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.