- Portis, Charles — True Grit (215 pages)
- Simpson, Joe — Touching the Void (210 pages)
- Bardin, John Franklin — The Last of Philip Banter (207 pages)
- Millar, Martin — The Good Fairies of New York (278 pages)
- Millar, Mark — Kick-Ass (190 pages)
- Sachar, Louis — Holes (225 pages)
- Baxter, Stephen — Moonseed (523 pages)
- Buchan, John — The Thirty-Nine Steps (152 pages)
- Bukowski, Charles — Post Office (167 pages)
- Palahniuk, Chuck — Fight Club (211 pages)
- Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
- Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
- Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
- Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
- Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)
- Moore, Brian — Catholics (87 pages)
- Chatwin, Bruce — The Songlines (296 pages)
- Funke, Cornelia — Inkheart (555 pages)
- Eddison, E.R. — The Worm Ouroboros (521 pages)
- Milligan, Spike — Puckoon (152 pages)
- Jones, Diana Wynne — Power of Three (293 pages)
- Juster, Norton — The Phantom Tollbooth (264 pages)
- Jeffreys, Daniel — America's Back Porch (286 pages)
- Robinson, Marilynne — Housekeeping (217 pages)
- Stevenson, Robert Louis — Treasure Island (212 pages)
- Bissinger, Buzz — 3 Nights in August (296 pages)
- Rennison, Nick & Ed Wood — 100 Must-Read American Novels (185 pages)
- Cassar, Vincent & Nik Kalinowski — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide: World Fiction (351 pages)
- Williams, Niall — Four Letters of Love (340 pages)
- Maxwell, Virginia & Duncan Garwood — Lonely Planet: Sicily (349 pages)
- Dumas, Alexandre (Robin Buss, transl.) — The Count of Monte Cristo (1117 pages)
Page count: 8950.
I've been meaning to read something by Dumas for years, but whenever the opportunity arises I'm scared off by the sheer size of each of his books. However, I like to read destination-appropriate material when I travel, and the Mad Fisher and I had booked a holiday to Marseille. That sealed the deal, for it seems there aren't that many authors from or books based in Marseille; odd that, it being one of France's biggest cities. The only appropriate books I could find were The Count of Monte Cristo and Marcel Pagnol's The Water of the Hills (the volume of two books on which the movies Manon des Sources and Jean de Florette were based — I also bought this, optimistically thinking I'd finish The Count of Monte Cristo before or during my trip to Marseille and thus read this classic Provençal œuvre in Provence, but now I think I'll save it for my next holiday there).
I carried The Count with me throughout my Sicilian holiday (appropriate as well, since a chunk of the book takes place in Italy) and during my trip to Provence a few weeks later. And I couldn't get enough. I spent my bus and train trips often with my nose in my book rather than gazing at the wonderful vistas around me. You know it must be compelling narrative if it can distract me from such beautiful countryside as is found in Sicilia and Provence!
The only thing I can offer by way of criticism is that I enjoyed the first part of the book best of all, before Edmond Dantes becomes the Count of Monte Cristo (or Sinbad the Sailor, or any of the other alter egos he uses in his pursuit of revenge). Maybe it's because I like Dantes better and wonder how the Count, who can seem so cold and cruel, could be the same man. But then, given what Dantes experienced, the transformation is plausible.
That's not to say I didn't love the entire book. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read through and through.
When we visited Marseille, I told the Mad Fisher there was only one thing I needed to see. Such is the impression the first part of the novel made on me, I wanted to visit the Chateau d'If, the real island prison where the fictional Count was imprisoned for so many years. We did go past it during our boat tour of the Calanques, but the island was closed the first day we were in Marseille and its staff were on strike the other day. Alas.
I would now like to read more Dumas, especially The Three Musketeers, but the consensus seems to be that all the other translations are rubbish. Robin Buss did a great job of writing in a vivid and accessible modern style while remaining faithful to Dumas' French, but unfortunately he died having translated only three other Dumas novels, none of them The Three Musketeers. I will have to wait until someone else produces a decent translation or else become fluent in French myself.
I often comment on video adaptations of the books I've read. In this case, there are too many, and it's been too long since I've seen any of them, to comment. I'm sure they all pale in comparison to the book, though.