Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne Find a copy here on Gutenberg, and background on wikipedia.Somehow I've never gotten around to reading Verne, though I have several paper copies of his books and many ebooks on my reader. That I never made time to read him really doesn't make much sense - I've seen countless movies, cartoons, etc. developed from his stories and enjoyed most of them, and I've read plenty of books on history and literature where he's been discussed. So it seemed really overdue to finally start reading. I specifically chose Around the World because it's had so much influence on pop culture - and I finally read Nellie Bly's account, Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, this past December.So why a four star rating? Because I rarely award those. Well, it was for the multiple surprises that I found in the book. Despite thinking that I knew the book's plot there was a lot of newness.- Verne managed to produce a book in 1873 that really did feel like both a travelogue and current events reporting. And many of these events he assumes the reader is well read enough to have heard of - like the Alabama Claims and the Great Chicago Fire (see quotes with links below). And these references aren't explained, so you do have to know the history to catch on.- I loved the whole "Passepartout left the gas on" shtick. Because I come from a family that always obsesses over what might have been left on when we leave the house.- The character of Fogg was nothing like the versions I've seen of him. At worst the dramas portray him as the stiff-upper-lip, show-no-emotion, eccentric Brit. He's not just that - he's also wildly obsessive about order and regimen. And he's close to being unlikable and robotic. I could easily see a modern movie version turning him into a Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) character, or if the screenwriter wanted to make it more serious than comic, have Fogg suffering obsessive-compulsive disorder.- Another point the book makes clear (and mocks him for it): Fogg is not a tourist and is not traveling to see any of the sights. We get those descriptions, but this is all about The Race Against Time. And Fogg is far more interested in the trip as a logic/organizational puzzle to solve than any other reason. This is especially clever in that Verne can give us glimpses of places (many of which he'd never seen himself) but never have to give vast amounts of detail.- I loved the tech. Besides all the ways of traveling, there were all sorts of little references tossed in here and there to other technology. Example, the portable printing press that was brought along to the ceremony for completion of the railroad - see quote below - just to print a copy of a commemorative newspaper.- No matter how well you know the story you will eventually look at a world map. Or google and then a world map. Just to trace the route taken, and perhaps look up specific cities. And of course you wonder how enjoyable such a trip would be today. Which forces me to link to Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days, which I really enjoyed watching, and note that I have yet to read the book (but want to).My rating would probably only be 3 stars had I not been regularly consulting google and wikipedia - but with the internet information easily at hand I had the greatest fun with this book. (To give you an idea of the reference fun I have added many wikipedia cites to the quotes. Because I do live for the reference fun.)Quotes:(I've particularly added quotes that either show an aspect of the book not stressed as much in pop culture, or that I found interesting.)Descriptions of Phileas Fogg are unlike anything I expected from my seeing/hearing this story told in various media (mostly film, tv), Ch 2:He appeared to be a man about forty years of age, with fine, handsome features, and a tall, well-shaped figure; his hair and whiskers were light, his forehead compact and unwrinkled, his face rather pale, his teeth magnificent. His countenance possessed in the highest degree what physiognomists call "repose in action," a quality of those who act rather than talk. Calm and phlegmatic, with a clear eye, Mr. Fogg seemed a perfect type of that English composure which Angelica Kauffmann has so skilfully represented on canvas. Seen in the various phases of his daily life, he gave the idea of being perfectly well-balanced, as exactly regulated as a Leroy chronometer. Phileas Fogg was, indeed, exactitude personified, and this was betrayed even in the expression of his very hands and feet; for in men, as well as in animals, the limbs themselves are expressive of the passions.He was so exact that he was never in a hurry, was always ready, and was economical alike of his steps and his motions. He never took one step too many, and always went to his destination by the shortest cut; he made no superfluous gestures, and was never seen to be moved or agitated. He was the most deliberate person in the world, yet always reached