30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1

Most of you who use Facebook have probably heard about the 30 Day Song Challenge and know about yours friends’ favourite tunes and and weirdest artists. Although I haven’t done the song challenge, I thought I’d switch it up a bit and create the 30 Day Book Challenge. I’ll post one book each week in this series using the Song Challenge prompts as a guide. Some will be hard to convert though (How do you answer ‘A song that you can play on an instrument’ with a book?).

Some, I will change and I hope you follow along, are inspired by some good reads and post your book challenges in the comments, on Facebook/Twitter or in your own blogs! (I promise all of my 30 books won’t be as weighty as the one below).

Day 1 – Your Favourite Book

Les Miserables by Victor HugoLes Misérables by Victor Hugo

Yes, it’s long. Yes, it’s heavy. Yes, the descriptions of the Bishop and the Battle of Waterloo run on for more pages than seemingly necessary. Is it beautiful? Yes. Is it well-written? Yes. Does it make you laugh, cry, cheer and rage all at the same time? Yes. Do you eventually empathise with the antagonist and gain a better understanding of how undefined life is? Yes.

I read Les Misérables for the first time when I was 12 or 13 on the encouragement of my mother who had been illuminating my world with great writers and literature. I couldn’t get enough. This book changed my life and it’s one of the most dog-earred and searched through tomes in my library.

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo

There’s a stage adaptation, numerous film versions and of course the abridged novel if you even want to go there… but the heart of the work is in Hugo’s original unabridged version, first published in 1862. (I wish I could read in French!)

Mistakenly, a lot of people think the novel centres around the French Revolution. If you want a great book about that, read Hugo’s other great work (among many), Ninety-Three. No, Les Misérables focuses on the early nineteenth century and the June Rebellion, a student uprising.

What appealed to me about this book when I was 13 was its optimism. (I loved this book so much, I even have a bust of Hugo in my bedroom. No joke!). Although the students, women and the poor are downtrodden and used and the main character is convicted for stealing a loaf of bread, there is an air of blatant optimism and belief in moral standards and consideration of other people (without being condescending). Hugo uses the book to question religion, social injustice, inequality, love and compassion.

This isn’t a summer read. It’s not a travel read. It’s not even a cozy, ‘sitting by the fire in Autumn’ type of book. This is the book you read when you can: anytime, anywhere. It’s the kind that will grab hold of you and force you to analyse your own life and the lives around you.

“Citizens, in the future there shall be neither darkness nor thunderbolts, neither ferocious ignorance nor blood for blood…In the future no man will slay his fellow, the earth will be radiant, the human race will love. It will come, citizens, that day when all shall be concord, harmony, light, joy, and life.”

3 Responses to “30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1”
  1. danholloway says:

    Looking forward to following this, and tweeting mine – thoroughly enjoyed the Song Challenge

  2. cool idea. My favourite bit of this post is definitely the ‘bust’ revelation!

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  1. […] you missed the start of the 30 Day Book Challenge, here’s Day 1. Since writing that blog, I’ve found a few other versions of the Book Challenge (so I’m […]

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