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reading tiger

Short Notes, Mostly About Les Mis, or, I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie

1. I found my copy of Les Miserables. For some reason I feel compelled to note here that I am not a fan of the musical and that's not what inspired me to pick up this tome -- I have been meaning to read it for decades, actually, since before the musical became popular. I think I say this partly out of reflexive "I'm not trendy" punk attitudes, but also partly so you all know I am not going to be disappointed that it takes a full novel's worth of words before we even meet any of the more famous characters. And that's before the digressions about the sewer systems and such.

2. In the process of picking an edition to read, I did discover that I am very picky about translations, and that, stuck between a rock and a hard place, I will pick the one that has slightly antique language over a modern version, so that I can blame infelicities on its datedness rather than lack of translator skill. This is akin to the reason I watched Star Wars Episode 2 in Spanish with English captions; I could pretend the captions were subtitles and thus necessarily condensed and slightly awkward, rather than a literal transcription of the words being spoken by the actors. (Also, the Spanish voice actors knew how to emote.)

3. I love that Les Mis can be considered lightly abridged when one leaves "only" 100K words out of it. (I am reading the whole unabridged enchilada.)

4. I conducted, by accident, an interesting psychological experiment this morning at the kids' school. Every Friday morning, we have a social hour ("Coffee Circle") and parents rotate who brings the morning snacks. This week it was my job, so I bought doughnuts from Colonial Donuts, my local spot that just happens to sell the best non-hoity-toidy doughnuts in Oakland. But I figured that some folks don't like doughnuts, so I also picked up some muffins and such from Arizmendi, across the street.

The number of people who verbalized "ooh, I want [something from Box X] but I'm going to have [something from Box Y] was startlingly high. So next time I'm going doughnuts-only and forcing folks to face their desires without flinching. Or something.

(And then I will buy all oat scones from Arizmendi the next rotation, because that was a much bigger hit than the muffins.)

5. "Mom! Did you know that the number 8 looks like a peanut?"