Friday, December 28, 2007

I do I do!!

I have an idea for our next book. How about Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. At least I think that's the book we all got for Christmas. Let's do that one.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Looking for imput.

My Delayed Post

I finished the book... finally. (not to whine but life has been CRAZY)

I like the idea of time, but not of moderation, especailly moderation of moral standards.

I would think a few monk scouts could find people enough to fill Shangri-la, and that they would have to resort to kidnapping and murder ( Chang implied it, for resistant ones)

I am glad Mallison escaped with the little manchu, and hope they were happy, and that he perished before he saw her age and his dreams go up in smoke...

I hope Conway found his way back, as he had a clear understanding of what he was after, i like to think after helping Mallison escape, he won't force people to stay in th future.

I wonder if Rutherford and Green, were intersted in an old friend and a good story, or in finding Shangri-La themselves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Recommendation...

is that perhaps Shyla should not treat people like they don't have feelings. Shy, just because you don't have feelings doesn't mean that other people don't. I want you to know that I feel hurt that you would try to ruin my good name with the Freestone's. I finally understand why Tecia doesn't like me and why Debs thinks I am a complete idiot.

In my defense I want to let everyone know that the only reason I don't like the book club is because for me it takes the enjoyment out of reading. Shyla says that I need to consider the fact that if I thought more about the author's intentions as well as the characters that it would enhance my reading experience. I am not sure that is how it is going to work for me but I will give the next book a chance.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cylynn vs. Hilton

Since Cylynn has failed to contribute to the book club with a recent post, I have taken the following out of an email she sent me to use as her final post on this book:

"Lost Horizon has been out of my hands for at least 1 1/2 weeks now. I finsihed the book and got rid of it. I don't have any comments to make. It was an okay book and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone nor would I read it again so I have nothing to say besides that. I do agree with Tegan that the reason they were taken to Shangri-blah was because the people were trying to increase the population. I just think that the author could have thought of some better crap besides that. I mean hell even I could have thought of something."

Next Book

Well I am happy you all are already anticipating the next book. We are taking suggestions--so if you have any, just name them in a comment to this post. I can tell you that Karen is already pushing hard for "Northanger Abbey" though. Also, I feel constrained, but reluctant, to report that Cylynn is dropping out of the book club. She said being in the book club was like experiencing hell. However, I am hoping that soon she will be able to successfully complete a literacy program and then maybe she would like it a lot better (I'm not sure there is a lot of reading going on in Rock Springs, WY, you know what I mean?).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mallison-Gotta love him!

Thank goodness for the healthy dose of reality that Mallison brought to Conway!! Whew, that was a close one. Conway was almost stuck in Shangri-La forever!! I must admit that I was glad that Conway was happy and tranquil. But I am even more happy that he left. The place just kept getting worse (worse being more and more moderate). I like it when Mallison's answer to Barnard is "Possibly,if you happen to like prison." When I read that it struck me that that is exactly what Shangri-La is, a prison. I too am interested in all the details. I enjoyed the journey but I am glad it is over. I hope Conway is happy wherever he is and I feel that he harbors no regrets except the loss of Lo-Tsen. I feel as Mallison does that the whole place is evil. Too many drugs and too much open mindness. They are so open minded that they can't make any decisions or opinions about anything. Thanks for the good read Shyla, what is the next book?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mad, then Sane OR Sane, then Mad?

I have to admit that upon initially finishing the book, I felt let down. There is an intense build up, the High Lama dies, things come to a head with Mallinson, and then . . . nothing. We are abruptly left with incomplete knowledge, even more questions, and no way of getting them answered. Is Mallinson right, is he even alive, if he is not right does he ever discover he is wrong, is Conway sane, even if he can go back to Shangri-La can he still be the leader, does he make it back to Shangri-La, and what the hell is the deal with Lo-Tsen?

But now I have given it some thought and concluded that it is all beautifully a part of Hilton’s genius writing. At the end of the book, I was left feeling how Conway must have felt climbing the mountain with Mallinson and pondering all his unanswered questions. Was he a fool to blindly believe the High Lama on his word alone? Is the hot-headed, close-minded, self-important, antagonistic Mallinson the only one who managed to retain his sanity in the midst of a confusing, but enchanting place? Early in the book, Conway contemplates over the “will of God or the lunacy of man” or alternatively “the will of man and the lunacy of God.” Ch. 2. He observes that “[i]t must be satisfying to be quite certain which way to look at it.” Ch. 2. Perhaps Conway’s problem is that he is too philosophical and broad-minded. He can always see both sides so clearly, he is never quite certain which is “right.” His even bigger problem is that he is never certain which way to look at things—that would drive anyone crazy. When the High Lama dies and his story is challenged by Mallinson, suddenly Conway isn’t sure whether Mallinson is sane and the High Lama is a crazy, manipulative liar, or whether Mallinson is merely close-minded and a slave to tangible objects of proof and Conway is just a believer of something he never had any reason to doubt. Thus, Conway was a “wanderer between two worlds and must ever wander. . . .” Ch. 11.

What should Conway believe? Has he been so disillusioned by war and the political world that he cannot accept something too good to be true or has his disillusionment left him in the border-line sanity position of being too willing to accept what is impossibly too good to be true? I love it!

I am convinced that both Rutherford and the doctor believe the whole story. Of course, they try to act like they maintain a reasonable amount of doubt but they don’t have me fooled for a minute. They believe it because “certum est, quia impossible”—“it is certain, because it is impossible.” As well as because they are romantics and consumed by the beauty of the story. However, that is not why Conway became a believer. He became a believer for the opposite reason—because he saw it was possible. The valley opened up to him a world of possibilities he had never considered and was a place where he could feel himself changing and where he could focus on more dormant aspects of his personality, talents, and dreams. Like most beliefs that require faith, there is no reasoned answer to the questions put forth by Mallinson. Conway believed it because he believed it and Mallinson, who had nothing in actual contradiction to Conway’s assertions, didn’t believe it because he didn’t believe it. That is all there is to it—“the truth is when it comes to believing things without actual evidence, we all incline to what we find most attractive.” Ch. 11.

