Un film de Les Misérables

I've been reading Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables", which means reading a lot of chase scenes. It's been a pleasant surprise, actually, in an otherwise sad, serious and seriously great book, to follow Jean Valjean across the face of France as Inspector Javert tries to reel him in. After a while it all started reminding me … Continue reading Un film de Les Misérables

Napoleon was poggers, says Le Miz

My son recently told me that Napoleon -- you know, France's short Emperor -- was "poggers." Now, definitions may be in order for those who, unlike my son, are not avid video gamers. Poggers: Originating from an emote on the streaming platform Twitch, poggers or pog is an Internet slang term used to express enthusiasm, … Continue reading Napoleon was poggers, says Le Miz

Les Misérables – Mikhail Gorbachev

Only hours after the death of Mikhail Gorbachev yesterday, I came up to these lines in "Les Misérables": Although aware of the corrosive power of the light on privileges, he left his throne exposed to the light. History will recognize him for this honesty. (translation by Christine Donougher) Victor Hugo is referring to Louis Philippe … Continue reading Les Misérables – Mikhail Gorbachev

Les Misérables – atheism and faith

Alban Krailsheimer once wrote that Christianity was oddly missing as a subject in Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris (aka, The Hunchback of Notre Dame). And I agree: that novel can seem like a merely secular story about a Christian cathedral. Les Misérables, by contrast, opens immediately with Christianity as a subject: its entire first … Continue reading Les Misérables – atheism and faith

Les Misérables – guillotine and cross

I've started reading Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, and it's such a long novel that I'm going to start sharing partial impressions and thoughts as I go along. Victor Hugo was a lifelong opponent of the death penalty, which you may guess from the following passage in Le Miz: There is something nightmarish about the scaffold … Continue reading Les Misérables – guillotine and cross

Favorite books of 2021 (and 2020)

My blog is new, so I've never picked out favorite books for a year, but here we go. My ten faves for 2021, fiction and nonfiction, out of the 66 books I read: 1. New Testament -- the recent translation by David Bentley Hart 2. Notre Dame de Paris Translated by Alban Krailsheimer 3. Lonesome … Continue reading Favorite books of 2021 (and 2020)