I've had the Germinal for the last two years. Thanks to the dauntingly large size of the book and extremely descriptive first few pages I could never make it past the first chapter.
The barrier was crossed suddenly, and now I find myself on the 150th page and that's when I stopped to take a moment celebrate the fact that now it's highly likely I'll finish it! It's a wonderful book, about coal mine workers. It's a very graphic portrayal of poverty, inequality, injustice and hypocrisy; I'm loving it.
And I just finished the Razor's edge. A typical Sommerset Maugham. He has this knack of inserting acute observations of human conditions otherwise irrelevant to the plot, for example (thanks to Karthik I have one from my all time favorite, Of Human Bondage:
Like most people who cultivate an interest in the arts, Hayward was extremely anxious to be right.