Nonfiction November 2017 Week 2: Book Pairing
It’s time for another Nonfiction November post. After reading last week’s posts my TBR pile has already grown! For a roundup of last week, see the links at JulzReads.
This week Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves hosts one of my favorite events of Nonfiction November, Book Pairings:
This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.
This year I’m pairing up one of my favorite books of all time with one of my favorite books of the year:
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is as poetically beautiful a story as you’re ever going to read. I taught this book for over twenty years, rereading it every year, and it never got old. A sweeping storyline, unforgettable characters, a rich tapestry of language–Les Misérables has it all, and then some.
As with every classic work of literature, Les Misérables is worth reading by every human being regardless of where or when they live. As Hugo himself said the in the preface to Les Misérables,
so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this.
Because ignorance and misery still exist, we continue to need Les Misérables. After more than 150 years it still has the power to move readers to tears, to anger, and to change their lives. Hugo’s novel can be truly transforming. I have seen it profoundly affect the lives of students year after year. It truly is one of the world’s great novels.
The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables
The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables by David Bellos is a worthy tribute to Hugo’s novel, as well as indispensable aid to understanding it better. You can read my full review here, but the quick lowdown is that David Bellos has done a marvelous job of opening up Les Misérables for the reader, regardless of how familiar one is with the novel.
The Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along
[Deep breath. Ok, here goes.] I am going to venture into the world of hosting a read-along. And not just any read-along. A read-along of the one of the longest books ever written. As David Bellos mentions in The Novel of the Century, Les Misérables has 365 chapters, one for every day of the year. Please join me in reading this profoundly transformative novel in 2018, one chapter each day, from January 1 to December 31, 2018.
In the next week I will have a formal post announcing the read-along with all the details, but I wanted to mention it now for two reasons. One, I want to get the word out to as many people as possible. And two, I want to force myself to follow through on this by putting it into writing publicly. I am both excited and nervous about hosting a read-along, but I’m hoping there are some kindred souls out there who are willing to take a chance on a first-time reading challenge host. Please consider joining me in what I believe will be a powerful experience.