(No Spoiler Alerts! This is more about the experience.)
It is finished! I started reading The Count of Monte Cristo (aka CMC) on July 6th and finished it 19 days later, on July 24th. My goal was to read 100 pages a day to finish it in two weeks, so I wasn't too far off. What's an extra 4-5 days for a book the size of four or five books? It is definitely faster than I read Les Mis, by about two weeks! I really enjoyed the story. From the very beginning you follow Edmond Dantes on an unbelievable journey that begins with false imprisonment and ends with the most elaborate revenge scheme known to man. This book captivates and reads as easily as people say.
The first thing I liked about CMC is that the action picks up right away. The very first chapter finds one character already opposing another, with chapters two and three immediately adding to the mounting character opposition. If doorstop size classics scare you, this one should be an exception. Unlike Dickens's works or even Les Miserables (which I loved and wrote about here by the way), CMC overdoes neither description nor background information. You are given what is needed to imagine the scene and follow the action, of which there is plenty. (I recall maybe two or three side stories that end up being stories within the main story, but they relate directly to the overall story as well.)
Another seeming obstacle with classics is the language. Of course, this often depends on the translation you read - all translations are not created equal and, unfortunately, I know little about French to English translators. I read half of CMC from my paperback copy, which is from The Modern Library Classics (specific translator not given). However, because of the physical size of the book, it was hard to always read when I usually would - like when snacking at night or laying down before bed. So, half of the time I read from a free copy I found on my iPad's iBooks app. The iBook edition has a generic cover and no publishing information is given at all. I did a comparison beforehand and found that although a few chapters had different titles and parts of the two texts translated into more or less detail than the other here and there, the meaning aligned. What can I say though, in both versions the book was smoothly read and easily understood. Within the first 10-12 chapters (approximately 130 pages), the story has already unfolded and you can only wonder what the next 1,300 pages might bring!
If you've been meaning to read this, keep it on your radar. It is a great, easy to read classic! Which classics and/or "big books" have you been reading lately?