I'm reading a lot of prose at the moment, it's nice to put poetry on the back burner for a bit.
I had picked up both volumes of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables a good number of years ago. I probably got them for a pound each as they are Wordsworth Classics and the print is unbelievably small.
At the time I couldn't get into them despite adoring the musical (I saw it on my 21st birthday) and I had loved the music long before I'd seen the musical. I've also been to Hugo's well preserved house when I was in Paris seven years back. His endless strange and nightmarish paintings always stuck in my mind. A couple of years ago I read his Hunchback of Notre Dame, what a great story. Now I'm halfway through the first volume of Les Miserables and loving it. Every character is suberbly crafted and reading the book is like having a vision of old France. There is a detailed description of the Battle of Waterloo and I can't wait to get to scenes of the Paris revolution.
Apparently Les Miserables part inspired Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, my favorite book of all time. It really is a gripping story balancing personal tragedy and love with wider world-significant events; covering major themes of justice, punishment, love, rebellion, God, poverty, childhood - the list goes on. It really is a fantastic story and here and now is the right time for me to be reading it.