As my comment to Tecia’s post indicates, I believe that we are supposed to believe the entire story is true (although I have a nagging question left by Chang’s assertion that Mallinson would be able to talk to the porters when he was never able to), but I would have liked confirmation and more details recounting what happened from the “escape” and on. Nonetheless, once I put aside that disappointment, I realize the more interesting part of the story and a proper place for focus is whether Conway was sane or mad, and which, when. I hope that Conway was able to achieve that which he lacked most—the ability to be certain which way to look at things. If he achieves that, the rest doesn’t matter. He can love and live in Shangri-La because he is certain it contains everything the High Lama claimed, or he can love and live in Shangri-La because while he is certain it is not a “magical” place, he is certain it is a place where he feels fulfilled, happiest, and at peace.


I did like Shangri-la and I also thought, like Shyla, that living for a really long time and not forever was a good idea. But what is their life like? The high lama hardly talked to anyone. It was too much effort. Although, he talked to Conway alot. It just doesn't seem worth it. So I am kind of like Tegan. It's a long life with lots of learning, but what good is that learning if you can't really do anything good with it? It really is rather selfish. Why not just make better use of your normal mortal time and learn than waste it smoking cigars. And like Shyla, that company does seem a little lacking in entertainment.

I enjoyed Conway's character. And I thought they summed up his personality in the end well and why he was the way he was. Sorry I don't have anything more clever to say or quote like Tegan did, Shyla, but I was just reading. The one part I wanted to quote and comment on Eddie lost my spot too when he read it and I never marked it properly.

I think Miss Brinklow is weird. She wants to change the place and that is not possible, crazy woman. And the other guy, the theif type, deserves to be there forever and remember the things he did.

I finally did buy some highliters on sale so I will try and mark my next book better so I can make intelligent comments and points.

Poor Mallison, but he won in the end, although not really because he lost the girl, which no one has commented on. That was all rather weird. She must have known she would age and die when she left, so why did she? Did she really like Mallison that much?

In short, I liked the book, but I thought the ending was too sophisticated for me. I didn't get it. Eddie had to tell me that they were all looking for Shangri-la now. Crazy. I too want to know the next book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hilton-a great read

A read this book as a hardback edition that Karen Anne got me for my birthday so I didn't write in it. But through page 82 I had sticky notes galore. Alas, I got behind in my reading and my posting so after srf left I began to read again feverishly. Shangri-Blah!? Cy-I will beat you the next time I see you. Hilton is a great read. He is philosophical and writes with a beauty that merits quoting. The contrast of Shangri-La and the world, of the Manchu and Miss Brinklow, of Mallinson and the passionless Conway, of the panic brought on by the combination of the elements and control and then insuing and dominating tranquility--just for the taking. It was a great journey. And even though the divide was only "moderately well watched" (Chapter 11)it was only an escape to those leaving. So I ask you, at the beginning of the book, when Conway eluded Rutherford, why was he in such an earnest hurry and to go where? A quote that I have had in my quote book for many years: "Somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La". Peace, time, satisfaction, contentment. Shangri-La was a good trip. So what is the next book?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Learning is Good and All, but . . .

Unlike Tegan, I am not concerned with the selfishness of the Shangri-La people. They are just trying to protect themselves. I will say however, that I wish they could come up with a better screening system. I mean, kidnap if you must, but can't you avoid kidnapping people like Mallinson? Talk about dead weight. And couldn't you have tried to get a few more people on the plane? Also, Miss Brinklow is nice and all, but if repopulating is your goal, she just doesn't seem much like a likely candidate.

I have always been attracted to monasteries as places of great focus on increasing knowledge and isolation from unimportant things in the world. But I only picture people being in monasteries for 30 years or so. This Shangri-La thing is serious. You could be there for centuries. And as cool as it seems, I would be a little worried about getting bored. I mean read, converse, look at art, and learn music, but at the end of the day you still want to be able to laugh at funny jokes and gossip about dumb or annoying people. Where is the entertainment? So far everyone is nice and impressive to talk to, but where are the funny, witty people? I wouldn't want to live 200 years with just Chang for a best friend.

But I will say I am very happy that Shangri-La only slows time. I was thinking people lived forever there. That would have been dumb. The delayed death is a smart move by Hilton. No one really wants to live forever so Shangri-La could not have been the ideal place. But to live some extra time, quite comfortably, and most of the time looking and feeling a significantly younger age is a good deal. Maybe our next book club book should be one on yoga techniques.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


I can't believe it. The "mystery" is that they need people to populate Shangri-La, and so they just decieded to kidnap them!! The High Lama (perrault) gave his blessing to Talu and he went and kidnapped some people. Nice. Then, the High Lama tries to explain to Conway why he should be happy to be there forever. Basically the best reason to stay is so you can read, learn music, enjoy the beauty of Shangri-La, and live out your days (and rather a lot of days apparently) in lovely peace and solitude. Hello, does that not seem selfish to anyone else? They are willing to let the world destroy itself and they are hoping to live through that, then "the Christian ethic may at last be fulfilled, and the meek shall inherit the earth." p159. Who do they think they are? Why are they so special that they don't have to pass through sorrow and trials and in the end be rewarded with peace and happiness AFTER they have proven themselves worthy? They are so selfish as to isolate themselves from the world and not care about anyone that doesn't happen to "drop in." Mallison is not going to like this at all! I don't know if I am liking this book so much.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I am not going to lie, Lost Horizon has lost my interest. The "owner" of this blog has urged me to read on and of course I will but hopefully the rest of the book is better than these three chapters.

I'm not liking the "moderation"

What the heck is Chang talking about? "We rule with moderate strictness, and in return we are satisfied with moderate obediance."Ch 4. Who in their right mind would ever be that satisfied with being moderate? Why aren't they striving to be perfect? Why don't they want perfect obediance? I guess that how the author used the word moderate made me think that the Lamas are doing just enough to make themselves feel they are doing right but they don't go over the top and try to do great things. I guess I just sort of see a laziness in moderation. Then again we are taught to have moderation in all things so I guess this post is actually sort of useless. Sorry to waste anyones time. Please don't think I'm an idiot.

