Book 59 – Around the World in Eighty Days

Book – Around the World in Eighty Days
Author – Jules Verne
Year – 1873
Genre – Classic Adventure
Pages – 161

When people heard that I was reading the Jules Verne classic Around the World in Eighty Days I tended to hear repeated to me a little fact about the book – one which if I am honest, I didn’t know at all at the time – which I suppose constitutes a little spoiler.  There is no instance throughout the book in which our protagonist, Mr Phileas Fogg, actually uses a hot air balloon.  The balloon depicted on the cover is the main conveyance in Verne’s earlier book – which is also included in the volume I read – Five Weeks in a Balloon.  It is tidbits like this that make me realise that I need to read more classic books.

The story behind the book is pretty well known, at least in concept.  On a wager, the enigmatic Fogg attempts to travel around the world in only eighty days.  This book follows his attempts to do so.

The question of whether I enjoyed reading it or not is a much trickier one.  For the first fifty pages or so, I was loving it.  There are certain books of the era that this was written – King Solomon’s Mines being the other that springs to mind – which have an exciting pace that is very similar to a lot of books that are written today.  This has that feel to it.  However, for whatever reason, I became really really bored with the book.  I don’t know why, and would love to pinpoint it to some literary reason, but unfortunately can’t.  I just got a bit bored.  This could be the book’s fault, or it could be mine, but however it goes, it is not a great sign.  I actually left it for about a month and a half, but came back in the end, and whilst I am glad I did, because it isn’t actually a bad book, I can’t shake the fact that my interest dwindled so much at one point.

As a sub note, it is something that I really dislike in books of this era, that each chapter starts with a line which tells you what is going to happen in the chapter.  I really don’t understand why they do it, as whilst it isn’t the most spoilerish thing in the world, it certainly doesn’t help at all.  I end up trying my very best to skip my eyes over the start of each chapter, and that is a silly way to read a book.  So this is my shout out to any nineteenth century authors currently reading this – stop it with the chapter summaries.  They are rubbish.


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