Peripatetic, itinerant, eclectic musings about books, politics, history, language, culture, and anything else that interests me.
For this reader, it’s Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
The one book (besides the Bible) that I can and have read over and over is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I read it for the first time when I was about 14.
You might wonder how I came to read it for the first time… it isn’t exactly something you hear American teenagers raving about.
At the time, I was taking piano lessons in a quaint little backwoods town. Right down the street from my piano teacher’s house was one of the most fascinating libraries I have ever been in. It was located inside an old house and most of the books were antiques. When you wanted to check out a book, all you did was sign your name in a spiral bound notebook and write your phone number.
One summer afternoon as I explored the wonderfully spicy aged smelling stacks, I stumbled across a copy of Les Miserable divided into five hardbound volumes that looked old enough to be the very first English translation.
I started reading on the way home and as our [car?] sped down the winding mountain roads, I fell in love with the story of the man named Jean Valjean.
Obviously, one can also learn to write beautifully from beautifully written books, as well.