Now, on to Mallison. I really do feel for the guy. He has people in England that love him and want him home. I don't like how is made to look like the paranoid, pessemistic guy that doesn't appreciate the beauty of Shangra-La and just wants to go home. Of course he wants to go home. I am amazed at how easy the rest of them have adjusted.

Conway. I am not sure what to make of him this week. He is still concerned for the others but he is enjoying himself so much. We'll have to wait till next week and see what else happens.

What's So Great about Shangri-La Anyway?

Okay. I admit it. Shangri-La has completely sucked me in (just as it is doing Conway who found the puzzle of Shangri-La gave him a "charming fascination," ch. 4 ). What is so charming about the place anyway?

Well for starters, it is isolated and in a dangerous place (cold, harsh mountains, high altitude that is difficult to breathe in, no ordinary wind--but a living frenzy, ch. 2, entered only by way of a steep, narrow, difficult ascent) yet it is strong and prodcues strong people who can survive it (Conway admires the men carrying Chang's chair as well as Chang being able to sleep through the ascent, being situated in the valley largely protects it from the cold, and it has drugs that relieve breathlessness, ch. 4).

It seems to represent the ancient in its customs and isolation, but yet it also has a touch of the modern in that it has central heating and modern baths. It is loaded with mystery and it is a type of mystery that is charming (unlike, say, the mystery surrounding a violent murder). It is beautiful and produces beautiful things--art and music--seemingly not for the sake of collecting or making money, but because it is wonderful.

In particular I can see why it is charming to Conway. Mallinson says Conway is "confoundedly philosopic." Ch. 3. And the place seems full of philosophic people, I mean hell, they are monks, and seemingly committed to learning (the library), producing art, and living in a philosophic way. I think Conway both admires and envies the lives grounded in a meaningful purpose, though we don't know what that purpose is yet. Conway suffers from lack of deep purpose in life--no relationships, he is not an empire builder and his professional success lacks heart, it is for a salary and to accomplish it he sometimes puts on a one act play. Ch. 4. Also, because Conway is a person who likes and is used to "creat[ing] and control[ling] an atmosphere," Shangri-La is worthy of his admiration because it appears to be a created and very much controlled atmosphere as well as a challenge because it is not an atmosphere he can control. Ch. 4. Additionally, Conway seems to have a sort of contempt for his lower intellect companions. But at Shangri-La he comes face to face with a man of "high intelligence," Chang, who thus merits Conway's respect. Ch. 5. Conway doesn't mind the mystery and untrustworthiness of Chang because he is a man on Conway's level. Shangri-La seems to have that which Conway craves most in life: worthy companionship, isolation from unworthy people/goals/places, beautiful surroundings, challenge (physical and intellectual), and a place to learn and improve one's artitistic abilities.

It is a place where someone like Conway can feel the "pleasant mingling of physical ease and mental alertness." Ch. 4. So far, I am completely enchanted by Shangri-La and like Conway am willing to take the good with the bad if only I could just be there. And though there is still a lot of the book left, I am willing to declare that I am sure Shangri-La will not disappoint. It just couldn't. It's Shangri-La!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hear Hear

I agree with Karen and do not want to make any snap judgements about the characters of the book. I was too quick to do that with poor Fogg. Now, it clearly states that Conway just doesn't like to be active. He is not lazy, he will work hard when he needs to. But he likes the quiet. For him to be impressed with the "virgin" beauty of Tibet and not impressed with Mount Everest tells me that he likes solitude. What I like about him is that he is smart, works hard, and does care for others around him. I like how he keeps asking Brinklow is she is okay. I guess the person he should be worried about is Mallison. But who would not be frantic in a situation like this? It seems to me that Mallison is the person who is going to keep things real, in the pessimistic way of course. I'm interested to see what strengths the American will bring to the group.

First Impressions

I have decided on holding off judgement of the characters this week, I want more time to decide who they are, and try and be open minded about them, instead of relying on my first impressions, which differ in someways from what has been stated so far.

I really wanted to be the one to talk about "cigars burning low" I was struck with that line too.
I love when a book takes me with it, and this book is doing just that.

Hilton-what a ride!

I enjoy the ability of an author to "take you away" "Cigars had burned low, and we were beginning to sample the disillusionment that usually affects old school friends who have met again as men and found themselves with less in common than they had believed they had." Cigars burning low denotes a passage of time and celibate gentlemen were not uncommon characters in novels of that era. Three men: an embassy secretaray, an author and a neurologist. But is this style a bit reminiscent of Bronte and Dickens-a book within a book? A story telling device. Another character revealing device used by the author, train rides and plane rides. So I am very much enjoying the "story telling."

But don't you like Hilton's descriptions? He describes the sea as having a "pale, sticky look, like condensed milk." And Miss Brinklow's comment about traversing the sky as the will of God. And Conway's mental comment"the will of God or the lunacy of man" or the will of man or the lunacy of God" at the beginning of Chapter 2.

And Conway was not only an athlete but a pianist. Spoke several languages and was kind (at least to narrator) p. 13 Was a thesbpian. And was likeable. A Rennaisance Man if you will. And apparently, in spite of what Sanders says is "alive". Rutherford gives us a hint into Conway's character by saying he (Conway) was cheerful but lacked personal desire. This is in the prologue before the story begins to unfold. And the narrator asserts that Conway had a " ... peculiar charm, a sort of winsomeness that's pleasant to remember". This guy has charisma!! But who is Rutherford to say that Conway should have been "great". Must we all be ambitious to be honorable. He wasn't an "earth shatterer"; he was a life toucher. Isn't that great? You see, Conway is my hero. He doesn't affect people "on purpose". He just is!

nothing clever comes to mind

I have really enjoyed the book. It really does grab you at the beginning with the two men talking about Conway. I think the piano playing was quite weird, but I'm sure it'll come back full circle and explain.

