Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 2013: Good and Bad and Moving and Les Miserables

I've been bad and I've been good...but I'm gonna have an Aviance night.  No, I'm not.

The badness: I've neglected my blogging.  I almost announced a hiatus because I feel so fragmented about changing jobs and changing my plans from moving back to the US to moving to Busan and getting all my paperwork in order.  Not only do I feel fragmented, my brain feels like the witches' brew in Macbeth.  Every day, one more ingredient is thrown into my seething, teeming cauldron. Moving again!  Aaargh, the books.  The packing of boxes, the ruthless paring down.  What I really love is having moved rather than the actual process.  Anyway, no hiatus for this blog.  I haven't stopped in almost 9 years and I won't stop now.

 More bad-osity: I keep wavering in and out of the TBR Double Dog Dare Challenge like a radio station slightly out of range.  It's not A.D.D.  My friend Teri got me into listening to audiobooks from the library, and no matter how much I squint at the dates, and mumble stuff about Lunar New Year they were checked out after the TBRDDD did commence.

Surprisingly, I haven't put a big 'Fail' sign up.  I was gentle-Marmee with myself. I climbed up to the garret and gave my inner Jo an apple and patted her hand (that was interesting) and kindly but briskly told her to just see how many TBRs she/I can read before April 1.  It worked.  I was back on track quicker than you can say blancmange.

So where is the goodness in all of this?  The reason I was Marmee-nice to myself and permitted myself a slight swagger on occasion is because I finished Les Miserables this month!  I loved it and have plans to read it again, but it was like boot camp with a French accent and a slightly daffy drill sergeant.  Who the hell stops a perfectly riveting storyline to go on and on about Waterloo?  Slang?  The history of Paris sewers?  The slang and the sewers were right up my alley since I'm an EFL teacher who has a secret fascination with anything to do with merde,

even though I don't pronounce it properly.  Is is mared or mare-day or do I say mare then swallow-gargle that last bit?  But Waterloo!  I was OK for a while, then I got up and started singing and playing ABBA:

I got irritated with Hugo's ramblings, but admired his moxie.  Also, I have to cut him some slack:  Dude was homesick for France.  I get homesick all the time, so I know the symptoms.

Another time I got distracted was when Victor Hugo was talking about Marius' handsomeness, and mentioned his slightly flared nostrils.  I tried to continue, but then was compelled to get a mirror and check my own.  After that, it was time for work, so I went in and sized up everyone else's nostrils.

Anyway, I'm happy I finally got it done. When I was 9 or 10 years old, I remember reading a synopsis of "Less Miserables" and thinking it sounded like a good book: A guy named Gene Valgene steals a loaf of French bread.  I like French bread!  A mean policeman chases him for 20 years.  There's also a girl, like me.  I was outraged to find that it was impenetrable, in spite of going at it with all my fledgling reading powers.

I find my Les Miserables reading project to be useful to others.  When people talk to me about the musical and express confusion about a certain point, I pipe up:  "Well, in the book..."  I'm trying to offer up my knowledge in a sweet, have-a-bite-off-of-my-chocolate-bunny's-ears way, but I can also see how I might come off as nerdish and irritating.

This post feels too long already.  You're probably thinking  fermez and C'est fini! so I'll discuss the other books I read/listened to in January next time.


Jeane said...

Moving stinks. It's nice when you're settled in again, though. I moved two months ago and though the books are all sitting on the shelves they are jumbled up in no order at all, so it doesn't feel settled yet. I need to sort them....

I laughed at your words on Les Mis. Made me want to read it again myself, but I'll probably go with the abridged version!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

There are definitely some parts in Les Mis that drag. The whole war/battle thing felt like it went on for a long time. I think you're right about him being homesick.

Unruly Reader said...

Dear Determined,

Am wildly glad you're not going on hiatus. That would be tragic.

Loved reading your words about Les Miserables. Too funny, so true.

Best wishes with the move. The books will make the move harder, but the living better.

Care said...

LOVE this post. YOu are so delightful. I would love to read/reread LesMiz some day but since I CAN say I did done read it once, perhaps the abridged version is the way to go like Jeanne suggests. I must share (cuz I MUST) that when we visited Brussels - I hope I have this right?! - I had to sit and stare at the building where Hugo is said to have written Les Miz. Got a bit verklempt and then bought some chocolate. All good.
So where's Busan? another EFL gig? did I miss this announcement explanation in a post somewhere? Are you going to write me back? :P

Tami said...

I totally agree - "have moved" is so much better than "moving". There's a bit of excitement and adventure in the former. The latter is just work and stress.

Loved your description of pronouncing French words by gargling at the end. :)

And kudos to you for finishing Les Mis - or even for starting!

Eva said...

Moving & not sure about moving is so frustrating. Good thing you had Les Mis to keep your mind off things! :D

I read it a few years ago now (maybe 2009?) and loved it, but I still remember my 14-year-old self becoming so disgusted when Jean Valjean and Cosette's desperate flight through nighttime Paris was interrupted by a 50 page history of the convent that I just quit. hehe