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Who Wants To Tango?

I mentioned the plan to read long epic novels on New year’s Day. Last year, synchronized with my students from Russian literature class, I read Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and The Brothers Karamazov. To step outside of obligation, I would like to read some monumental novels along with some of you. To recapture the tentative list:

Les Misérables (Unabridged) by Victor Hugo
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikib
Middlemarch by George Elliot
Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Jennifer from The Literate Housewife Review has expressed interest in reading Gone with the Wind together. Ted from Bookey Wookey would be my reading partner for Middlemarch, which we attempted last year and sidetracked. So, if anyone is interested in reading these books together, or you have other suggestions (preferably long novels), let me know. I would like to set up a schedule once I have people committed. I’m thinking March would be a good time to begin. Not only we can keep one another accountable for the reading, it would be interesting to compare notes. This reading partnership is also in compliance to one of my goals for the Blog Improvement Project: contribution to building the book blogging community. On Feb 1, I will begin Toni Morrison’s Beloved with my friend who is a seasoned reader.

Lastly, I’m saving my thoughts on The Clothes on Their Backs until the review which I shall post on Monday. I have about fifty pages to go and the book might be the best read for this month. Stay tuned!

52 Responses

  1. I wish I would’ve found your blog when you were reading Anna Karenina!! I’m going to read that in Feb. for a Goodreads book club but it would be much more enjoyable to do this with another person!!

    I look forward to your review on Monday!!

  2. I will think about Gone with the Wind. Saw the movie 10 times, never read the book.

    maggiereads.blogspot.com usually has a Southern summer challenge. Maybe she can join you.

  3. Oh – I’d love to join in on this project but for the fact that I’ve read all those except Ben-Hur (which is on this year’s list). I’ll join in late if you get that far.

    Les Miserables is one of my all-time favorites. For some reason, books that make me bawl tend to be my favorites….it’s best not read in public places – like on a train.

    As for Middlemarch, I never understood why it’s considered such a good novel. I was bored the whole way through it but have never found anyone to share my sentiments. She does write some fantastic lines here and there, but on a whole, meh.

  4. I would love to read The Golden Notebook by Dorris Lessing together with some of you. Also, there is an interesting interactive reading experiment on this book at thegoldennotebook.org where some 6 or 7 women authors are discussing the book in the margins of the text that is available online on this site. I am sure this will interest us and can be a great experience in reading this book together and discussing it.

  5. I think Les Miserables would be very much your kind of book. I’ve managed to plough through it once — lots of detail and full character development, some fantastic scenes — major digressions, like a description of the Battle of Waterloo, which has very little to do directly with the story — quite a chapter on the sewers of Paris, which do. On the whole, a touching and fascinating novel with two very rich characters in opposition, one of them in ruthless pursuit and persecution, the other in constanty in danger of discovery.

  6. I’d like to join in for Middlemarch, if possible.

  7. Sounds like fun, I’ve read Middlemarch and Les Mis and enjoyed them both. I’ve been interested in reading Don Quixote and a partner to keep me on track would be great.

    I look forward to your review of Clothes because it’s in my pile to read.

  8. I would love to read Gone With the Wind with you, as long as I have a little head’s up on when you’ll be starting it. Will you start at the top of the list in March and just move down? Looking forward to it!

  9. I loved Gone with the Wind, and have been meaning to read Anna Karenina and Les Mis for a while. Middlemarch, however, never caught my fancy, though I’ve picked it up to start a few times.

    Happy Reading!

  10. I am reading Les Mis. this year but it’s going to take a while. I’m loving it so far. I plan to read and post on each part as I go. Consider me interested.

  11. I’d love to join in. I’m especially enthusiastic about Middlemarch and Les Miserables, since both of those were added to my list yesterday while reading Weekly Geeks posts. I’ll pass on Gone With the Wind, which I probably should reread but don’t want to, but I’m open to any of the others.


  12. Hi Matt, I’ll be reading The Tale of Genji this year.. but still unsure as to when.. I’m definitely interested in reading along with you.

  13. I’d love to be in on your reading of both Gone with the Wind and Middlemarch. I’m also hoping to get through Les Miserables this year, so if you’re looking for a reading buddy, don’t be afraid to look my way!

  14. I must be in the same group as Staci above as I am reading Anna Karenina now for a Goodreads discussion. I loved Gone with the Wind – read that one back in High School as part of a paper comparing Civil War perspectives in literature – I also tackled Red Badge of Courage along with Andersonville for that paper, which is another good epic.

  15. I’d be up for Les Mis later in the year….that seems like a very good fall/winter read.

  16. Me me me, I would like to read Gone with the Wind or Les Miserables with you. Let me know the schedule.

  17. Matt, I am back to throw a little love your way. You’re one of the best out there!


  18. It sounds like fun to read a book along with another reader. I am still, wait let me rephrase this, I am getting back to reading Bleak House–it’s going to return to being my bus book! I still plan on reading those Anthony Powell novels, too. I had thought of reading The Tale of Genji, but I’m not sure I dare pick another really long one….I think you are a much more disciplined reader than I am when it comes to sticking with a long book and keeping on track! Of course, maybe that’s the impetus I need! 🙂

  19. If you really want to try your hand at a long, epic novel, I suggest John Cowper Powys’ “A Glastonbury Romance”. I read it a few years ago after it was mentioned in another novel and enjoyed its connection to the old mystic elements of England. It’s a fine read.