his destination at the exact moment. And then, when newly hired Passepartout examines Fogg's home:He suddenly observed, hung over the clock, a card which, upon inspection, proved to be a programme of the daily routine of the house. It comprised all that was required of the servant, from eight in the morning, exactly at which hour Phileas Fogg rose, till half-past eleven, when he left the house for the Reform Club—all the details of service, the tea and toast at twenty-three minutes past eight, the shaving-water at thirty-seven minutes past nine, and the toilet at twenty minutes before ten. Everything was regulated and foreseen that was to be done from half-past eleven a.m. till midnight, the hour at which the methodical gentleman retired.Mr. Fogg's wardrobe was amply supplied and in the best taste. Each pair of trousers, coat, and vest bore a number, indicating the time of year and season at which they were in turn to be laid out for wearing; and the same system was applied to the master's shoes. In short, the house in Saville Row, which must have been a very temple of disorder and unrest under the illustrious but dissipated Sheridan, was cosiness, comfort, and method idealised. There was no study, nor were there books, which would have been quite useless to Mr. Fogg; for at the Reform two libraries, one of general literature and the other of law and politics, were at his service. A moderate-sized safe stood in his bedroom, constructed so as to defy fire as well as burglars; but Passepartout found neither arms nor hunting weapons anywhere; everything betrayed the most tranquil and peaceable habits.Fogg is a bit compulsive in his regularity, perhaps? Dramatizations of Fogg often make it seem as though he's an adventurer, not that he's a man of predictability with all the appearances of a dull life.Historical reference at the start of Chapter 5:"The boasted "tour of the world" was talked about, disputed, argued with as much warmth as if the subject were another Alabama claim."Alabama claims on wikipedia: "a series of claims for damages by the U.S. government against the government of the United Kingdom for the assistance given to the Confederate cause during the American Civil War."Chapter 11:"But Phileas Fogg, who was not travelling, but only describing a circumference, took no pains to inquire into these subjects; he was a solid body, traversing an orbit around the terrestrial globe, according to the laws of rational mechanics. He was at this moment calculating in his mind the number of hours spent since his departure from London, and, had it been in his nature to make a useless demonstration, would have rubbed his hands for satisfaction. Sir Francis Cromarty had observed the oddity of his travelling companion—although the only opportunity he had for studying him had been while he was dealing the cards, and between two rubbers—and questioned himself whether a human heart really beat beneath this cold exterior, and whether Phileas Fogg had any sense of the beauties of nature."End of chapter 12: "I have yet twelve hours to spare; I can devote them to that.""Why, you are a man of heart!""Sometimes," replied Phileas Fogg, quietly; "when I have the time."Title of Chapter 14:IN WHICH PHILEAS FOGG DESCENDS THE WHOLE LENGTH OF THE BEAUTIFUL VALLEYOF THE GANGES WITHOUT EVER THINKING OF SEEING ITChapter 17:"Meanwhile Phileas Fogg moved about above them in the most majestic and unconscious indifference. He was passing methodically in his orbit around the world, regardless of the lesser stars which gravitated around him. Yet there was near by what the astronomers would call a disturbing star, which might have produced an agitation in this gentleman's heart. But no! the charms of Aouda failed to act, to Passepartout's great surprise; and the disturbances, if they existed, would have been more difficult to calculate than those of Uranus which led to the discovery of Neptune."Chapter 19, sometimes Verne is very political - here on the opium trade:"Fix and Passepartout saw that they were in a smoking-house haunted by those wretched, cadaverous, idiotic creatures to whom the English merchants sell every year the miserable drug called opium, to the amount of one million four hundred thousand pounds—thousands devoted to one of the most despicable vices which afflict humanity! The Chinese government has in vain attempted to deal with the evil by stringent laws. It passed gradually from the rich, to whom it was at first exclusively reserved, to the lower classes, and then its ravages could not be arrested. Opium is smoked everywhere, at all times, by men and women, in the Celestial Empire; and, once accustomed to it, the victims cannot dispense with it, except by suffering horrible bodily contortions and agonies. A great smoker can smoke as many as eight pipes a day; but he dies in five years."Chapter 21:"At daybreak the wind began to blow hard again, and the heavens seemed to predict a gale. The barometer announced a speedy change, the mercury rising and falling