I love reading classics. Les Mis, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Villette, Homer, the Odyssey . . . I’ve read them all and enjoyed them all. My reading habits are—diversified, to say the least. I read everything from children’s fiction to YA to historical fiction and non-fiction to adult novels to myth to fantasy to—well, you get the idea. Classics fit somewhere in the middle, I think.
Don’t ask me how.
I still don’t know.
This book, Journey to the Center of the Earth, was one of the first real classics that I had ever read. Also the first one I really had to work to finish, despite how much I enjoyed reading it. (I don’t include Jane Eyre on that list, of course. I never had to work to read that one.) Whole chapters in this book were devoted to scientific jargon, terms that I didn’t quite understand and details that were a little slow. (How many of us have read classics like that?)
And yet, in the middle of the equations and scientific reason lay a story for the ages. A brilliant, immensely powerful story that swept me up and taught me just how incredible classics can be, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to read them.
The story is written from the perspective of Axel Lidenbrock, nephew and assistant to the great Professor Otto Lidenbrock, a geologist with an extraordinary amount of passion and a temper that rivals the volcanos he studies. A chance discovery leads them both on a wild chase to Iceland, to the very peak of Snaefells, a ‘semi’ extinct volcano.
From there, they continue on. Down inside the volcanic tubes leading into the mountain, on a journey that will take them far beyond the limits of man until they discover the Center of the Earth.
Jules Verne’s amazing book sets the stage for one of the most fascinating stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I love all things prehistoric (Jurassic Park, for one), and the world he created, hiding within our world, was so beautifully detailed, so intricately described, that it made me want to launch my own expedition to see it.
Except that it was also dangerous. And there were monster fish.
Monster fish and I do not get along.
That said, this is one classic that I would recommend to anyone and everyone with a taste for adventure and a love of good literature. Jules Verne continues to be one of my favorite authors, and I have always enjoyed the depth and detail that he puts into his novels.
“Is the master mad?” she asked.
“And he’s taking you with him?”
I nodded again.
“Where to?” she said.
I pointed to the center of the earth with my finger.
“Into the cellar?” exclaimed the old servant.
“No,” I said. “Deeper!”