I think Conway is considered 'brave' because he is naturally good, according to other characters, at dealing with people. So when others, like Mallison, are freaking out, he is able to keep his cool and think through the situation clearly. I think part of this natural ability is him being able to read people well. To sit back and be quiet and observe. I feel I can compare Mallison to two other women I know. Conway is in control of himself. Part of this is age and experience. And as far as being 'great' I thought the one man who found him said that he choose what he did in the war and enjoyed it. I think all that experience will help him in Shangri-la. I'm sure Conway is brave, great and all those other things and in a very realistic and not fantized way.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hugh (who) is Conway? Nice play on words.

After the pilot (hijacker) lands, refuels the tank and takes off again, Mallinson as a result of his maniacal state makes a couple of statements, based upon prior interactions at work, that lead the reader to deduce certain attributes or abilities that Conway may posses. The question is though, does he?

Mallinson says, "...we're damned lucky in having him with us in a tight corner like this." Quickly followed by "...he's got a sort of way with him in dealing with people. If anyone can get us out of the mess, he'll do it." Chapter 1. He speaks about Conway as if he were a hero, a real go-getter, a dare devil quick to action in all situations, desiring to be the man in charge.

Miss Brinklow adds "I think he looks like a very brave man." Chapter 1. As one of her few remarks, I am lead to believe that her statement is based solely upon assumptions. Conway remains quiet while the others argue, he "pretends" to relax and sleep while the others are uptight about the situation and he has kept his cool in a dangerous situation. At first glance he appears to be "brave" but what does Conway think, feel or see?

He sits in his seat contemplating the thoughts and words of the others on his behalf and discredits most of them. His reminiscence of various time periods causes him to discount their comments based upon his life experiences. He "was far less certain that he was a very brave man." He foresees his so called bravery as a call to duty because the four of them have found themselves in such an awkward situation. He denies, introspectively, the perceptions of his character as stated by Mallinson and is even "dismayed" by the very thought.

So the question, as stated previously is...who is Conway? Is his true character what the others perceive or is it more accurately defined by his own perceptions?

Hugh Conway--Certainly Glorious, but Great?

Conway described as: "a jolly fine chap," "certainly clever," "extraordinarily kind," "remarkable," "extremely good looking," "just brilliant," and possessing a "peculiar charm," and a "queer core of attractiveness," certainly had a lot of potential. Prologue. Perhaps it is these qualities or at least the ability to seem to possess these qualities that makes him glorious and well-deserving of his nickname.

But is Conway really all these things and if so, is he living to his full potential? Those are the two questions I expect this book to answer. Rutherford, the narrator, notes that "Conway was--or should have been--great." Prologue.

Conway does not seem at this point to feel fulfilled nor to be achieving his full potential of greatness. While he wasn't unhappy, he had only a "moderately enjoyable decade," no family, and while meeting with his friends was a pleasant prospect it was nothing to "sigh for in anticipation." Ch. 1. Though capable of hard work, Conway was not "passionately fond of activity, and did not enjoy responsibility at all." Ch. 1. He was not especially ambitious and simply had "a love of quietness, contemplation, and being alone." Thus far, it appears that while Conway is content in his life he lacks a passion or a cause or even a relationship with any person that would motivate him to achieve greatness. I suspect and hope this will change as he gets to know people in Shangri-La.

Monday, September 17, 2007


This post is for all of your Freestone's that have missed me so much. I would like to give a shout out to Debs and let you know that all of my comments on the book will be interesting, intellectual and with the intent to ruffle your feathers. For the rest of the Freestone's reading the book, I hope that we can interact like adults and enjoy what is posted.

Unlike Tecia, I have not even thought about checking out the book from the library or finding out where the library is for that matter. However, in order to get Shyla off of my freaking back I will try to find the library tomorrow.

It is nice to be in good company again. Enjoy the book.


Dear family, it may please more of you than others to know that I am reading the book. Shyla talked me into it and Mom had an extra copy for me. I think Eddie will read it when I'm in the hospital, not that it matters, he doesn't comment, but still.

I have read the prologue and chap.1. It really grabs your attention at the beginning. So if you haven't started, you will like it, I'm sure.

I hoping it will help pass Annie's late night feedings.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lost Horizon: Fun Facts

Shangri-La has become a byword for a mythical utopia--a permanently happy land, isolated from the world.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt named the Presidential hideaway in Maryland after Shangri-La. (It has since been renamed Camp David.)

Lost Horizon has been made into two films and served as the basis for a Broadway musical.

Zhongdian, a mountain region of southwest China, has now been renamed Shangri-La (Xianggelila), based on its claim to have inspired Hilton's book.

Shangri-La is referenced in various songs including songs by Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks, AC/DC, a duet by Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and Motley Crue.

The United States navy named one of its aircraft carriers USS Shangri-La.

Because of its position as Number One in what became a very long list of Pocket editions, James Hilton's Lost Horizon is often cited as the first American paperback book, which is not correct. Some (including Nikki and Wikipedia) claim the first paperback book was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, but this is also hotly debated.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Poor Fogg you meanies!!

You people sure are hard Fogg. I do agree that he wasted a lot on Fix and ideally should have been more suspicious. But let's give him a little credit for trusting that people are generally good. He was just trying to be a generous person, which we know he tends to be like anyway. Remember the begger lady at the beginning. And why not help someone half your trip around the world if his same destination just happens to be the same as yours!!
And little Aouda. Who cares if she is afraid of being scared. She loves Phileas and Phileas apparantly loves her. At least he'll make sure she's taken care and that is more than some marriages. Plus, he did save her from an awful fate. I think Aouda is fine proposing the marriage. He may never have done it. She was just waiting for the right opportunity to express how she felt about it and found it.
Thank goodness Pass went to the church. I think this trip was good for him. I daresay he has grown as well as Fogg and Fix. "Oops. There was an amazing resemblence between you two!" What a dork.
Looking forward to the next book. And I'll only read by chapter so I can write more. I'm sure you're all looking forward to that.

