#OpenBook July - Classics & Fun

Welcome to July's edition of An Open Book linkup!  I've got a lot to share this month.

Two other book nerds were aghast when I told them I hadn't read Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. The reason was that The Three Musketeers had scarred me as a kid, and it took a lot of bibliophilic peer pressure to get me anywhere near another Dumas. I took the plunge, finally - and if CMC didn't hit any other superlatives in my book, it definitely wins the prize of The Book that Took Me Forever to Read.

I started the massive tome (okay fine, it was an e-book) in mid-May, thinking to have it done within a week or two. Took me over a month to get through it.

Dumas' skill is readily apparent, opium trips and irritating not-quite-heroes aside. He manages a dozen primary characters and several supporting plot lines, successfully wrapping up all the loose threads with neatly bookended scenes. Simultaneously, he manages to create in Edmund Dantes a sort of sociopathic Cinderella-turned-avenging-angel, so convinced of his divinely-ordained path that the reader is sorely tempted to believe in his brand of justice.

Thankfully, the reader gets to see not only the villains' just desserts, but also the innocents' eventual happiness. A fairytale ending somehow makes sense, and there's a cathartic nature to the majority of the book.

So overall, a classic worth reading once at least. Not my favorite, but I'm not sorry I spent the time on it. (Which is more than I could say for Wuthering Heights a few summers back.)

On a much lighter note, in the course of book-shopping rambles with a friend, I picked up a volume of two novels by a British author I recently discovered.  I've mentioned Terry Pratchett before; Tom Holt, who was recommended on NoveList, is similar in writing style and humor.  Barring a bit of language, his books are the perfect light summer reading for a literature addict.  The Second Tom Holt Omnibus kept me entertained through this Fourth of July weekend.  Sadly, Holt's books are hard if not impossible to find, so I'm constantly on the lookout for hard copies.

My Hero does everything that a book shouldn't do, and somehow pulls it off while simultaneously taking its characters on a romp through every imaginable caricature of genre fiction.  As the back-cover blurb says,

"Writing novels? Piece of cake, surely ... or so Jane thinks.
Until hers start writing back. At which point, she really should stop. Better still, change her name and flee the country. The one thing she should not do is go into the book herself. After all, that's what heroes are for. Unfortunatly, the world of fiction is a far more complicated place than she ever imagined. And she's about to land her hero right in it."

Who's Afraid of Beowulf? tracks an archaologist who discovers that the new barrow she just discovered is full of Vikings who aren't actually dead.  The ensuing adventure to save the world from the Vikings' equally long-dead evil adversary has just the right amount of the comic fantastic.

"Who's Afraid of Beowulf? Well, not Hrolf Earthstar, for a start. The last Norse king of Caithness, Hrolf and his twelwe champions are woken from a centuries-long sleep when Hildy Fredriksenn, archaeologist of the fairer sex, finds their grave. Not only that, Hrolf decides to carry on his ancient war against the Sorcerer-King.  In a mixture of P.G. Wodehouse, Norse mythology and Laurel and Hardy, Hildy and her Viking companions face such perils as BBC film crews, second-rate fish and chips and the Bakerloo Line in their battle agaainst the powers of darkness."

Been reading a bit more this month!  I wonder what everyone else has pulled off their shelves?  Check out the linkups at Carolyn Astfalk's blog, and at CatholicMom.com.


  1. So... Count of Monte Cristo... could it be a car ride audiobook with a first grader in the audience?

    1. It's pretty complicated, but clean, although you may have to explain the drug-induced hallucinations. Any implicit references would probably go over most kids' heads.

    2. Perfect, thanks. We just finished The Little Princess, which makes reference to TCOMC, so it seemed a perfect next book.

  2. I confess to not having read Count of Monte Cristo or The Three Musketeers, something I should probably rectify. I saw the movies, but I don't think that counts. Thanks for linking up, Rebecca!


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