A few days ago I finished Victor Hugo's "Hunchback of Notre Dame." I'm glad I read it and it definitely was more work than play in a number of chapters. I think, however, that one of the best experiences you can have is seeing a place and getting a sense of its "environment" and then sharing and comparing that experience with other people--which can happen through books. I could appreciate the Hunchback book a lot more than I would have otherwise if Agi and I hadn't been in and toured Notre Dame in Paris back in 2005. It was very satisfying to be able to "see" what Hugo was describing in the book.
The book itself was surprisingly dark. Everyone treated each other terribly except for the young beautiful gypsy girl Esmerelda and the Hunchback Quasimodo who were taken advantage of non-stop. It was a beautiful story nonetheless and reading it was one of those experiences I wanted to have once in my life.
Also: Coldplay. I love their new album "Viva la Vida" and it's been playing a lot here at our flat. They're definitely my favorite band and I think they delivered big-time with their latest album.