Last Wednesday I got this early morning text from Kimberly:
This is part of what I love about reading books in community.
I have to admit, before I chose Around the world in 80 days by Jules Verne I had a faint name recognition for the book; but I’d never read it, had no idea when in time in took place, and had no idea there were movies and poetry books related to it.
But then Kimberly says a poetry book is tied into the title and her text was like a shot of happy juice in my arm. Like a book addict in search of a book hit, I hunted down Around the World in 80 Poems (compiled by
If you will be in the US or Canada this summer (or know someone who can mail you books cheap), this one is worth getting and it looks like you can get it for less then three dollars without shipping. I was mildly disappointed the poems were not arranged according to the trip. But on the very good upshot, there are poems from all over the world—including Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa. The illustrations are engaging and reading from poem-to-poem, the reader gets a sense of cultural differences in poetry. Fun for younger kids and I think it would be a good resource for high schoolers needed to analyze poetry.
I absolutely loved the chapter titles in this half of the book! I got to wondering what a story a person would make up if they were just given the titles.
In which Passepartout finds out that, even at the antipodes, it is convenient to have some money in one’s pocket.
In which Passepartout undergoes, at a speed of twenty miles an hour, a course of Mormon history.
In which certain incidents are narrated which are only to be met with on American Railroads.
In which Phileas Fogg engages in a direct struggle with bad fortune.
In which it is shown that Phileas Fogg gained nothing by his tour around the world, unless it were happiness.
I love them!
One of my friends has trained me to ask in a work of fiction: “Who is the Christ figure?” At the beginning of this half of the book I was going back and forth between Passepartout and Phileas Fogg, but I landed on Fogg because of his willingness to consistently pay for others with no expectation of them paying him back. In particular, when Passepartout was separated from the group due to Detective Fix tricking him and Mr. Fogg paid for Detective Fix.
“Fix, seated in the bow, gave himself up to meditation. He kept apart from his fellow-travelers, knowing Mr. Fogg’s taciturn tastes; besides, he did not quite like to talk to the man whose favors he had accepted.” Later in that same chapter, Fix was described as having a “stifled feeling.” How descriptive of a soul who is being wooed by the Holy Spirit, but isn’t yet ready to surrender.
Passepartout endeared me even more when he was willing to do whatever it took (in his case, be a clown), to be reunited with his master, Mr. Fogg. When they were, he was delighted when his watch matched the ship’s clock saying, “I was sure that the sun would some day emulate itself by my watch!”
I was intrigued by the change in Detective Fix from adversary to advocate once they were out of British territory and the arrest warrant no longer being applicable. Have you experienced (either personally or watched someone) make this kind of transformation?
Given the political climate in the US now, I had to chuckle when the party landed in the middle of a political meeting. So much has changed. So little has changed.
I don’t know much about the history of the railroad in the US, so I hadn’t realized that during the American Civil War there was discussion in congress as to whether or not the line should be in the South or where is ended up being. I could picture the train as I read about the different cars. “It was supplied with saloon cars, balcony cars, restaurants, and smoking-cars; theatre cars alone were wanting, and they will have those some day. Book and news dealers, sellers of edibles, drinkables, and cigars, who seemed to have plenty of customers, were continually circulating the aisles.”
Other then the amount of smoke, I think I’d enjoy riding this train. Twice I laughed at the description of Americans:
“It may be taken for granted that, rash as the Americans usually are, when they are prudent there is good reason for it.”
“Passepartout was astounded, and, though ready to attempt anything to get over Medicine Creek, thought experiment proposed a little too American.”
I’m from Denver, so when he mentioned the 50,000 inhabitants, I know it is true for that time period, but it is very hard for me to imagine it!
I knew when they finally arrived in England that Fix would arrest Fogg (ah, definitely the Christ figure), but I was still hoping! And as we drew to the end, I also figured Passepartout and his watch would factor in. I loved the last line of the book.
I’m so thankful to have read this! Thank you for reading with me. How are the family read-alouds going? What stood out to you as you read? What would you like to comment on?
Until the comments,
P.S. Next week we’ll discuss the first half of Right Ho, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse . . . free on Kindle. I haven’t started it yet and heard it’s quite funny. I can’t wait!
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