The Count of Monte Cristo and I began our journey together on January 4, 2016. By the end of the month, I was 48% through. February hit me like a whirlwind and I hardly touched any books and I began March at 63%. On March 30, I turned the final page and shut the cover.
To a happy man, a prayer is a monotonous composition, void of meaning, until the day when suffering deciphers the sublime language through which the poor victim addresses God.
pg 132, Robin Buss translation
During the course of the journey, I made comments on Goodreads like “Oh boy. I made it to Chateau d’If. So far I am surviving my fear of this book.” “Oh, Faria! ::sob::” “In other news, this book isn’t so bad.” “99 pages to go. It is so hard to put down my book.”
What’s wrong is that this human being who is about to die is furious because his fellow creature is not dying with him and, if he were allowed to do so, he would tear him apart with his nails and his teeth rather than leave him to enjoy the life of which he himself is about to be deprived.
pg 393, Robin Buss translation
When I began, I was afraid. Would it be hard to follow? Were there going to be graphically unpleasant scenes? Would it drag? There’s so many pages. Was I up to this?
On the whole, they have one great shortcoming, which is that they have not yet had time to become old masters.
pg 535, Robin Buss translation
Is this one of my favorites? Hmm, perhaps not. Did I find value in it? Definitely. Will I read it again? One day.
‘So he must have spoken?’
‘He did better than that: he made himself understood.’
pg 669, Robin Buss translation
I led a discussion in my in-person book club about The Count of Monte Cristo. A few of us read the unabridged version, a few read the abridged, a few watched a movie version, and some had no exposure to it. I knew leading this discussion would be tricky because of that so I prepared questions like:
- Is it revenge if you let someone hang by their own rope?
- Did the Count stop when he did because of the death of an innocent or because everything was in motion and nearly finished?
- Why did the Count test Morrell instead of telling him Valentine was alive?
- Should the Count and Mercedes tried to rekindle their love?
These questions all led to application in our lives and everyone was able to participate.
I devoted three years of my life to reading and re-reading one hundred and fifty volumes, so that when I was arrested I knew them more or less by heart.
pg 156, Robin Buss translation
Our discussion ended with this quote and the merits of re-reading. Many people don’t see the value in re-reading and I think that could be due to the quality of literature they are consuming. They are all about reading all the things rather than reading the best things. Others re-read a few favorites. Some re-read for the same reason they read: to learn.
C.S. Lewis said that you shouldn’t read a new book until you have read an old one in between. Abbe Faria (Count of Monte Cristo), Helene Hanff (84, Charing Cross Rd), and the San Ireneo community (The Awakening of Miss Prim) are all very inspiring and make a good case for re-reading. I’m not at 50/50 but I am aiming for a 75/25 this year. My reading used to have 4-8 books in play at any moment. I loved it! Now I am more like 4-5 books at a time (audio, religious, non-fiction, fiction). I love it this way too.
There are two ways of seeing: with the body and with the soul. The body’s sight can sometimes forget, but the soul remembers for ever.
pg 850, Robin Buss translation
On a long drive with Jared, Kaelyn, and my mother, I was tasked with talking. The topic Jared came up with was the last book I read which was, at the time, this book. My mom said she hadn’t read it before and didn’t really know the story. I summed it up for her. It only took 1 1/2 hours!
The friends whom we have lost do not rest in the earth, they are buried in our hearts, and that is how God wanted it, so that we should always be in their company.
pg 1187, Robin Buss translation
My thoughts of The Count of Monte Cristo haven’t ended. I find connections. I feel bits stick to my soul. I look at the book with a bit of fondness. I read that. I understood that. I learned from that.
Tell the angel who will watch over your life, Morrel, to pray sometimes for a man who, like Satan, momentarily thought himself the equal of God and who, with all the humility of a Christian, came to realize that in God’s hands alone reside supreme power and infinite wisdom.
pg 1242, Robin Buss translation
Until the day when God deigns to unveil the future to mankind, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: ‘wait’ and ‘hope’!
pg 1243, Robin Buss translation