Thursday, September 24, 2009

My, how far we have come!

In 1873, people were amazed at how the railway system was changing the way they transported goods and brought themselves to far flung places. Today, we have planes that can cross oceans overnight. In 1873, if you send mail to another person in another country, you'd have to count days. Now, it only takes a few seconds to send emails to people from across the globe. In 1873, traveling around the world was a challenge. Now, it's recreation.

When Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days was published in 1873, it was revolutionary. One of the reasons people gravitated toward the book was to find out if the pair of Fogg and Passepartout could indeed traverse the globe in 80 days or even less. And regardless whether the British and French duo could travel from London to other countries and back, people knew that they would be reading an adventure story. Verne, around this time, has established himself a following, having written hugely successful novels A Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1871 and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea in 1872.

What hasn't changed though is man's pursuit of adventure. Rereading Around the World in 80 Days, I realized how exciting it is. Here is suspension of disbelief at its finest. You deny yourself the knowledge that everything in the novel has already been exceeded by the technology of the 21st century. You put yourself in the shoes of Fogg or Passepartout and go through each adventure.

Of course there are the usual cliches that accompany adventure stories such as this opus by Verne -- the damsel in distress, mistaken identities, a cat and mouse chase, and love reunited. I would definitely not be spoiling it to anyone if I mention that everything turn's out well at the novel's end. The ending hardly matters; it's the journey that makes this novel great.

***

The edition of Verne's Around the World in 80 Days that I've reread came from Michael, a fellow blogger. He's intending to have the book travel the world in 80 days, and this corner of the world where I live, the Philippines, is its first stop.

This book is now on its way to Sharon, a book blogger from Australia. The Philippines and Australia were not part of Fogg's destinations in the novel. I do wonder if this book will reach the same places as those in the novel (except for the US and the UK, of course). I can't wait to find out.

20 comments:

Portobello's coffee said...

it would be great if you could track this books journey. Maybe have a photo of each of it's pit stops..

eye_spy said...

that's a brilliant idea. and yeah, photos would be a great way to document its journey.

Peter S. said...

@Portobello's coffee: I think Michael would be the one to do that!

@eye_spy: I'll be keeping track of the book's journey as well.

mental wayfarer said...

What a fun, fun idea! Andi love that picture of you.:)

Vivienne said...

How fabulous to see the book on its epic journey around the world. I think Michael's idea is fabulous.

Cindy said...

I think what Portobello said about taking pictures is a great idea and a nice addition to include with the book when he presents his son the book one.

Michael truly had a great idea and I will be tracking its progress too. What a great way to discover new blogs as well.

StephanieD said...

The world is getting smaller, as well as opening up, don't you think?

I am enjoying your blog so much; I have an award waiting for you at http://misfitsalon.blogspot.com

Peter S. said...

@mental wayfarer: Thanks so much! I seldom post pictures of myself here in this blog.

@Vivien: I think it's a fabulous idea as well.

@Cindy: Thanks for dropping by. I'm sure Michael would post something about the book's progress.

@StephanieD: Thank you for the award! Much appreciated!

Michael said...

Hi Peter, it is great that it finally arrived. Thanks so very much for helping send this around the planet; I will be updating the original post with photos from each new destination. I will be soon adding a world map image to the post as well to trace where it has gone.

Ryan G said...

What a fanstic review and a great idea. I'm really interested in everywhere this book will go.

Peter said...

@Michael: Thanks for dropping by again! I'll be visiting your blog often to track this book!

@Ryan: Thanks!

Book pusher said...

Great post Peter, looking forward to the arrival of the book, it is a really cool idea, and thanks for giving me the oportunity to participate.

Peter said...

Hi, Sharon! I can't wait to read your post about it too!

David Wagner said...

What a friggin killer idea! Man, I am so going to mention this in my next blog post. Everyone that reads the book should sign it somewhere.

Man, "Michael" should win a prize or something for such a killer idea... There's got to be a way to track it's progress, and have everyone write about their participation.

Man, now I'm going to have to read it...

thetruebookaddict said...

I enjoyed your review! And what a great idea about sending the book around like that. I'll be checking back to see if you decided to track its progress!

Peter said...

@David: I believe Michael would be tracking the book's progress every now and then.

@thetruebookaddict: Thanks for dropping by!

bookjourney said...

This is so great - what an awesome idea of Michael's! Way to go Peter! :)

stacybuckeye said...

This is such a cool book adventure. I love your post and the photo :)

Peter S. said...

Hi, Sheila! Thanks! Be sure to check out Michael's blog often, as he would be sure to track the book's progress.

Hello, Stacy! Hehe. I felt conscious posting my photo.

Petunia said...

What a totally awesome idea for a reading challenge, for the book to find readers around the globe within a time frame. How cool!