Tay, why did you have to go there honey?!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The End

Well, all's well that ends well. Fix got his and so did Pass., Aouda, and Phileas. I'm glad that it all ended well and that Aouda can be well taken care of by Fogg as he intended. I like that she proposed to him, but i'm debating whether or not that was through courage or fear or being alone or something else. It was definitely pre-meditated, something she'd been thinking about for quite some time. I like Passeportout. He's a kick and a great comic relief to the novel. (comic in the literary sense, shakespearian even)

Harry POtter was good. I am thoroughly satisfied with the ending.

Friday, July 20, 2007

What Did Fogg Win?

Fogg’s success cannot be measured in money because although he won the bet, he did not gain any actual financial profit (the little gain he got he split between Passepartout and Fix). So, I guess you could say that Fogg was successful because he gained bragging rights. But, by the end of the book what is there really to brag about? Fogg can’t brag that because of mathematical precision, knowledge and opportunity of modern transit, and planning for the unexpected he made it around the world in eighty days. Yet, that is what I believe he originally set out to achieve. Instead, due to some knowledge of modern transit, a lot of money, and a willingness to lead a mutiny he managed to finally make it around the world in spite of his stupidity in befriending and paying for the travel of a traitor. Worst of all for the calculating, calm, steady paced Fogg—he was too stupid to figure out that he gained a day and consequently, almost lost the bet. Perhaps, even worse, the only way he actually managed to win the bet was by a mad sprint to the Reform Club! I mean, does it get anymore humiliating than that? Other than that, I think the only success he had (since he didn’t bother to partake of the benefit of actually looking around foreign countries) was to “get” Mrs. Aouda. In fact, I would even call her a trophy wife. Maybe that’s how the term originated . . .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"I Really Must Be Stupid!"

The above quote is from Fix, ch. 30, however, I think it is the theme for this entire set of chapters.

Fogg is stupid for blindly accepting Fix and never questioning the coincidence of constantly meeting up with him. If Fogg wasn't so purposely introverted, he would have carried on enough conversation with Fix by now to be suspicious.

The conductor is stupid for taking the train full speed across the bridge. Fogg and Proctor are stupid to the point of being utterly ridiculous. They are fighting over nothing. And seriously, if they must fight, wouldn't a fist fight do the job? Are their egos so big that they would rather die than be alive knowing that the other who has insulted them is also alive? I mean it would be one thing if Proctor had slept with "the woman," but simply telling Fogg he shouldn't play diamonds? Give me a break. Duelling with Proctor is neither his duty nor the right thing to do.

Finally, Fix really is stupid. Not necessarily for suspecting Fogg. But he is stupid for being so obsessed with winning the finders fee that he won't accept the obvious signs that Fogg is not the bank robber. So, instead of finding the right suspect, he is going all around the world and wasting a lot of money traveling that will not be reimbursed by the bank. I predict it will end up alright though, since I am sure the "kind and generous" Fogg will decidedly and dispassionately reimburse Fix.

Chapters 26-30 Whimsy, you say?

I think "some" people are giving way too much credence to these characters. If Verne says anything profound, it is entirely accidental. So the train ride, the Mormon history (spelled Hyrum incorrectly). However, the closing line in Chapter 26 on wives ", and that way enough!" That's a keeper. The duel, the collapsed bridge. Passapartout's idea was a good one. An attack by Indians! The fact that Fogg does go back to retrieve Passapartout is not the deal breaker. It is that he was successful. It wasn't "duty calls"; it was "what the hell". These last few chapters, albeit entertaining, were at the most whimsical and at the least, contrived.

Most exciting!

Chapters 29 and 30 have been the most exciting yet, I thought the "Mormon" chapter was funny.

Fogg- I think is is more noble than ever, even if he does spend his money freely. I think he does what is right, because it is right, no matter who trys to discouage him., or if the right thing (saving Passepartout) makes him lose the bet. I think he is a man,he doesn't just look like a gentleman, but knows what one really is. I think Verne has created a man lead by virtue and morals ; who when put to the test lives by them.

Fix- I agree with his own assessment of himself he is an @$$.

Audoa- still faithful, and didn't swoon in battle, I like that she is strong. I think she is in love with Fogg.

Passepartout- I like that he and Fogg share each others burdens. Passe makes so many mistakes, but then does some brave thing and makes up for them all.

Proctor- why do men act like this??

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Can Money Buy Anything?

Let's face it--this book does not show that any average person can travel the world in 80 days. It shows that a very rich Englishman can buy the impossible. If Fogg's pockets weren't overflowing with money, he would have been inevitably delayed on this trip. He pays bonuses to encourage captains to get him somewhere early or on-time, he uses a small fortune to buy an elephant, he can charter a ship on a whim and get the captain to take it through a typhoon (which was a "hazardous underaking . . . particularly at that time of year," ch. 21), and his English money can even be used to defeat the law (the bail posting). Furthermore, it appears Fogg is unconcerned in the least by the danger he is placing others in as long as they are properly compensated.

Fogg's best quality is that he knows how to throw his money around in order to get his way and that he has the arrogance and presumption to do it. And now it appears that Fogg's money is going to win over a woman who has no other options. Not that I mean to judge her--she probably really didn't have a lot of options. It's not like the nameless Mrs. Aouda could go out and get a job (and still maintain her level of class). Hell, I'd be willing to put up with an untalkative, whist playing old guy too. In fact, if any of you knows a rich one who likes to travel, let me know. I mean at least she is getting a guy that realizes how "unthinkable" it is that a woman could make a journey with only one bag. Ch. 20. And in return he is getting a woman that is fairly pleasant to look at, uncomplaining, soft spoken and who constantly expresses her gratitude and admiration for him. That's a heck of a deal and a great lesson on how to stretch a dollar.

Monday, July 9, 2007


So, Fix is absolutely a scoundrel. I only think that because i know that Fogg is just the sort of person who doesn't tolerate dishonesty. I especially don't trust him to do anything helpful for the travellers. Poor Pass., all he wants to do is be a good servant and Fix just tries his hardest to ruin that for him.

