Thursday, December 6, 2012

Around the World in Eighty Days

Book: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Published: 1873  

Description: For a bet, Phileas Fogg sets out with his servant Passeportout to achieve an incredible journey - from London to Paris, Brindisi, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York and back to London again, all in just eighty days. There are many alarms and surprises along the way - and a last minute setback that makes all the difference between winning and losing. (from

I very very much enjoyed this classic, for many reasons.

I loved everywhere they visited. Verne portrayed it all as beautiful and wonderful. The brief glimpse of every place Fogg and his party went made me want to read more about all of them (or better yet, visit!). Too bad there's such an element of colonialism and racism in that--these places aren't better because the people are childlike, innocent, or any other odd/stupid notion like that. I'd also say that Verne picked the worst local custom ever in every place and made them live through it.  

Their whole journey through America was hilarious. I loved both the scene with the bison and the scene with the snow-boat. Verne's descriptions of nature in general were beautiful. I think the bison example stuck with me so well because bison are a pretty well known example of humans driving a species almost to extinction. Can you imagine there being so many bison crossing the tracks that the train was stopped for three and a half hours??? 

This book was also very much about slowing down versus doing as much as possible, something I've been struggling with lately, so I really resonated with the book. I enjoyed Fogg's adventures a lot, but his focus on the goal rather than the amazing journey he's on seemed rather silly and closed-minded to me. (Despite doing it all the time!!) But it did make me sit back and want to savour his adventures all the more because Fogg wasn't.

Overall, a book I would highly recommend for a fun read.

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