So it’s my turn to lead a Classics Bookclub discussion and I can’t remember the last time I felt so intimidated! All coherent thoughts and FLOWN right out of my head, faster than the speed of light, and I’m afraid all you will be left with is perfect dribble.
This month we read (at my suggestion, mind you) Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. I had only read one other book by Verne before (The Mysterious Island) and loved it so I expected to also love Around the World. However, I honestly had a hard time getting into this one. I’m not sure if I just had too much going on in life (and/or had the looming pressure of “leading the discussion”) but for whatever reason, the story just really didn’t grab me.
This is a good, clean adventure story of Englishman Phileas Fogg who takes a trip around the world in 80 days on a “dare” of sorts. His cronies, if they can be called that, bet Fogg 4,000 pounds that he cannot travel the globe in this short amount of time and he bets them 20,000 pounds that he can. On the same day of his bet, he hired a new man servant by the name of Passepartout who is then forced to accompany Mr. Fogg on his incredible adventures. Of course he meets with danger, hardships and false accusations – all which delay his journeys in one way or another. The big question is, of course, whether or not he will succeed in his endeavors and make it back to his London club at the appointed time to win his wager. Is he successful? Well, guess.
I think the thing that struck me the most about this book was Phileas Fogg’s determination to see the challenge through, no matter what the cost. His apparent outward calm in light of the various dangers and pitfalls that befell him is rather curious. Even though his plans were (more frequently than not) disrupted, he remained stoically peaceful. His traveling companions were more peturbed by delays in the plans than he was. He never let his feathers become visibly ruffled. This is an amazing feat and one that I could never pull off and am not sure if I would want to. My emotions are worn on my sleeve and it is only by exerting GREAT (and I mean GREAT!!!) amounts of discipline that I might be able to present a poker face. For two seconds and two seconds only. To maintain a perfect sense of calm for 80 days, I assure you, is utterly beyond me. Therefore I found the character of Phileas Fogg to be the most intriguing and curious.
I’ll be talking with some members of our team (and a special guest) later this week about this book. Come back this weekend to hear our podcast discussion!
So what about you? Did you walk away with any strong opinions about the book itself or any particular character? Now is your chance to tell us about it! Link up below and we’ll be visiting around to see what you thought of Around the World in Eighty Days.
Join us on May 5th as we read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Next week (April 13, our Children’s Classics Bookclub invites you to link up your favorite children’s classic dog story.
Carrie comes by her book and holiday obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.
Ms Ulat Buku says
Hmmm… I’ll try and join for the next one for The Great Gatsby. 🙂
I started the book and got to about chapter 3, but life got in the way and we have started working feverishly on our house to get it ready to sell. I have my “real life” book club in a couple of weeks so have switched to that, and I do plan to finish “Around the World…” soon. I’m bummed I won’t be able to participate in the carnival this month though.
I did read Gatsby recently so will be sure to weigh in on that one in May.
Okay…Hood was for “I Read It”…the auto fill-in let me down on this one!
I listened to Jim Dale (of Harry Potter fame) narrate this book recently and loved it. Looking forward to the podcast! I will be sorely disappointed, though, if modern/progressive views of other cultures and a less than objective, factual view of the British Empire/colonialism play into the discussion more than an obligatory mention. Stick to Verne’s story and Fogg’s embodiment of being a gentlemen and I’ll be happy.
This was fun – thanks for the opportunity to read the book.
Rebecca Reid says
I think it was a good book, but not great. I thought Phileas Fogg was completely one-dimensional. Your right that he was completely unflappable, but to me it came across as unrealistic. I just couldn’t believe it was real.
Many people mention liking it as a kid. Maybe it’s a kid’s adventure story.
Hey I didn’t realize this was this month’s book; I’ll come back and post my link when I get it up.