Aouda seems like a nice enough girl. I don't know that she's necessarily in love, but she does hold a lot of admiration for Fogg. I like her concern for Pass. I admire her for being aware that she owes Pass her life and is always concerned for his well being. However, i wish that she had a little more backbone as a woman, but i suppose she can only be as outspoken as Verne writes her to be.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I honestly didn't know that we were to post every week, I thought we were on a two week schedule. I hate to admit it but I think Tegan may be more savvy than me.
Anyway, what I think so far:

Pass: I like him but he is kind of a pain. He really is almost nothing but trouble. He costs Phileas money and time. He and Phileas are not "kindred spirits" as it were. He is all about soaking in as much as he can about the places that he goes. And Phileas obviously could care less. But he does stick up for his master and there is a lot to be said for that kind of devotion.

Fix: is a scoundrel. He is costing Phileas a lot. And now poor Pass being all drunk and high on opium. But I think he really is just trying to do what he should.

Phileas: would be suspicious of Fix if he really were a robber. So I don't think he is. And he is showing more and more kindness and humanity as their adventure goes along. He doesn't seem the type to me to be smitten by Aouda. It seems like he is just trying to do the right thing. I don't know what I think about them. They seem a weird match.
I too think it's weird how calm he is about everything. He must have some repressed something because he doesn't show any emotion at all. He sure has a lot of money. I can't quite get over it. I still don't know why he is doing this when there is so much on the line? Is he prideful or just crazy? I think the latter.

Aouda: I think she is nice. I don't know if she loves Phileas or not. If she is falling for him I don't know if it's really because of who he is. How can she really even know. It would be more for saving her life. Maybe that is enough though. I like that Phileas tries to take care of her so much. But isn't that just humanity?

I do like this book. How do we pick our next? Can we give suggestions? My suggestion is that we read A Christmas Carol. Down the road of course, closer to Christmas.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I think him very brave to brandish a knife to save Auoda, but what are all the reasons for him doing it, aand keeping her with him. How will all work out mathmatically? I wonder at his calm at all times, even in the midst of a typhoon; it seems to calm and give confidence to those around him.

I was so glad the he finally learned that Fix was not his friend, then he became his alli!! Well at least he beat the crap out of him. He is very resourceful (ie) selling his clothes and becoming a long nose.

Fix- I knew I didn't trust him, but after playing chicken and hiding in his room, he took his punishment well. I wonder if it will work to Foggs benefit to have Fix in his debt.

I am sure she is falling in love with Fogg, the adventure must seem very a romantic thing to a young woman.
She is experiencing all the hardships he is, and taking his part. I wonder if the affection will be returned.

I am looking forward to crossing America with Phileas.
Hey, I was just talking to Frances. Evidently I have not been "getting it". So I just went through and read all of the "comments". You guys, the beauty of the exercise is in the "comments"! Although I haven't figured out how to get there yet. And if you all haven't been paying attention (poorly written) -- Tegan is getting snippy!!
Chapter 25
So the capital of California is San Francisco. I remember something about that. Learned that in a western on tv or something. The guy with the sons. Oh yeah, Bonanza! Has Verne actually been to San Francisco. I've been there. I don't remember that it had wide streets. Am I taking this too literally. He describes San Francisco like he describes Hong Kong in Chapter 19. I guess all big cities look the same. Just one more reason to stay inside, drink a Pepsi and look at the postcards. If Pass would employ the same attitude he would save some wear and tear on his body. And the political rally that runs amok the explanation for which is the second to the last line of Chapter 25. A classic. "No, sir; of a justice of the peace."
Chapter 19-24
Not for nothing, but I too am changing my mind. I am only on Chapter 25 but I am trying to determine what the author is trying to tell us. First, I think this is a joke. All in good fun I suppose. But doesn't Fogg represent someone who has his eye on the prize? Phileas has a goal and he seemingly lets nothing interfere with that. He does manage to pick up Aouda on the way (perhaps that is how that terminology originated). he is undeterred by a suttee, the train tracks being incomplete and having to travel by way of elephants (noisey ones at that) across India, losing a servant, acquiring a parasitic friend (if you can call Fix a friend), missing his ship and sailing across the Pacific in a canoe (so to speak). And, with reluctance I say this, are we not represented by Passapartout? Actually he doesn't even have the same goal as Fogg. His goal is to serve his master whose goal happens to be to circumvent the globe in eighty days. But he constantly gets off track by the "little things". Drunkeness and a little opium, a detective who is also quasi lunatictish, gets beat up for not wearing shoes and must put on a false nose to make money (at lease Cyrano didn't get paid). This might be a contrast to consider. I was particularly entertained in Chapter 24 wherein Passapartout beats the snot out of Fix. French over the Brits. And the Americans? Well, they stand around, amused, and begin immediately to bet on the two. Gotta love 'em (I'm referring to the Americans here).

Posted by mom on Saturday, July 7, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What an Idiot

Passepartout is an idiot! What was he thinking going into a smoke house with Fix. Once they saw what kind of place it was, they should have walked out and found a nice place to drink tea. Once again Passepartout's inclination to drink has gotten him into trouble. And Fix is very unkind to hand him that pipe. Shame on him. Granted, Passepartout does have the inner strength to get to the "Carniac" but that does not help his maester much. Luckily, the mastermind Fogg found another way. Actually, I was impressed by his determination and perserverance. He worked hard and got rewarded for it. I also like the fact that he paid for Fix and that Fix feels bad about it. So, is Aouda in love with Fogg or what? It doesn't seem to be openly reciprocated. Hopefully Aouda doesn't give up on him and fall for the drunk Passepartout (I don't think that would happen).

I Beg Your Parton

I'm not trying to cause trouble here (although the thought has occurred to me before) but I cannot abide these posts by "Tay and Brian". I mean, you each have a mouth (much to my consternation at times), so who's doing the talkin'?
So, I'm not sure who in their right mind would want to take a detour in the middle of the jungle to stop people who readily sacrifice humans. However, it was a noble effort. I think that if i was about to be sacrificed and somebody was willing to give up a lot of money to save me, i would appreciate it a lot.

