Less Les Mizz

Captain’s Log    4,534

I really don’t know what I was thinking.  I had this idea that it would be good to read Les Miserables before the film opens.  To get the real story.  All I have learned so far is that the bishop/priest guy visits sick people in the hospital.  And that is almost 80 pages into the book.  900 to go.  Is it worth it?    I cannot wait to see Hugh Jackman with scars on his naked body…or Anne Hathaway really having her hair chopped off (had to be a perfect take because she really and truly did it on camera). But I keep getting distracted and/or falling asleep every time I try to tackle this book.

les miserablesTypical tragic tale of a prostitute with a heart of gold and many people falling from grace while they hide from the police.  Don’t forget prison and beheadings and all that other stuff.

I cannot find the groove.  On a Sunday afternoon or any time. I guess this is an epic tale.  I wonder if I could write one.  Michener wrote lovely tales about Poland, Colorado, Hawaii, Texas, and that famous well in the Middle East.   Colleen McCullough wrote about the Australian Outback.   Tolstoy was pretty good at it.  So was Tolkein and even J.K. Rowling. Does a book need to be really fat to be considered an epic?  Let me Google the definition. Hmmm……..lots of scholarly discussion about this.  The hero’s journey is definitely a factor.  Epic novels tend to feature people who rise from obscurity to become beloved and/or memorable.  It must take a lot of words for that to happen, and that’s why the books are so damn fat.  Dick and Jane at the Beach is not considered an epic novel.  There is no hero’s story when all you do is say See Spot run.  Run Spot, run.  And then eat the healthy lunch mother packed for you.

Fifty Shades of Grey cannot be considered epic either.  The books are not fat and there is no hero – just two misguided fools who think boinking in an elevator with their hands tied behind their backs is fun.  I guess that part covers the whole PRISON idea of an epic novel (shackles and stuff), but nobody overcomes adversity.  Unless you consider Mrs. Grey’s struggle with her decision to ride a jet ski without Mr. Grey’s permission.  That might be considered adversity, because adversity is relative.   And I supposed the famous scenes with Mr. Spanky Hand might be considered torture.  Back to the PRISON idea.  And…..Ana DID restyle her hair!  She didn’t chop it off with a knife but hey…..it’s all relative.

And then there is theme of prostitution in the Fifty Shades tales.  Is Ana a prostitute?  Not in the literal sense of the word, but hey.  I think accepting an Audi sports car for allowing some asshat to zip you up like a Thanksgiving turkey is a form of prostitution.  Good thing those two got married.  Made the whole gift acceptance thing a lot more tolerable and morally correct.  LOL!

I don’t think epic novels contain constant text messaging either.  I think a good part of an epic novel is when the characters actually don’t know the whereabouts of each other.  Makes things much more compelling.  I’m talking months if not years of separation.  When they DO find each other, it’s like a huge reunion.  In the Fifty Shades tales, they are only out of touch for maybe….14 minutes (except at the end where Ana risks her life and shit).

And….in epic novels….lip biting only happens when a prison guard punches you in the mouth and you check to see if you still have a face.  Ana is NOT an epic lip biter (even though she does it at least 400 times in the book).  She is doing it to be puzzled and/or sexy.  That is not epic novel material at all.  In fact, I wanted to borrow the museum’s people counter tally thing to keep track of how many times she really did it.  


This is also a wonderful tool to keep track of how many negative things people say in a day.  You would be surprised.

I have a very full week ahead of me.   Really looking forward to the annual volunteer dinner on Friday night.  Those folks are super!  They help us all year long and are such good sports!  I bought something non-alcoholic and non-Starbucky thing for the steal-a-gift exchange.   Kahlua and Bailey’s seem to be the big hits every year.  UGH!  Wine runs a close second.  UGH!  Then, it’s Starbucks gift cards.  UGH!  I am such a big drinker, eh?  I don’t like any of those sweet booze things.  Amaretto makes me gag.  Wine gives me a huge headache.   So yes, I prefer gifts that take a little imagination to enjoy.



Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

19 responses to “Less Les Mizz

  1. i bet there is a new condensed version based on the movie for sale by now…..might be easier to read.
    As for the gift exchange….wrap up those horrible 50 Shades of Grey books….I bet there will be fisticuffs to get that gift….

  2. Haven’t read the book or seen the movie for Les Miserables. Like some of the music I’ve heard, but not enough to plunk down cash money for either book OR movie, lol.

    I may rent from Redbox eventually. I already have a largish stack of books at home that I haven’t read – too many to seek out French literature just because a film is out with the title.

  3. farm girl

    I love reading. I still will say see the movie. It will be your “cliff notes” of the book! I have yet to see a movie that did justice to a book and I am almost always disappointed in who they get to play the characters in the book. Although when reading a book, I don’t think “so and so should play the part” if ever made into a movie..I just know when I see them in the movie that’s not who I would have picked or I nitpick info they leave out or take great liberty with..nope…not big fan of books made into movies.
    If I haven’t gotten into a book in the first 25 pages I put it away. Grab me or I go. I will say I would almost always rather read the book than see the movie they make out of it, but in this case am looking forward to the movie and, no, will not read the book.
    I need that counter. So I can count how many times supposedly intelligent people say “you know” while carrying on a conversation. Drives me batty. They don’t, you know, even realize they do it! That way, you know, I would have proof. You know what I mean.

    • poolagirl

      Like….for sure….you know. LOL! If I don’t read the book, you know, I won’t be disappointed in the movie. You know. Like.

  4. I’ve seen the stage show twice, and am looking forward to the movie – fabulous music. I won’t be reading the book, though.

  5. We are bringing imagination and enough money to pay you back for the kettle corn. LOL

  6. I was wondering about the translation, too Patty. But I think in this instance, as in soi many others, Big Sis has the answer xx

  7. Patty O'Reilly

    Oh dear… As a recovering French Major let me add a couple of thoughts:
    Hugo’s true EPIC was three novels, not one, and together they formed a “whole” of the tale of Man’s struggles.

    Les Miserable = Man in contention with Man
    Notre Dame de Parie = Man in contention with The Church/God
    Toilers to the Sea = Man in contention with Nature

    In addition the man was a wordsmith; he wrote in Alexandrine verse. He couldn’t help it. The French language lends itself beautifully to the 12 syllable meter, which ALAS does NOT translate well into English’s more usual iambic pentameter. My belief is that Hugo has not yet been satisfactorily translated.

    Toilers to the Sea is the book that contains one of the most horrifying, tragic, and yet lyrical passages I have ever read..and one I was asked to spontaneously translate in a class given by a FRENCH French professor. It brought me to tears, not because it was too difficult (although it was) but because speaking the words out loud were so devastating. I don’t think that comes through in English.

    It IS a difficult book and it IS very, very LONG. But please give Hugo a chance and he will eventually speak to your heart.

  8. Go read Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past”. You don’t even have to read every volume. Just the first one. And not even the whole thing. Just read the first part of the first chapter. The 30-something pages he takes describing how he falls asleep. Then go back to Les Mizz. It’ll read like a bodice-ripper page turning barn burner by comparison.

  9. bholles

    I think you should just see the movie and skip the book.

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