Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Challenge: A Book Set in a Different Country

Book: Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne
Pages: 188
Date Read: 12/28/2014 - 01/03/2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Other Categories this book could 
have fit into: 
A book that became a movie - which I refuse to watch because they added a woman
A book with a number in the title
A funny book - I was surprised by how many times I laughed out loud reading this 
A popular author's first book - I didn't realize this was Verne's first novel; it's really well-developed and doesn't read like a first work 
A book more than one hundred years old - published in 1863
A book that made you cry - ok, I wasn't sobbing, but I teared up in a few spots
A book that was originally written in a different language - Cinq Semaines en Ballon (who knew it was originally in French?) 


I went into this book expecting something factual and dull. And there is much more information on how to build a hot air balloon than I wanted. But this book was so much more than that, and I'm really glad I read it!

It's really quite character-driven. The doctor, the Scotsman, and Joe are all individual and real. By the end of the book, I felt that they were friends of mine, and I was sorry to see them go. The doctor is always imperturbable, solving problems calmly and intelligently while the others panic. The Scotsman is the protector of the troupe, and, though he tries to talk the doctor out of going on the trip, never for an instant considers not going with him. And he's always willing to shoot any problem that comes in their path.
And then there's Joe. Wonderful Joe! I fell in love with him. He can live with any problem, since problems are, "Quite natural." He's always willing to sacrifice himself for the others. And he's ridiculous. All three men were funny, but Joe had me cracking up throughout. He's selfless, loyal, chill, and absolutely silly.

One has only just to follow things along as they happen, and he can always work his way out of a scrape! The safest plan, you see, is to take matters as they come. 

As mentioned above, this book fit into many categories, but it wasn't hard to decide which one I should count it for. Not only does this book take place in another country, but it thoroughly explores that country. We travel over Africa in a balloon, and learn much of its geography and its people. It was an adventure! This book had everything I wanted from a story of its kind -- cannibals, daring rescues, lion hunts, crocodiles, desert oases... the list goes on.

There were also some surprising thoughts on war and death. I loved this, because it wasn't overly didactic -- the topics were spoken of only as they came up, rather than being the cause of the book.

Death, the commencement of things eternal, is but the end of earthly cares. 

 All-in-all, I would definitely recommend this book.



Ginny-Gin-Gin said...

Haha, why are you so opposed to women additions, Kat!e?

Have you read his other stories about balloons? I didn't realize it was a subject matter that he returned to so many times! Maybe I'll have to give one of them a read!

The Hot Girl in the Comic Shop said...

Adding the woman annoys me for so many reasons. Largely it's just because there wasn't a woman in the book -- so I know they're adding her just for the sake of being more marketable, and I'm assuming they added a love story, which frustrates me to no end. I hate the girl being added just to be the love interest. And it doesn't make sense; they simply wouldn't have brought a woman with them. If there was supposed to be a woman in the story, she would have been in the book. *huffs* I may watch it anyways, since there is a slight possibility they'll handle her character well, but I just strongly doubt it. *more huffing*

The only other book by him I've read is Around the World in Eight Days, which does involve a balloon I'm pretty sure. I was a little young for Verne when I read it; I really need to read it again. I'm definitely a fan!

Ginny-Gin-Gin said...

I understand being frustrated by characters who are only there to be love interests (I was similarly frustrated by the love story in the Hobbit movies because it was just there to be this unmeaningful love story ). But sometimes lady characters can be really awesome :D (Man, I wish I could say they're almost always awesome :P :D)