Aren't elephants easily scared? Well, i think that those people would frighten him. Let's be honest - they weren't exactly quiet about the whole thing.

Maybe we should be emailing a reminder about the posting date? It makes it easier to remember. :)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Chapters 13-18

Is this not a study of extremes? Initially Passepartout is a bit indifferent to Fogg. Then he slowly begins to warm toward him because "slowly" is how Pass thinks! One of the few times PF gingerly slips out of his comfort zone to save a bonny lass because he has the time and Pass goes nuts In Chapter XIII "His master's idea charmed him; he perceived a heart, a soul, under that icy exterior. He began to love Phileas Fogg". I personally don't see a heart or soul; I think PF is just a little bored and doesn't have any whist partners handy. However, the suttee is a bit bizarre, isn't it? I don't think I would want to get out and view the Ganges if I was traveling it. Why not just go into the restaurant, order a Pepsi and look at some postcards?
Mr. Oysterpuff? How contrived. But a classic quote
"The first case," said he. Then, putting his hand to his head, he exclaimed, "Heh! This is not my wig!"
"No, your worship," returned the clerk, "it is mine."
"My dear Mr. Oysterpuff, how can a judge give a wise sentence in a clerk's wig?"

How indeed?

Are the personalities and sentiments of Phileas and Passepartout juxtaposed against one another to draw attention to their dissimilarities?

I hate to say this, but I think Verne is just having some fun.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Change of Opinion

So maybe Mr. Fogg is not as bad as I thought he was. He is definitely improving. It is nice of him to let precious Aouda on the trip with him to Hong Kong. Fix is a very clever fellow. Smarter than I gave him credit for. He is going to be a pain in the neck. Passepartout is still loyal as ever and I am now thinking that this loyalty will serve him well. I think the book is well written and very easy to read and I am really enjoying it. It is hard not to read ahead. I hope everyone else is enjoying it too!

Monday, June 25, 2007


I love that this book isn't depressing. Having said that, i'll actually talk about it.

So far, I don't like Fogg at all. He has the appearance of an upstanding Englishman used by Vern to show America the vast British Empire. Let's be honest, Fogg is full of himself without directly appearing to be. Doesn't show a whole lot of emotion, keeps that stiff upper-lip. And how can he have "calculated" ever unfortunate thing that could occur to the precise detail. AND.... HOW DOES HE KNOW WHEN SHIPS ARE LEAVING PORT FOR WHERE AND WHEN??? Honestly. Is there some sort of catalog of ship travel that i overlooked in the book? Oh wait, naturally every singe Britt is gonna know when ships leave port and their destination. It must be a part of their natural superiority.

Passe. is a diligent servant. He just sees his master as a guy he needs to serve. He likes his new job, hoping that the predictable nature of Fogg will return and he won't need to be in this adventure. I think he's also hoping that it is kind of a farse so that he can take a better look around him. He's the epitomy of naive travellor. It reminds me of Twain's "Innocents Abroad" in a way.

This book is very fast paced. It's nice that when regretful things happen, they happen and are over very quickly.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This book is getting good!

Things are getting a little bit crazy here. Fogg is definitely insane. What does he mean he likes to save people when he has time? First of all, he does not have time. He needs every minute he can get to overcome obstacles that he doesn't choose to put upon himself. Secondly, what is he going to do with the dear after he saves her? It's not like he is going to take her with him. Or is he?

Passepourtout worries me. His devotion to an insane man is a little scary. I'm glad that he is loyal but I'm afraid that in the end this blind loyalty will make him very unhappy. At least he can say that he has been around the world!

Fix. I can't talk about him without getting upset. Passepourtout needs to control his drinking and hopefully that will protect him from harm.

Francis Cromarty. I like him. He appreciates the world around him and likes people. He is down to Earth. Quite the opposite of Fogg.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

POST NUMBER 2: native rabbit

I can't understand a person who doesn't look where he is going.
I think we should learn from what we read, and the experience in the
railway station eatery has me wary of native dishes.
I had to ask myself what I would do "when I have extra time" I hope
I would be like Phileas and be a person of heart.

I am glad he is not only following his master, but believes in him as well.
i think he needs to be careful of what he says and does.
I want a pair of Indian shoes.

I don't like that he has befriended Passepartout under false pretenses,
I think he is a zealot.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Posting #2: The Arrogant Non-Traveler

Verne has described three different type of travelers. First, there is Fogg who "trac[es] a circle" but does not travel. (Ch. 11). He never even thought of looking around town "as he was the sort of Englishman who gets his servant to do the sights for him" (lol) and "[a]bsolutely nothing interested him." (Ch. 7, 10). Not only does he fail to see the sights when stopped, but he doesn't even look around while he is traveling--he "rarely put in an appearance on deck" and "showed little interest in observing the Red Sea." (Ch. 9). Mostly he just played whist--which is exactly what he always did in England.

Second, we have the wide-eyed, prone to explore without any kind of guide or information, Passepartout. Pass strolls around, mingles with the inhabitants, and admires what he sees. He is open to what is out there and "realize[s] that there's a lot to be said for travelling if you want to see something new." (Ch. 9). I like Pass's approach, but I think if he would have consulted a "Bombay for Dummies" or "Rick Steve's in India" book, he would have been a lot better off and could have avoided being half beaten to death by a couple of priests. But you have to admire his initiative and fascination.

Finally, we have Sir Francis Cromarty. He feels comfortable navigating around and is interested in what is around him. However, he is also educated and can give "information about the customs, history and administration of India." He didn't just look around in awe, he found out the origin and history of what fascinated him. I like the Cromarty style myself. Again, it appears Verne is portraying Fogg as an Englishman subject to censure for his haughtiness and lack of spirit. This time Verne accomplishes it by portraying Fogg's complete lack of interest in the world around him--presumably because it's not important or interesting enough to merit his attention.

