Book Review: Around The World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this for the “Classic Translation” category of the back to the classics challenge that I am doing through 2012.

I think this story is probably fairly well known, and so I won’t go into the details of that, but this is by far my favourite of the classics that I read so far this year.

As I had a kindle version of this book, I had no idea just how long it was going to take me to get through it, have no “real” book to gauge the size etc, and I was very disappointed when I came to the end. It seemed to over far to fast, and is one of the most readable classics that I have ever come across.

The adventure is very fast paced, and well plotted. Given that this book has been dramatised some many times for film and television, I was half-expecting to be disappointed, but I most certainly wasn’t.

A fantastic book.

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Book Review: At The Mountains of Madness by H P Lovecraft

Back To The Classics Challenge Category: Classic Mystery / Horror / Crime Fiction.

At the Mountains of Madness & Other Novels of Terror (Omnibus 1)

At the Mountains of Madness & Other Novels of Terror by H.P. Lovecraft

I read this as the Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction entry for the Back to the Classics Challenge. I’ve had a copy of this for sometime, and have never gotten around to reading it, so this was the perfect excuse.

It’s really interesting to see how writing has changed over time. At the Mountains of Madness contains many long winded descriptive passages that took a little getting used to. Once I gotten used to that, the book really to a hold of me. It’s easy to see why this is considered a horror classic, the ever present malevolence takes hold of the reader and keeps you turning the pages. Not one to be read with the lights-off, particularly the parts that are in the catacombs!

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Back To The Classics Book Challenge 2012: Anton Chekov – The Seagull

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I kicked off this challenge with one of the books that I was most unsure about, I thought I’d get at least one of the ones that I thought I would be least likely to enjoy out of the way first.

This one sits in the Classic Play category, and is a play that I have never seen performed or read before but one that I have heard many people talk about. It’s a complicated tale between multiple characters set on a lakeside in Russia. As a straightforward read, it might be considered a bit dull, but I think seeing it performed would be something quite different. The dialogue is quite glorious, but as a play it lacks the scenery and intereaction between the characters that you would get were it say, a novel. However from the dialogue alone the complexities between the characters and their loves and losses kept me engaged.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars, I liked it.

Back To The Classics Book Challenge 2012

I was surfing twitter and the interwebs earlier this week and came across a new blog:  Sarah Reads Too Much.  She was proposing a challenge to read a number of classics within certain catagories during 2012.

As I wrote the other day, I read a lot of books during 2011 and was looking for something a bit different in 2012 as a challenge.  There are a number of classics, that I want to read, some that I have already, the books sitting on my shelves and have never gotten around to reading, others that I’ll have to get hold of a copy, but again ones that I’ve always wanted to read.

Anyway here are the categories:

  • Any 19th Century Classic
  • Any 20th Century Classic
  • Reread a classic of your choice
  • A Classic Play
  • Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction
  • Classic Romance
  • Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language   – To clarify, if your native language is NOT English, you may read any classic originally written in English that has been translated into your native language. 
  • Classic Award Winner  – To clarify, the book should be a classic which has won any established literary award. 
  • Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime  – To Clarify, this does not have to be a country that you hope to visit either.  Countries that no longer exist or have never existed count.

And here are my provisional choices (I might change some as I think more on this, but these are my gut reactions based on books that I’ve always wanted to read, or have on my shelves and have never gotten around to reading, and are all regarded in one way or another as classics):

  • Any 19th Century Classic:
    • Walden – Henry David Thoreau
  • Any 20th Century Classic
    • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • Reread a classic of your choice
    • The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling or The Hobbit J R R Tolkien
  • A Classic Play
    • The Seagull – Anton Chekhov
  • Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction
    • At The Mountains of Madness – H P Lovecraft
  • Classic Romance
    • Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
  • Classic translation
    • Around the World In Eighty Days – Jules Verne
  • Classic Award Winner
    • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemmingway (Pulitzer 1953) 
  • Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime
    • The Island of Dr Moreau – H G Wells (not sure if this counts as a country that has “never existed”, so might have to rethink this one).
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