Do you remember that time about 10 years ago that I asked you to choose a book for me to finish reading by the end of the year?
You probably don’t because it was AGES ago.
Well, I asked you to pick a book that had been languishing on my shelves unread for eons and you chose The Count of Monte Cristo. I started reading it near the end of October and…finished it the night before my birthday.
It took me nearly 5 months to read.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s a classic for a reason and I’m always surprised by how accessible the language of Dumas’ work is. It was published in 1844 but it reads like it could have been written now. Obviously there are certain situation and technologies that are very much of the time, but I find the writing very digestible and when I was reading, I found that I was getting through pages rather quickly.
The story itself is one of vengeance and exciting and interesting, it takes a number of surprising turns. I liked Edmond Dantes and understood his quest. The language was beautiful, it had lighter moments that made me laugh. There was honestly nothing about this book that I can use to explain why it took me so long to read.
Except of course this is one long ass book. I’ve written before about not being intimidated by large books but this time, I did not live up to my own expectations. The size of the book left me itching to finish it and looking at other books piled up around my apartment longingly.
And eventually I gave in to that. The idea of only reading The Count of Monte Cristo for as long as it took me to read it (my copy weighed in at 1462 pages, realistically it would have taken at least a month) was one that I couldn’t reconcile myself to. Which meant that the poor Count became my bedtime read, relegated to second place, his story parcelled out in chapter pairs before I drifted off to sleep.
But I finished it and it was great. If I were to read it again (which I hope to one day) I will devote myself to it like the Count devotes himself to his quest.
8 thoughts on “Taking My Time: The Count of Monte Cristo”
I read this a couple of years ago, and felt the same way. I thought it was great, but felt the impatience of wanting to move on to other books. I find having one book by the bed that gets a chapter a night works really well. It seems slow-going, but you do eventually get through them, and they are not preventing you from reading other books. It’s a good way to read some of the classics that feel a bit slow. It really does feel good to finish them, doesn’t it?
I love the picture at the top of your blog, of you with your German Shephard!
I thought that it would be a really good way to read a longer classic like this but I have a hard time keeping the whole story straight. I am not disciplined enough to read that book every night either – I will decide that I want to finish the other book I’m reading or something. Five months is too long to read a book, even a super long one!
And thanks! My mom actually did it for me!
Hey, whatever it takes. Big books sometimes need broken up a bit. I did that with the end of Crime and Punishment.
In the end I read it right?
I read The Count of Monte Cristo last year and even though I loved the story, it felt like it took me forever to finish the book. However, I did read it on an ereader, so I didn’t have to deal with the weight. I think it took me 3-4 months starting and stopping.
Considering how gigantic my copy was, it actually wasn’t super heavy. But it was tricky to hold at the beginning and near the end. So many pages to try and hold on to! But now I’m done and I can say that I’ve read it. Onto the next!
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