  20. Staci:
    Anna Karenina is my favorite Tolstoy. I the layers with which he describes Anna’s marriage and her progression in her love for Vronsky. I’ll be teaching the book in March so I’ll be reading it again. 🙂

  21. Isabel:
    It would be great if you’ll read with me Isabel! Thank you for the connection I will check it out. 🙂

  22. Christina:
    You’ve some great thoughtful comments. Funny you say you can’t read Les Miserables on the train, because my friend who works at the library said the same!

    It would be great if you join me to read Ben-Hur. I plan to begin with Gone with the Wind this spring. 🙂

  23. bookcrazy:
    I totally agree with you because interactions and discussion would help understand these epics better, plus it’s a great way to make connection with bloggers. 🙂

  24. Greg S:
    Title of the Chinese translation of Les Miserables is The World of sadness. So the description of sewage of Paris would be quite appropriate. It reminds me of the pestilence and putrid smell of Paris in Perfume! I always feel lacking in not having read the book. I plan to read it in early summer.

  25. moscar:
    Thank you! It would be great because it seems so far that people have expressed the least interest in this one. I however would love to get to it this year. 🙂

  26. cafeshree:
    Don Quixote would also be a great project to read together. I’ll see what I can do after I have tabulated everyone’s responses. But most likely I’ll begin Gone with the Wind first. 🙂

  27. Sandy:
    You bet I’ll give you heads up way ahead! It would be so much fun reading with you and Jennifer from The Literate Housewife review so far. The list, as you know, is tentative because I’m mood-driven. But the second book is likely Les Miserables. 🙂

  28. Meg89 @ Literary Menagerie:
    So would like to join me reading Les Miserables in early summer? 🙂

  29. CB James:
    You are? I would be looking out for your posts along the way. I’m planning to begin in May. 🙂

  30. alirambles:
    It’s great to hear you want to join in Middlemarch, which is so far not the most popular one. I’ll read Les Miserables in May and I should come up for an organizational post for each book. 🙂

  31. claire:
    Yay finally someone who wants to read Tale of Genji. I’m planning it to be my fall selection, if that would be okay with you? 🙂

  32. Chelsea:
    Thank you so much for your commitment! I’m excited hear that you’re in for three books. I’ll begin Gone with the Wind in spring, around March I say, and I have to coordinate with everyone’s schedule. 🙂

  33. Molly:
    I must be one of the last people to read Gone with the Wind. All my friends have read it or read more than once! Nor have I seen the movie! I gotta catch up! I want to read it along with other bloggers so they can keep me accountable. 🙂

  34. Rebecca @ The Book Lady’s Blog:
    I’ll keep you posted for the reading schedule. I’m thinking maybe summer or fall, depending on how people express interest in Tale of Genji. 🙂

  35. I’m in for Les Miserables this summer!

  36. John:
    You’re in my friend. I’ll let you know! 🙂

  37. Sandy:
    Thank you so much for the award. I really appreciate it, knowing you find my little patch on the blogsphere helpful and interesting. 🙂

  38. Danielle:
    I remember your reading Les Miserables last year, did you read it on the bus as well? I tend to stay with one book and go at it everyday but this time I might do something different. I might set aside a certain time to read say two chapters. Reading with others mean I can’t slack or go too fast. I’m thinking about Tale of Genji this fall.

  39. Greg C:
    I saw A Glastonbury Romance at the bookstore but didn’t check into it. Since I trust your reading taste, I would go check it out. 🙂 Thanks.

  40. Hey Matt.. I’m okay with Tale of Genji for fall.. hopefully Danielle is good with that, too, so there’ll be more than one of us reading with you.. 🙂

  41. Claire:
    Hey thanks! I’m very excited that you and Danielle will be reading with me. This book, in particular, has always seemed invincible to me. I’ll keep you posted of the exact date. 🙂

  42. Hurray, these three:

    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikib
    Middlemarch by George Elliot

    are already on my 2009 to-read list, so I”m definitely intereted in reading along with you. How fun 😀

  43. ps. I loved Les Miserables so much I would read it again, but I’m feeling a bit overstretched this year as it is!

  44. tuesday:
    I’m excited to hear you’re in as well. This reading prject will be so much fun with readers reading long epic novels all over the world throughout the day! Wow! 🙂

  45. Les Mis and Gone with the Wind are 2 of my all time favorites!! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

    I have been looking for a partner to read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. Too bad I couldn’t interest you in that one!

  46. Stephanie:
    I’ve been thinking of A Suitable Boy as well. When do you plan on reading it?

  47. Oh….I don’t know. Probably not till the Spring. At least. It looks really good…..but 1400 pages is a monster!!

  48. Please keep me in mind if you do Tale of Genji in the fall. I’ve a lovely two volume hard-bound edition sitting unread on the shelf. I might be able to join in if you start after September.

  49. Ooh. I’d be in for Les Miserables. I’ve wanted to read it for ages, and I just saw the musical for the first time this so week, so now I’m determined to read it.

    A couple of other thick books on my shelf that I would enjoy reading with a group are The Way of the World by Anthony Trollope and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

    I’ll look forward to your posts on Gone with the Wind and Middlemarch. I’ve read and enjoyed them both.

  50. Teresa:
    The next read-along selection is very likely to be Les Miserables. I’m thinking about June. 🙂

  51. […] reading lists for now, because Matt over at A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook is beginning a sort of read-a-long. He will be reading five books, and since three of […]

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