It’s Oscar Day (doesn’t quite sound right, does it?)

It’s Oscar day which if I were in the States I would care about a lot more than I do from Australia.   For starters, I’m at work, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to watching a 3 hour awards show or even the 2 hours of red carpet interviews leading up to.  We have a TV at work, but watching it all morning is generally frowned upon. 

The Oscars were much more fun in the US on a Sunday night with popcorn, drinks, or some other form of amusement while the show drags on.  Acceptance Speech drinking games anyone?  It’s much more fun to talk about celebrity gowns in pajama pants as you finish dinner than having to watch it on the internet later on.   I’d love to throw an Oscars party here, but sadly there’s not much point, the internet, TV and radio pretty much make it pointless to record the show and watch it later.   Even if you do manage to go a full day without finding out who’s won, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll overhear someone on the bus ride home that makes all of the avoidance during the day a waste of time and energy.  The one time, I’m jealous of all of my unemployed and stay at home mom friends!

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited, I’ve seen a record (for me!) number of nominated movies (5, I think) so I actually have some opinion on who should win…. I think it’s a travesty that Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t nominated for Django Unchained, he was hilarious in it! Out of the Best Picture Nominees, there are only two that I haven’t seen that I actually want to see—Zero Dark Thirty and Les Mis……oh Les Mis.  Stupid, horrible, miserable Les Mis.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the movie is fantastic, I’m sure it’s well acted, well sung, well directed and totally worthy of all the praise it’s gotten.  I saw the musical in London years ago and it was amazing.   However, my current feelings on Les Mis is that I loathe it.  Why?? 

Because I’m locked in an epic struggle with Victor Hugo at the moment, a bitter battle with him and his book.  I’m hating  every second of it but I won’t let myself quit.  See, back in December, I had a hair-brained idea that in order to be a better, more erudite, cultured person, I would read the book, Les Miserables, before I would let myself see the movie.  What a stupid idea that turned out to be.

There’s a reason why you don’t encounter many people reading Les Miserables or tucking the movie tie-in version into their back pocket.  The book is over 1600 pages long and written in mid 19th century in France (I’m reading it in English) and is, without a doubt, one of the worst books I’ve ever read.  I’m sorry all you fans of Epic 19th century French literature, but seriously, I’m 79% of the way through the book (according to my kindle) and since I was 4% in I’ve wanted to throw the stupid thing out of the window.  Victor Hugo rambles on, digresses for 70-80 pages at a time, and has loads of references to 19th century France that are a bit archaic now…  Plus, it’s not that interesting of a book, he’s too busy digressing about the Battle of Waterloo to move the story along.  I’m sure in 19th century France, people had nothing better to do than to read about blades of grass on a battlefield, but in 2013, we’ve progressed a bit.  Maybe it’s a sign of the dumbing down of human kind and shorter attention spans, and the end of Western Civilization, or maybe it’s just a book that works better as a musical or a movie.  Whatever it is, it’s now a test of wills, and the challenge of maybe not a lifetime but certainly of 2013.

Let me just say, I love to read, I devour books—mostly without pictures, and I enjoy reading.    I like reading proper, smart books, Booker Prize Winners, thinking books, books that you read in school, not just mindless chick lit or Mills&Boon novels.  I’ve actually never read a Mills & Boon novel, but I don’t imagine there’s a lot too them.  A couple of years ago, I set myself a challenge to read 20 books in one year, and I did it and then some…..I think like 23 or 24, but who’s counting.  No, I’m not an English Professor or a Literature aficionado but I am literate and I enjoy books.  Except for this one.   It’s miserable.. and it’s making me miserable reading it.   I really don’t think Victor Hugo had an editor when he wrote it, because any good editor would have suggested cutting out about 1000 pages that don’t progress the story at all. 

My goal was originally to read it, finish it and watch it before, well today.  I’ve clearly missed the deadline.  Now, I’m just hoping to finish it by the end of the month and really to persevere to finish it at all.  There are so many better books out there that I’m dying to read and I also really want to see the movie.  As much as I want it to win some awards today, secretly, I hope it doesn’t…  not because I don’t want it to be good, but I don’t want to hate the book any more than I already do for making me miss out on seeing the movie!  By my calculation, I have about 400 pages left in the book.  Wish me luck (and please don’t tell me how good the movie is!)


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