August’s adventure was Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, and an adventure it was not. Granted, the book was published in the 1860s, and at that time what was considered “thrilling” had a pretty low bar, but this was downright boring. I feel sort of silly because I was expecting something more like the classic film adaptation, which is incredibly different. The characters change nationality and grow drastically in number, a rival team of explorers threatens the heroes of the story, and there are many more life or death situations and outrageous discoveries. Compared to the film, Jules Verne’s adventurous trek reads like the minutes to a board meeting at a financial firm.
It’s been about a month and a half since I started my quest to catch up on classic novels I’ve always lied about reading. The category of my first installation of the Shameful Book Club is “Southern Novels.” In the 1.5 months that I have been reading these (among others), I have knocked out The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Color Purple, and about half of The Sound and the Fury.
I enjoyed Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn quite a lot. I (admittedly) listened to it on audiobook, read by Elijah Wood (delightful), and experienced more than one occasion of pulling up to a stop sign with the windows down and having passerbys side-eye me for the amount of racial profanity coming from my car stereo. Regardless, I found Huck Finn very funny and insightful. It had the excitement of a child’s adventure, but the social weight of a critical work of fiction. In a way it’s America’s Odyssey, and I felt like I was reading/listening to something that was a mashup of The Goonies and Mud. It’s a snap shot of America and a very particular time and place that deserves to be preserved for many reasons (some of those being cautionary).