Books & Reading

In Which My “Commonplace Book” is Renamed “The Les Mis Fan Club”

I had this post entirely written in my head last night, so it counts for yesterday. I cannot stop copying quotes from Les Miserables. And I underline far more than I write (I wish my hands never tired). That’s why I bought the $5 paperback – it is mine, my own, my precious. (Yes, we tend to quote Tolkien here. The gollum voice is popular.)


Missing is the Les Miserables quote on the previous page. And many things I’ve underlined in the next few several eighty pages, of which I’ll write some in my commonplace later today. I just wanted to devour this book, but I admit I’m worried about the ending (don’t tell me – I want the suspense). However, just the fact that I want to devour a book, originally in another language, written 150 years ago, that is a 1500 page classic proves how much my reading tastes have changed (and abilities grown).

Before that I was using, or failing to use, my ereader. I’ve known for a long time that an ereader is not ideal for any type of reference book – meaning anything you want to flip back and forth in. They also aren’t great for “read 1/2 of the chapter” type assignments. My most recent discovery is they aren’t great for great books. Meaning books that I (a) want to underline things or write in the margins* or (b) may need to flip to a different page, for anything from finding a name or date to looking at an illustration. It also seems more natural and easier, to me, to copy quotes from a real book.

*Yes, my ereader has the ability to underline and make notes. But it takes ten times longer, and I’ve had many electronic devices – I don’t trust them. Besides,how are you going to review your notes or flip quickly through to reread the underlined sections one page (or part of a page) at a time?


This book is deep, very deep. It sparks ideas and questions. I think it is the most living book I have ever read. We are memorizing 1 Corinthians 13, and this book just screams the problem: so many of them ‘have not love’. I admit when I first realized the WHOLE book was scheduled in AO’s year 10, I rebelled (not book one in term one, which is what I had assumed before seeing the year’s schedule). How could any one book be worthy of that much time? Well, I’ve read 200 of the 1500 pages. It is worthy, and it is very relevant.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Being good is not enough. Devotion is not enough. Sacrifice is not enough. There must be love.

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4 thoughts on “In Which My “Commonplace Book” is Renamed “The Les Mis Fan Club”

  1. Oh, I loved Les Mis! It took me almost two years, alternating reading and listening to get through it, but so rich! I like how you are marking it up and making it yours, and I think I will buy another paperback when my daughter gets to Year 10 and read it again along with her. 🙂

  2. That’s kind of what my commonplace looks like now as well! I love this book and I can’t believe I’ve never read it before….wht did I do in school!? I’m pretty sure this is going to be my favorite book ever, and I’m only in the beginning of the book. 🙂

  3. It absolutely counts for yesterday; I am so glad you posted. I’ve never read Les Mis, I’m glad its in year 10, but intimidated too.

    I like the quotes you chose, we watched a movie the other night where a line was “you’re either human or kill humans.” Goes right along with it.

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