Around the World in 80 Days
By Aditya Venkatesh
Classics bore me. Flat out. Those are pretty much the only books we read in school, and analyzing symbolism more than reading the story doesn’t help matters. Then, one day, to my immense surprise, I found a classic that was, not only bearable, but also kind of interesting! Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne, is actually a pretty exciting story about how Phileas Fogg places a huge bet (20,000 Euros, which is the equivalent to over 1 million Euros today) that he can travel around the world in just 80 days. And oh yeah, there are no planes… just trains and boats (we are in the 1800s). Not the express trains we have today, but the ones that go maybe 30 mph. As it turns out, having to bear the boredom of travelling thousands of miles at a snail’s pace is the least of Fogg’s problems. Fogg runs into foreign cops for false accusations, undertakes an unexpected rescue mission, fights through Native Indian attacks, and faces numerous other crises; can Fogg make it home in 80 days and win his bet, or is this bet merely a pointless, overambitious attempt to make some quick money? An intense thriller with so much at stake, this book is a classic because it is actually a book worth reading - not because it has a lot to analyze. Keep an open mind and be patient for the first few pages, and you could be surprised that a book written in the 1800s actually has you turning those pages.