Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne

I wish that after reading "The Hardy Boys" in my youth, someone would have introduced me to Jules Verne.  As a kid in the 90's, I was introduced to Jules Verne from "Doc" in "Back to the Future III" who said he grew up reading stories about Jules Verne.  He met a woman in the wild west who also really liked the author and he fell in love with this woman.  Anyway, the point of all this is... I should have listened to 'Doc' and investigated Jules Verne when I was a youth.  I wonder how much my perspective would have changed reading this work during that time in my life.

"A Journey to the Centre of the Earth" was a great story filled with adventure and a lot of science - some made up, but much of it rooted in the truth.  I learned a lot as an adult and came out with tons of words I had never heard of and the feeling like I had just been through a great, admittedly far-fetched, adventure.  Had I read this as a kid, it probably would have stimulated my natural love for rocks and geology (I took a two-term course in university, just for fun). Part of the annoyance for me is that there were a few things that could go either way and I wasn't sure whether they were fact or fiction.  Part of me says 'who cares?' because the book was just so entertaining.

Having been to Iceland, I was happy to find out that the journey began in Iceland and that Professor Hardwigg and Harry tried to go to the library to find out more about a famous Icelandic explorer.  This took me back to a trip I took a few years ago to Iceland, where I did a ton of research on distant relatives (I'm part Icelandic). 

The prose in the novel was more sophisticated and fluid then I anticipated, which made me forget I was reading a novel that was most likely intended for children.  Since this was a book club book, I'm interested in finding out what the ladies in the group thought of this work.  I wonder if it is more geared to the male sense of adventure or if it applies to all with a love of science and discovery.  Time will tell.

This was the first thing I have read by Jules Verne, and it was the second book he wrote in 1864, preceded by "Five Weeks in a Balloon."  I will definitely give some of his works more of a go, probably delving into "Around the World in Eighty Days" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" first.  The latter is better known as his greatest work of all time, and made it to the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written by the Easton Press.

If you've ever read Jules Verne, I'd love to hear from you... especially those who have read his works both as a child and as an adult.

10 comments:

Teacher/Learner said...

I'm also finding myself drawn to authors who were/are geared towards children but I never read as a child. This sounds like a nostalgic read :)

Shelley said...

I did not like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and so I haven't read anything else by Verne. But I love good book covers so much, that the cover you show is making me want to read this one!

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I've not read it, but I absolutely will now that I have read your review. I loved the movie as a child (the original black and white one) and I know that I will love the book

gautami tripathy said...

I loved to read Jules Verne. I own some of his works...

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Journey to the Center of the Earth is on my list to read soon. Looking forward to it - and am a touch jealous that you've been to Iceland...! Here's my Literary view...: Coffee and a Book Chick -- Literary Blog Hop...

Music4Betty said...

I'm your newest follower. With that being said, I have yet to read any of his books. I want to though!

Listener said...

I liked "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", even though the entire "Lost World" premise seems very dated. For a better take on the "Lost World" genre, there's no better place to start than Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World". If you're wanting to try more Verne, but aren't ready to tackle "1,000 Leagues," try "Around the World in 80 Days." I have reviews of free audio versions of both "The Lost World" and "Around the World" at my blog, if you're interested.

I found your blog via Crazy-for-Books book blogger hop, BTW.

Eclectic Indulgence said...

I'm reading "Around the World in 80 Days" right now, and I'm enjoying it.

Verne is definitely my speed.

Mandi said...

Oh, how great that somebody else loves Verne too! I read the tale of Captain Nemo about five years ago, when I was about 14 , and fell in love immediately. When I read the last lines of the book, I was shivering - I didn't want it to end!! Since then I've spent 80 days with mr. Fogg, searched for captain Grant, seen Africa from above in a hot air balloon, joined the quest for the Southern Star and seen some of the South America in Jangada amongst other things. Verne seriously is one of the great inspirors that have turned me from a book-fancier to a bibliophile. I love his books! I actually never remember how many leagues Nemo and his hostages traveled under the sea because here in Finland the name of the book is translated to "Captain Nemo in the depths of the sea" or "Around the globe in a submarine" or something like that :) Whew, whenever I close my eyes, I can see Nautilus and it's desperate captain... Even as a girl I am convinced that every boy and girl should read some Verne when they are growing up. What a great way to feed imagination and the never-ending hunger for adventure!

Mandi said...

Oh, how great that somebody else loves Verne too! I read the tale of Captain Nemo about five years ago, when I was about 14 , and fell in love immediately. When I read the last lines of the book, I was shivering - I didn't want it to end!! Since then I've spent 80 days with mr. Fogg, searched for captain Grant, seen Africa from above in a hot air balloon, joined the quest for the Southern Star and seen some of the South America in Jangada amongst other things. Verne seriously is one of the great inspirors that have turned me from a book-fancier to a bibliophile. I love his books! I actually never remember how many leagues Nemo and his hostages traveled under the sea because here in Finland the name of the book is translated to "Captain Nemo in the depths of the sea" or "Around the globe in a submarine" or something like that :) Whew, whenever I close my eyes, I can see Nautilus and it's desperate captain... Even as a girl I am convinced that every boy and girl should read some Verne when they are growing up. What a great way to feed imagination and the never-ending hunger for adventure!