August Reading: The Three Musketeers

The title of this book makes me laugh. The “three musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, but the story is actually about d’Artagnan, how he befriends these three and they all become inseparable. Apparently it’s part of a series too.

Reading The Three Musketeers solidified how much I like Alexandre Dumas as an author. After starting with The Count of Monte Cristo, my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. The characters are larger than life, yet they fit right into seventeenth century France. They’re poor soldiers, yet living the life. Adventure seeks out these fellows constantly, due mainly to the irrepressible pride of our hero, d’Artagnan. You’ll  chide him through each predicament he falls into, the whole while loving him for that brash surety.

Unethical behavior seems to be the expected norm, as the romantic relationships of our companions are all extra-marital. The illicit behavior is not explicit, but could still be problematic for some readers.

My take: a fun read.

June Reading: The Count Of Monte Cristo

I loved this book.

I came into The Count of Monte Cristo anticipating each scene and envisioning it happening like the film. This was impossible to sustain. You quickly realize that characters were been merged, minimized and misrepresented in the movie, and the people are so much more than you first thought. And the sovereignty of God is everywhere! Often explicitly stated, other times assumed, God is clearly the king of our lives.

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living.”

The emotional journey was heart-wrenching. I began loving unexpected characters, while pitying those I wanted to hate and hating some I wanted to love. Then my feelings changed again! Sin, suffering, revenge and reconciliation are all part of the plot, but the true theme is captured in the book’s final sentence:

“Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words, — `Wait and hope.'”