Me and My Good Friend Victor Hugo

Got bored with some of my old books laying aro...
Got bored with some of my old books laying around the house. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After many years of being very anti-eReaders, steadfast in the belief that they would singlehandedly promote the terrible writing of online fanfiction novels and eradicate brick and mortar bookstores completely, I caved and bought a Nook. I was tired of lugging books around whenever I wanted something to read, and I had a feeling I would actually read more if I had a lightweight and simple eReader nearby.

Boy, was I right.

My Nook gave me the perfect excuse to read books that were a bit on the heftier side… definitely ones that wouldn’t be fun to carry around. After finishing The Fountainhead, I decided to read a book that had been on my list for years: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

I could write plenty on what I think of Les Miserables so far and how beautifully the story is written. Instead, I wanted to share a wonderful quote that I found while reading today:

“For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life. There is a determined though unseen bravery, which defends itself foot to foot in the darkness against the fatal invasions of need and degradation. Noble and mysterious triumphs which no eye sees, which no renown rewards, which no flourish of triumph salutes. Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than illustrious heroes.”

Reading this quote helped me have an attitude adjustment of sorts today. We live in a world that seeks instant gratification (and if you are on social media networks, you want instant gratification in the form of fifty “likes” or twenty re-tweets), and we do many things in our personal lives and in our professional lives simply because we know others will recognize them. But it is the personal struggles that we all go through – the small victories that we do not share because we worry that they may seem trivial to others – that shape our lives the most.

One of the many reasons that I love reading novels, especially the classics, is because you can still find passages that resonate with you and help you re-think the way you live, regardless of whether the novel was written one hundred fifty years or two weeks ago.

Think of the struggles that your co-workers may not know that you’ve overcome. Think of the hardships that you’ve faced that may seem small to others but were gargantuan to you. Celebrate them, guard them and remember them. Be your own obscure hero.

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