The Full Monte Read-Along

I would have posted this much sooner, but I was struggling to find a good name for my momentous fifth summer read-along, in which we will tackle Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.

Count Along? Count Me In? No. Sometimes you must wait for the muse to show up.

The title is relevant too, because there are abridged versions out there. Do not be fooled. We are going FULL MONTE, people.

Image result for the full monty gifs

Large and in charge

I wasn’t certain about this book at first. Didn’t we just read-along a book in which Napoleon is a character? And haven’t we covered wrongful imprisonment before? Thwarted engagements? Monomania and revenge?

But people get excited about The Count. Many cite it as an all-time favourite. Also, there is a much-beloved movie adaptation from 2002 that I somehow completely missed. I do love a billowing cape:

Image result for count of monte cristo gifs

Just needs a twirl and a swirl

The Count of Monte Cristo is made up of 117 chapters of roughly equal size (yep, it was originally serialized), which I’ve divided over six weeks. That works out to about 150-200 pages per week. The schedule below is more about when I’ll post, you should read at whatever speed makes sense to you.

  • July 2: Start reading!
  • July 9: Chapters 1-20
  • July 16: Chapters 21-40
  • July 23: Chapters 41-60
  • July 30: Chapters 61-80
  • August 6: Chapters 81-100
  • August 13: Chapter 101-fin

Choosing an edition
People tend not to get very worked up about French to English translation, as opposed to, say, Russian to English. But it’s still important to consider which edition you are going to read.

  • There seems to be a pretty good consensus on Robin Buss’s 1996 translation, which you can find in the Penguin Classics edition. It’s thought to be more modern and accessible, and contains good explanatory notes. It also comes in a clothbound edition.
  • I rushed out and bought the Oxford World’s Classics edition before doing my research. It is based on the anonymous translation that has been widely published since 1840s. This 2008 edition has been somewhat modernized.
  • Beware the Project Gutenburg editions, though, I hear some are 19th century editions that took it upon themselves to remove references to homosexuality. Rude!

So, I’ve now purchased the ebook version of the Penguin Classics, and will give both the Buss and the anonymous translation a go.

As noted above, do make sure you get an unabridged version. I hear that some abridged versions still weigh in at close to a thousand pages (what is the point??) but I think most unabridged versions will be over a thousand.

the black tulipOptional BONUS round: The Black Tulip
I was inspired to choose The Count partly because the summer 2018 edition of The Happy Reader is dedicated to a Dumas book, a slim volume called The Black Tulip. It’s got a gorgeous cover and it’s about Tulip Mania, a subject I know little about. I’ve been subscribed to The Happy Reader for a couple years now, and it is my favourite literary magazine. It takes one classic book and asks writers and artists to interpret it in many different forms – no straight up reviews. The issue is out now so I’m going to attempt to read The Black Tulip before the start of the read-along proper. Think of it as a warm up. If you want to join me, I’m going to officially start on summer solstice.

Because why read 1,100 pages of Dumas this summer when you can read 1,350?

Obviously you’ll all want to join me because this is going to be fun. But in case you need more incentive, I’ll choose a random read-alonger to receive a Litographs tshirt, which contains 40,000 words of the text, OR, a subscription to The Happy Reader. You choose. To win, you have to comment on this post, you have to participate a little bit, (comment, tweet with #thefullmonte, etc) and you really should finish the book.


Comment below if you’re ready to wreak some revenge this summer!



  1. Dawn W

    I’m in! I’ve been meaning to read this book forever. I love the movie which usually means everyone else thinks it’s terrible.

  2. Emma

    I still haven’t finished War and Peace yet – and yes, I’m annoyed at myself for not finishing that final 200ish pages because of a holiday of all things – but I’m wholeheartedly signing up for this one. Was it the fun name that won me over? Maybe. 😛

  3. Rick @

    I’m not sure how much “discussion” is going to come out of this book, but I think it’s going to be a super fun read. I MAY opt to post every two weeks instead of every week. We’ll see. I hope that’s cool. (The posts would be long though, it’s not me being lazy haha.)

    • lauratfrey

      As always, I don’t have strict rules for read-alongs, so you do you 🙂 I’m not sure how my posts are going to be. I’m feeling a bit of blog burnout and this will either help, or, make it much worse. Not worried about the actual reading though.

  4. annelogan17

    Ok so I definitely won’t be reading this book, but i will be reading your blog posts about it because i love your writing, it’s very funny. And your gif selection is top notch.

  5. Naomi

    I read this maybe about 10 years ago, so I could probably do a re-read, but instead I think I’ll just follow along… I’m sure it’ll all come flooding back! Have fun!

  6. BookerTalk

    I don’t think I have the stamina for 1,000 pages right now – somehow I seem to be slipping well behind on the amount I read. So I shall just admire your commitment from afar

  7. Karen

    I have just bought a copy and I am ready to give it a go! Hopefully I will be more successful than I was with War and Peace. I purchased the Modern Library version because, the cover was bendy. Large books need bendable covers.

  8. Kristilyn

    I’m in! Though I’m not sure if I can stick to the pages per week since I always have other books on the go, but I think I’m already 200 pages in. lol. I’m too lazy to go up and find my copy, but this is the version I have: – I’ve got no idea who translated it though. The synopsis talks about an exciting new translation but never mentions the translator. I did have this book years ago and wanted to read it since I recall my cousin saying it was her favourite and I dove in one day only to realize I was reading the abridged version. Abridged! So I bought my new version. It’s a beast.

    • lauratfrey

      Hmmm looks like it’s the old, anonymous translations, but “revised” recently by Peter Washington. Interesting! You’ll have to let us know how easy it is to read.

  9. bookjournaler

    I’m in. This book has been on my TBR for ages and I’m looking forward to joining in with the readalong and discussions. I have the Penguin classics edition.

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  16. karalmiddleton

    I just found out about this today in a Book tube video. I’ve started reading and hope to catch up this weekend. Where does discussion take place?

    • Amy Yuki Vickers

      It’s my understanding that it takes place on this blog (unless there is another discussion somewhere that I don’t know about). If you go to the entry posted on July 9th, you’ll see a post and discussion for the first 20 chapters.

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  19. themisanthropologist

    Would have been fun to join this, if I hadn’t read the novel already. Count me in among those who consider the novel one of their all-time favorites. The edition I read was this thick paperback ( not much help, I know – sorry, I can’t remember the publisher) and an e-book for my kindle, I got from project Gutenberg, because really, you can’t read the physical copy of that book in bed, lest you want to wind up with a big bump on your forehead if you happen to accidentally drop it on yourself! It took me about a month to finish this novel, that that included some sleepless nights because I couldn’t stop reading it. Word of advise, don’t watch the movie…it sucked big time! A very loose adaptation, if you ask me, though James Caviezel was not bad to look at 🙂

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