Sunday, April 12, 2009

Don't know why I bothered.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have just spent the best part of the last 2 weeks reading this, and I'm wondering why I bothered. I had completely the wrong impression of what this book was about, not having heard the story or seen any of the films (apart from Captain Nemo turning up in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen!). I thought that the 20,000 leagues under the sea meant that they literally went down vertically to 20,000 leagues below the surface and there found a land full of fantastical creatures a la Journey to the Centre of the Earth (which I also haven't read). But it was basically a fictional travel guide to the world's oceans written in the 1860s and therefore now out of date. The language (which I understand is a translation) was flowery and at some points consisted of paragraphs of lists of names of various sea plants and animals. The one exciting bit of the book, which I had anticipated for 221 pages before I finally got to it, lasted for approximately one and a third pages!

I remember now why I don't read fiction that was written more than 50 years ago.

And I think Hollywood has a lot to answer for.

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Anonymous said...

Think you were unlucky there in that you didn't read a synopsis first!

Can't believe you only read fiction from the past 50 years. Apart from a handful of authors, I firmly believe that the majority of the best fiction ever written is by deceased authors!

I shall compose you a select list of recommended reading! Unfortunately it appears that any old dross can get a book deal now.


P.s. No, I'm not a literary snob ha ha

Nina said...

Oh dear! I don't think I've read this yet myself, either. Hmmm. But now, after your review, I have a strange urge to go get a copy and take a look! Imagine that!