I've finally finished listening to the Librivox recordings of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. That took... a while. Five volumes, each with 40-70 recordings. Yowza. As I listened to it, I remembered why it took me an entire summer to read the book while I was in high school. It wasn't that I'm a slow reader. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Hugo tends to be more of a historian than a story-teller, which results in a book that isn't particularly interesting to me for large chunks. There were, like, nineteen chapters on the battle of Waterloo. And three on the history and anatomy of the sewer systems of Paris. All I really needed to know was that Jean Valjean was in the sewers. It didn't make any difference to the story that he was in the section that was built under... um... someone's reign. See how much it mattered to me?
But the heart of the story was good, and when he got on a roll with story instead of history, I was captivated. There were times that I would sit in my car for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes after I got home, just to hear the rest of the section. I think, though, that it will be another fifteen years before I reread it again.
I also finally finished the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. Wow. I've been working on this series since I picked up the first book almost fifteen years ago. I reread the series every time a new one came out, up until the last three. At that point, I knew that the series would be wrapping up, so I waited until it was finished to read the whole thing once more. I started again over the summer, and this weekend, I finished the last book.
I'm feeling a bit, well, ambiguous about it. The ending fit the rest of the books. It worked out well, and it tied together whole chunks from the beginning that I was wondering about. There were some bits that didn't make sense, and all of the characters have a tendency to deliver monologues rather than actually having discussions with one another, but aside from that, I enjoyed the series. It wasn't nearly as over-written as I found the Wheel of Time series to be - I stopped reading at book 7, and I've had no desire to pick it back up. At the same time, it's sad, because I've waited so long to find out what happens, and now that I know, well... hmm.
Can you tell I've been making up for lost reading time? I also finished Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. It was in the cupboard at work, so I picked it up and read it during my lunch breaks. It was okay. It wasn't as if it were poorly written. It was actually the story that I didn't like. She wrote it well, don't get me wrong! Rebecca (the MC) just made me uncomfortable. I think it was the situation that she had managed to get into that didn't sit well with me. Please, don't skip this book just because I didn't enjoy it - as I said, it was very well written, and the characters were nicely developed, and it is clearly a book that many others have enjoyed.
I've started reading Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. I read Wicked years ago, and loved it. Of course, I also loved Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister and Mirror, Mirror, so I'm expecting to enjoy this one. I'm only about 50 pages in, but I'm liking it. I'll give you a final verdict when I'm done. :)
I was going to start listening to another audiobook, but I found the most random-ass mix cd in my car, and I can't stop listening to it. I'm pretty sure that Otter made it for me - it's labeled "Princess/Disney Mix," and I was expecting a few songs from The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast. Instead, it's got the standard princess songs, mixed with the soundtrack from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, Shrek, Peter Pan and some other craziness, all in one. There are 148 tracks!! So I'll be listening to it for a while before I switch back to a book.
And that's what I've been up to! (Well, partly. But you have to wait until Friday to hear about the secret I'm keeping.)