Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

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Title: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Premise:

Phileas Fogg, the stoic and predictable Englishman that he is, decides to go on a trip around the world because of a wager.  He bets his whist companions £20,000 that he can make the trip in eighty days.  Fogg’s servant Passepartout accompanies him, as well as a wily detective who believes Fogg to be a notorious bank robber.  They have many adventures and setbacks along the way, even rescuing a damsel in distress, but will they make it back to London in time to win the bet?

My thoughts:

The first Jules Verne book I read was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  I had my own copy lined up on the shelf in my bunk bed and it was my first introduction to science fiction as a kid.  Ever since then, I’ve loved Jules Verne’s fantastical adventure stories.

Though Jules Verne is best known for his science fiction, this book doesn’t exactly fit into that category.  It capitalizes on elements of the industrial age, such as the great strides made in dependable and quick transportation.  It truly was a marvel how quickly one could traverse the globe, compared to what was possible only a short time previously.

The story is fairly simple — a man travels around the world as quickly as possible, encountering several obstacles along the way.  That’s it in a nutshell.  The character development isn’t stellar and there are a TON of place names, but despite those very slight criticisms, I loved the story.  It’s so very readable and I love a good adventure story!

As far as classic literature goes, this book has fairly accessible language.  It’s also a largely action-driven story, so those two considerations make this a good book to start your journey into classic literature.

I recommend Around the World in Eighty Days to fans of early science fiction and those who enjoy classic literature.

Possible Objections:

  • One character gets high in an opium den
  • Native people referred to as “savages” a few times
  • Overtly English-centric attitude throughout

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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National Geographic Guide to the World’s Supernatural Places: More Than 250 Spine-Chilling Destinations Around the Globe by Sarah Bartlett

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My son brought home Supernatural Places from the library.  I put it up on the shelf because I didn’t want my younger kids finding it; some of the illustrations are rather spooky.  It looked quite compelling, so I perused it one evening once the kids had gone to bed.

Premise:

This is a non-fiction reference book, which gives you a short blurb on many different supernatural locations around the world.  It covers everything from haunted houses to ancient ruins, people groups to natural spaces.  One page is devoted to each location, and includes a photo and basic information.  The sections include: Haunted Places, Vampire Haunts, Witchcraft and the Dark Arts, Sacred Places, UFO Hot Spots, and Myths & Legends.

My thoughts:

I found this book utterly fascinating, and definitely spooky!  I’m not into horror, so this is about as macabre as I like to go.  Some of the entries are icky–such as the cannibalistic clan in Scotland during the 17th century.  Most of the entries are not gory, but be warned that there are a few.  The photos are wonderful–I love reference books with good photography!

This book is a great teaser for many interesting places and events throughout history.  It’s good as a jumping off point, if you want to do more research and a fuller study of some of these fascinating places.  It would also make a great coffee table book.

I would recommend this book for older teens to adults because of the mature subject matter.

Possible objections:

  • occult themes
  • sexual themes
  • gory elements
  • general scariness

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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