EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY ANNOYANCE (telophase) wrote,

Did I miss a memo?

Logged in and found all sorts of posts on my f-lists about "What I'm Reading." Which made me think about what I'm reading, actually. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the first reread of The Hobbit I've done in at least a decade, maybe two. It's such a different beast than the recent movie that the discrepancies bother me not at all. :)

Also in the queue, about 2343253454 ebook samples I've downloaded and slowly am chipping away at, and several Yuletide fics from AO3. It's also being underlined to me that when I read fic of a fandom, I'm looking for the original voice (in the case of a book) or tone (in the case of a video), and for plot. And most fics just don't capture that voice. (Naturally, of course, since they're by different authors.) And I'm pretty much bored by character studies or snippets in the life and tend to crankily want something to happen. Which seems a bit odd, because I rather like the sort of pastoral fiction in which nothing much happens. (see: Natsume's Book of Friends, for example.) I think the difference is between a scene in which there's no movement, as if the camera was turned on behind the scenes and recorded a snippet of daily life, and a scene in which there's a change, even if it's a subtle one, in someone's circumstances, emotions, or understanding of a mystery or problem. Will have to muse more on that.

And then I've got a translation of Les Miserables on the Kindle. I looked at the various ones available and went with the one that people said didn't perfectly adhere to the original, but which was more readable and which abridged a minimum amount (I think only two chapters? The Norman Denny translation, at any rate). Part of me really wanted As Close To The Original As Possible, but the practical part of me said that if it wasn't readable, 1400 pages of novel was going to go to waste, and I could always get another copy if need be.

I was warned in advance about Hugo's love for talking on and on for chapters about characters and events, some of which are only peripherally involved. I haven't got far yet, just in the midst of describing what a Gary Stu marvellous and holy person the bishop is. For those of you who haven't read the book, seen the movie, or the musical, the bishop is onstage in the musical/movie for about five minutes, but has pages and pages devoted to him in the book, mostly about how awesome, loving, kindly, and Godly a person he is.

But on thinking about it, it makes sense. The bishop's actions in the story (ZOMG SPOILERS) -- and I need to point out that I'm only familiar with it through the musical -- are to forgive Jean Valjean, who is recently released from 19 unjust years in prison, for stealing his silver items, to tell (lie to, actually) the officers who arrested Valjean that he did give it to Valjean, as Valjean claims, and to give Valjean more silver, wringing a promise from him that he will use the silver to become an honest man.

That action is completely believable to me now, after having spent pages immersed in the bishop's daily life. Without all of that, it would have been a deus ex machina, and it seems that way in the musical because it mostly serves as a way for Valjean to sing about his change of heart and to place his feet on a new path, which drives a good part of the plot, and you just have to accept that it happens.

So it'll be interesting to get farther in the book and see what else I discover.

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Tags: book
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