Hi there folks! On this hump day, I bring you an exciting announcement! I am co-hosting a readathon this May with my fab friend, housemate, and eternal recommender of great books Emma at A Skirmish of Wit. We’re going to be reading Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Yep, we’re tackling a book fondly known as The Brick, and we’re here to debunk the misgivings you may have about reading this chunk and make reading this bad boy fun and manageable! Let’s get this show on the road!
Why Les Misérables?
So where did this start? Well, you have to look at Emma for that. I had absolutely no interest in the book, or any adaptations of the story, until the fateful meeting with Emma in the kitchen of her flat one afternoon in First Year University. It’s not that I hated it, I just had never actively pursued anything to do with the musical, the film adaptations, or the book itself.
Cut to 5/6 years later, and she has managed to take me to see the film (which I hated) and the musical (which I loved). I read through her academic dissertation that was heavily based on the book and the story and was actually really invested in the story and the discourse in the piece of work.
And so here I am, actually looking forward to tackling the book myself. I am sure I won’t love it all, I am prepared for that, but I ma intrigued by the stories and themes and I am ready to say “Look at me, I’ve read and finished Les Misérables from start to finish!”
So, maybe you’ve seen the musical and enjoyed it? Maybe you’ve seen the musical and hated it? Maybe you just want to know what the fuss is over Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread? Whatever the reason, if you have the slightest inclination, then consider this readalong the push you need to pick the book up!
But why now?
The honest answer is Emma told me she had the idea and I decided to get involved. I want to read more classics, more translated works, and I wanted to give a go at hosting my own readathon/readalong. Given the sad recent events in Paris and the fire that has ravaged Notre Dame, the book was at the forefront of her brain.
Well, why May? Well 3 reasons really:
1) it’s a long month and this is a long book
2) we know what we’re like, so the less time to ponder and the quicker this comes around, the more likely we are to actually do it
3) everyone loves a good hashtag, and the alliterative masterpiece #MiserablesMay was too good to resist
So, the question should really be why not?
I’m in. So what’s the plan?
As this is a translated work, there is high chance that we are all going to be reading different versions and translations. With this in mind, we (and by we I absolutely mean Emma) has decided to split the month into sections; the idea being we’re all reading the same amount of story at the same amount of time. Yeah, it will make some weeks harder than others, but that is life.
The hope is that a schedule will help keep us somewhat accountable for our progress. It should also mean that we’re all reading alongat the same pace and can encourage each other and discuss it as we go. Of course, it’s only a guide so if you want to read lots quicker or can’t commit to our reading pace, go at your own pace and join in anyway. After all, it’s meant to be a bit of fun!
If you want to keep tabs on the schedule, plan ahead, or see what Emma and I are going to be doing, here is a handy guide to all things read along planning!
For those who are interested, I’m going to be reading the Hapgood translation (which is the Project Gutenberg edition too), pretty much because I collect word cloud classics, and this is the translation that fits with these editions. I don’t have a vested interest in any particular edition or translation, but I have included a little note on each translation on my readalong spreadsheet, along with a couple of links to discussions of the merits of each, so be sure to check it out if you’re unsure which to buy/borrow. (Once again, thank you Emma for the time and effort you have put into this!)
So what do I need to do?
It’s simple really! Get your copy of Les Mis, comment on this post or tweet using the hashtag #MiserablesMay to say that you’re joining in, and then when may comes around, pick up The Brick and read, read, read! It would be awesome to see some regular updates and progress reports. Emma and I are both planning to post regular updates and reports on our respective blogs (I am thinking weekly but we’ll see when the time comes around). Expect gifs, and inappropriate commentary, and zero-ing in on the most irrelevant aspects of the plot from me, and more intelligent responses from Emma (because that’s just what we’re like!)
We are both twitter users and will most likely peruse the hashtag regularly, post impromptu updates, and hold the occasional sprint sessions on there too. As an Insta lover too, I’d love to see your reading pictures through the readalong. We’re using the hashtag #MiserablesMay there too! We may also host some watchalongs and twitter chats throughout the month too if you’re interested!
Are you joining in on the Les Misérables madness in May? please comment below and
let me know!
Be sure to tweet about the readalong on Twitter too because I’m bound to procrastinate/tweet a lot about this book there.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag on all your Les Mis pictures on Instagram too!!
To the barricades!