I took a peek at my copy of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables over the weekend. I have the Signet mass market edition, which is unabridged. It has a total of 1,463 pages. I am tentatively planning on starting to read on March 15-ish (which is a weekend). Now the question is how to break up the chapters. I'd like to read it at a nice, steady pace and finish it in about two months. That means reading roughly 200 pages a week. I've heard that once you're into the story it moves along quite nicely, so I hope that's the case. Of course if you are really energetic there are five distinct sections and you could read one section a week, but I don't think I'll be able to manage that. How does that sound to everyone? Of course I may find once I start that I can't read at such a fast clip and may need to rethink my plans.
I actually spent some time yesterday loafing around reading (what I always want to do on a Sunday, but I never seem to be able to finish my "chores" early enough). I've gotten to the point of no return in Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast. I've decided Harry Hole now ranks as one of my very favorite detectives. I'll be eagerly waiting for new installments to be published here (or in the UK as they seem to be putting them out faster). I feel a Scandinavian crime/mystery book reading binge coming on!
After finishing the Nesbo book, I'll need to read just one more library book to get in my five books for the library's Winter Reading program. I'm planning on reading Russell Banks's The Reserve. I've never read anything by Banks before, so I'm not sure what to expect. The premise sounds interesting "part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks's sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness—and explores what happens when two powerful personalities, trapped at opposite ends of a social divide, begin to break the rules". I've already dipped into it and I like what I've read so far.
This week I'll also be concentrating on reading Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel (for the Slaves) and Carmen LaForet's Nada. I'm liking the Laurence book a lot. I've heard many things about Hagar, the narrator in The Stone Angel and she sounds like a formidable character! I was a little afraid when I started reading, but I love Laurence's writing style and have been easily immersed in Hagar's story from the beginning. I think it will be an excellent book for discussion (hopefully I'll finish it in time!). I'm going to 'guest review' Nada here later this month, so I won't go into much detail now. I have been looking forward to reading it since I discovered it last year. Modern Library published it with a new translation by Edith Grossman. The LA Times called it "a coming-of-age novel, but it's also a work of genius, small but indelible".