and waking. I'm glad to have a go-to book like this one to turn to when all I need is something familiar, diverting, and thought-provoking to read at the end of the day.

And since TCOMC is approximately 3700 pages long, it looks like I'll be going to this go-to book for a few weeks yet.

Who has read this book and thinks it's awesome? Mediocre? What's your go-to book these days?

9 comments:

Señora H-B said...

I'm working on my dissertation, so all of my so-called fun reading is easy. I've been returning to Harry Potter. It's comforting, it's easy to read, I can put it down at any time, and there are no surprises.

Melody said...

I have read this book and it is one of my favorites. The first time I read it, it was the abridged version, simply because that was what was on my dad's shelf. I later read the book in it's entirety and wondered why anyone would abridge it. It is THAT good that you need to read all 3700 pages of it!

I have several go too books, but I try not to do any of them too often. It has to have been quite some time since my last reading. This is one of them, Harry Potter is another, a few of the Jane Austen ones. I've only read Jane Eyre once, but I think I'll read it again before too long, etc...

Sarah Familia said...

I LOVE the Count of Monte Cristo, and find the hashish parts fascinating (maybe because that's the closest I'll ever get to getting high in real life?). It really makes me wish I could have visited Italy during the 19th century, when it was still dangerous and "uncivilized."

My go to books are Lord of the Rings. But I really like Jane Austen too, when I feel like I need to read a book with female characters in it.

Andrea said...

TCOMC is sitting on my self, waiting for me to read it already. Les Miserables and The Tale of Two Cities are also among my favorite books of all time. Maybe TCOMC will be my next book.

Kathy Haynie said...

Tale of Two Cities, To Kill a Mockingbird...have you read Beau Geste? I love that story.

Katie said...

LOVED this book and also consider it one of my top three, ALSO behind Les Miserables! But, my most recent read that I just love is Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter. If you haven't already read it, you should. I think you'd love it as well.

Sherwood family said...

Definitely one of my favorites, ever. Brandon's too. I had never read the unabridged until a few years ago, and we both got a good laugh from the hashish parts. Maybe it's time for another read.

Jennifer said...

I've only read the abridged version and love it. You're all convincing me to give all 3700 pages a try! :)

Katie said...

Just off the top of my head, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers comes to mind. I just read it for the second time and it was just as powerful the second as the first. I've been wanting to read TCOMC for a few years now, and I'm glad to hear your review of it. It looks like the 3700 pages is worth the time investment.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails