Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Days

Just finished reading this hilariously delightful novel a few minutes ago, so thought I’d post a quick review.

Sparked by a wager with the gentlemen of the Reform Club, the passive, mathematical, ridiculously OCD Phileas Fogg sets out for a tour around the world. He’s accompanied by a recently-hired domestic, Frenchman Passporteau, and followed by the hapless detective Mr. Fix, who is convinced that Phileas Fogg robbed the Bank of England and means to arrest him (well, if that warrant ever arrives!). Along the way they pick up Aouda, a charming (if completely one-dimensional :-)) young Indian woman. Methods of transportation include: steamers, railways, carriages, yachts, trading-vessels, sledges, and elephants (well, one elephant). No balloons. For some reason I thought there would be a balloon.

This is a great book. I love the language, and there are some priceless one-liners. Really gives you a feel for the time period, in regards to both history and the way people viewed the world and different cultures back then. Nowadays this book would be woefully (often hilariously) politically incorrect, though I think that’s a part of its overall charm. The whole novel comes off as firmly tongue-in-cheek, and at the same time conveys a lot of interesting information (bits of it almost read like a travel narrative), and some really beautiful prose.

Oh and the ending. The ending is nothing short of utterly fabulous.

Makes me want to pack a carpet bag full of banknotes and jaunt off on a world tour of my own. 🙂

Five stars!

In Which Joanna Explains What She’s Been Reading Lately (amongst other things)

Isn’t my new blog template shiny? *pets it* I spent waaaay too long fiddling with it the other day and absolutely adore it. 🙂

As you can see from my sidebar, I’m reading Around the World in Eighty Days, and am enjoying it thoroughly. It’s about this obsessive-compulsive British chap named Phileas Fogg who sets out to traverse the globe in—you guessed it—eighty days, because he bet a roomful of other British chaps that he could. 🙂 So far he’s still acting very mathematical and precise, but I’m fairly certain he has hidden depths. I’m expecting a hot air balloon to show up at some point; other than that I really don’t know what awaits me at the end. I’m certain it will be fabulous. Three cheers for classic books (and for Esther, who told me to read it! :-))!

When I’m finished jaunting round the world, I really want to read The Hunger Games, as pretty much every blog or comment regarding it gushes about its amazing-ness. I’m currently 37 out of 40 on the holds list at my library, though, so it looks like I might need to buy it if I expect to get my hands on a copy sometime this century. I also want to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth (even though I thoroughly expect it to freak me out), Skin Hunger (the dual storylines sound highy intriguing), and Enna Burning (because I adore Shannon Hale and haven’t actually read it yet). I’m finding that one of the side affects of following YA book blogs and message boards is discovering lots and lots of reading recommendations. Which is fine by me. 🙂

In other news, I saw the marvelous film Ponyo with Jenny on Saturday. It’s the latest from Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (who gave us Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and others which I’ve yet to see), and is basically a Japanese Little Mermaid, with lots and lots of heart. Gorgeous and completely adorable, I highly recommend it!

Also, I’m not sure I’ve yet gushed about Vienna Teng here, so let me do so at once. She is utterly amazing, and writes some of the most beautiful, melodic, piano-driven music I’ve ever heard.

On the writing front, still not a lot to report. I am making a little progress on revisions for Rose Queen, though I have yet to make it out of the first chapter. I’m adding a few new scenes, which is making me ponder whether or not to split the first chapter into two chapters, as it’s getting rather unweildly, though any split point that I’ve found so far would make the chapters really unbalanced in terms of length. If I do decide to go for two chapters, that leaves me with the task of coming up with a brand new chapter title, which won’t exactly be easy. Hmm. At any rate, I’m really proud of my revisions so far; I feel like my writing has matured a lot since Rose Queen was first penned, so I’m glad this puppy is getting an update.

Other than that, I’ve joined an online writer’s critique group! I’ve never been a part of one before, so I’m pretty excited about it. 🙂

And the full and partial requests? At five weeks and four weeks, respectively, still no news. But I’m not going to start stressing about jotting off status queries (brief, polite notes that basically say: “Ummmmm haveyoureadmybookyet’causeI’mgettingimpatient’kthxbye.”) for at least a few more weeks. Hopefully I’ll hear something by then.

Despairing ever hearing back from the remaining five outstanding queries. One of them is nearly eleven weeks old! Yikes.

UPDATE: As of this morning, I’ve received another rejection, leaving the outstanding query total at four. No word on anything else.

And that, folks, is that.