capriciously; the sea also, in the south-east, raised long surges which indicated a tempest. The sun had set the evening before in a red mist, in the midst of the phosphorescent scintillations of the ocean."I was indeed gleeful over the phrase "phosphorescent scintillations."Chapter 24:"...Mr. Fogg was as calm and taciturn as ever. His young companion felt herself more and more attached to him by other ties than gratitude; his silent but generous nature impressed her more than she thought; and it was almost unconsciously that she yielded to emotions which did not seem to have the least effect upon her protector."Chapter 26, history of the South fussing about where the railroad went:"It was in 1862 that, in spite of the Southern Members of Congress, who wished a more southerly route, it was decided to lay the road between the forty-first and forty-second parallels. President Lincoln himself fixed the end of the line at Omaha, in Nebraska. The work was at once commenced, and pursued with true American energy; nor did the rapidity with which it went on injuriously affect its good execution. The road grew, on the prairies, a mile and a half a day. A locomotive, running on the rails laid down the evening before, brought the rails to be laid on the morrow, and advanced upon them as fast as they were put in position."Chapter 27, Mormons and their history are just another colorful/humorous aspect of the journey:"Passepartout approached and read one of these notices, which stated that Elder William Hitch, Mormon missionary, taking advantage of his presence on train No. 48, would deliver a lecture on Mormonism in car No. 117, from eleven to twelve o'clock; and that he invited all who were desirous of being instructed concerning the mysteries of the religion of the "Latter Day Saints" to attend."Chapter 25:"The train reached Ogden at two o'clock, where it rested for six hours, Mr. Fogg and his party had time to pay a visit to Salt Lake City, connected with Ogden by a branch road; and they spent two hours in this strikingly American town, built on the pattern of other cities of the Union, like a checker-board, "with the sombre sadness of right-angles," as Victor Hugo expresses it. The founder of the City of the Saints could not escape from the taste for symmetry which distinguishes the Anglo-Saxons. In this strange country, where the people are certainly not up to the level of their institutions, everything is done "squarely"—cities, houses, and follies."So far I can't figure out where that Victor Hugo quote comes from.Chapter 29:"It was here that the Union Pacific Railroad was inaugurated on the 23rd of October, 1867, by the chief engineer, General Dodge. Two powerful locomotives, carrying nine cars of invited guests, amongst whom was Thomas C. Durant, vice-president of the road, stopped at this point; cheers were given, the Sioux and Pawnees performed an imitation Indian battle, fireworks were let off, and the first number of the Railway Pioneer was printed by a press brought on the train."I was fascinated that they had brought a printing press just to print an issue of a newspaper. So I had to look it up and found here on pages 6-7 of Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days:"Fifty-two years ago a booklet was printed to record the experiences and proceedings of an excursion party that came from the east to inspect the Union Pacific railroad, then building through Nebraska. Copies of that booklet are very rare, but one has just been added to the Historical Society library....The day was spent in watching the laying of track, and in various performances. During the day a newspaper was printed on the special train, type, press and printers having been loaned by the Omaha Republican. The book gives two sample pages of the newspaper, which was called the Railway Pioneer. Besides much foolery the paper gave market reports from the east and from London, received by wire, gave the local prices of game, and printed some genuine news of the excursion. Game prices quoted for Platte City were, "Buffalo meat, per pound, 15¢; elk meat, 12¢ to 15¢; antelope, 16 to 18¢; prairie chickens, per pair, 50 to 60¢; wild ducks, pair, 75¢ to $1.00; wild geese, each $1.25 to $1.50; sage hens, 50 to 65¢; snipe, each 25 to 30¢."Chapter 29, portrayal of American Indians:"The Sioux had at the same time invaded the cars, skipping like enraged monkeys over the roofs, thrusting open the doors, and fighting hand to hand with the passengers. Penetrating the baggage-car, they pillaged it, throwing the trunks out of the train. The cries and shots were constant."Ah yes, comparing natives to monkeys. Another reason to be happy not to live in 1873.Chapter 32:"The next day, which was the 10th, at four o'clock in the evening, it reached Chicago, already risen from its ruins, and more proudly seated than ever on the borders of its beautiful Lake Michigan."That's a reference to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 - an example of how current the current events in the book were.