Other questions on my mind: At first I thought Pass would be handy because he can get himself out of tricky situations--now I am starting to worry that he is always the cause of the tricky situations--there is the temple incident and the incriminating information he unwittingly fed to Fix--will he be an asset on this trip? What is Verne trying to say here about the British Empire and it's attempt to control different parts of the world? I get the feeling Verne is criticizing and laughing at the attempt to "Brittify" everything or am I inventing the sarcasm and is Verne applauding the work of the English? (See for example, ch.12, and Fogg asking "Are these barbaric customs still practised in India without the British being able to stamp them out?"). Is Fix obsessed, incompetent, or just self-important?

Posted by Shyla

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I did it!!!!

I have been reading a little more than required and liking the book very much. And now it's even better because now I figured out how to post so all can see it at first. I swear the button on the top right isn't always there. Maybe you have to sign in first. A minor detail. I'll write more later.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Two Cents...

First of all, I'll just say that I don't really know what to say as of yet. I've only read 5 chapters, but so far I am enjoying the book. I don't think I've read enough to really be able to analyze it yet, but I have to say... Mom, (karen) by your comments about Mr. Fix, I think you are trying to imply things that may happen later in the book, and thats not fair since you've already read it! I looked up Passepartout on, and the correct pronunciation is: pahs-par-too (with the emphasis of the word on "too"). It is an actual french word, defined as: 1) Something that passes everywhere or provides a universal means of passage. I think that is pretty clever of Verne, considering Passepartout is about to "pass" across the world.

About Phileas Fogg... I can't quite figure him out. At the beginning he was really reminding me of Will Farrell's character in "Stranger Than Fiction". I don't think he's cold-hearted, but definitely odd, and obviously very prideful. His motivation for the trip? I'm not sure. His life sounds miserably dull and boring, so maybe all that reading of newspapers finally got to him and he decided to change it up a little bit. I don't really think he stole the money, because it sounds like he has enough. Also, it says he didn't care about winning the $20,000-- that "he certainly did not bet to win" (ch 3). I don't really think a man desperate enough to steal fifty-five thousand pounds would go and bet almost half of it on something as risky as traveling around the world in 80 days. That is, unless he was positive he would win...

I am doing this right?

Okay, I have never been in a book club and I now see that I am going to have to think about the book and not just read it. That is going to be difficult but I will try my best. So far, I think that Phileaus is the bank robber and is taking the trip to escape. But I realize that this is totally just a surface observation and I will reread the chapters in order to gain some more understanding. I am having fun though. Poor Passepartout. He thought he was going to be so happy! Tegan

Saturday, June 16, 2007

This was a good book for me, because it was short and the chapters went by quickly. I liked the chapter on the Mormons. Strange people, they are.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Mr. Green! In the library!! With the wrench!!
It was Phileas! It was Phileas!! "E's the bloke what took the money."
Didn't you see it coming when Mr. Ralph and Mr. Stuart were talking during whist?

55 steps with the left foot; 56 steps with the right foot (does that mean Phileas is right handed?)
Numerology? Gematriya? (that's a Hebrew word I think) Naw, he's just anal.

And Passapartout! He's just stuck in reverse.

Mr. Fix. Detective Fix. He's got issues. Maybe he's got an Oedipus Complex.

just kidding

posted by mom

What about Fix?

I have been surprised, that Fix has not been mentioned by anyone.
The telegram sent by him, to the police commissioner, lost Mr Fogg all his support.
I don't trust him.

I hope I am never described as "phlegmatic" makes me want to clear my throat.
I feel that order and routine has not only become Phileas' way of life, but his life.
I don't think him cold, I think he is lead by duty; and enjoys living in comfort.

I believe he is shell shocked, but I like that he is sticking to his duty, and serving
his gentleman.

posted by Karen

Posting #1: Chapters 1-6

Charitable or Cold and Insincere?

Phileas’s varied behavior has struck me as difficult to reconcile. Are we supposed to believe Phileas is a giving, kind-hearted man or is Verne asking us to see past the surface? Sure, Phileas gives all of his whist money to charity (which incidentally everyone knows about . . . I guess Phileas never heard the whole bit about not letting the left hand know what the right hand does) and he won Passepartout over by his generous gift of money and polite words to the beggar woman outside the station.

Nonetheless, in contrast to that admirable behavior, he fires a servant because he brought Phileas shaving water that was two degrees lower than mandated. Additionally, when Passepartout realized he left his lamp on, Phileas who apparently has money spilling out all over the place “coldly” replied that Passepartout would be expected to pay the bill. At first I thought Phileas was merely quirky but now I am starting to think his charitable nature is nothing more than a calculated effort to appear a respectable gentleman. Not to mention his total lack of respect to Passepartout in assuming Passepartout would accompany him on his trip around the world and not having the courtesy to give him either notice, explanation, or many details.

Jules Verne is a Frenchman and I think he is using Phileas to portray the distasteful qualities he perceives in Englishmen: uppitiness (his treatment of Passepartout), arrogance (his assertion that he could and would make the trip), a focus on image (giving to charity and everyone knows it, sits all the club all day to be seen) and finally, absolute uptightness (read any page of the book for an example of this). Verne makes comments every now and then which I think are meant to poke fun at these perceived English characteristics: the “proverbial coldness of [the English] gentlemen” and if the trip “can be done at all, then it’s only right that an Englishman should be the first to do it.” Ch. 2, Ch. 6.

My prediction is that despite all of Phileas’s precise calculations and determination to make the trip, the Frenchman is going to be the real hero of the story and the most loveable character. I mean the guy was in the circus and has “lips that were made for eating, drinking and kissing.” Ch. 2. Besides, he has a history of getting himself out of tricky situations and I foresee that as coming in handy for this world trip. So, is Phileas giving . . . sure. Is he kind-hearted . . . not so far. I hope he will learn a thing or two from Passepartout on this trip.

So, to comment on the first six chapters write as little or as much as you want about whatever you want. I had a couple of questions that I haven’t figured out yet in case anyone has any thoughts: What is Phileas’s motivation for taking this trip?; What is Phileas’s or Verne’s obsession with numbers/time?; Phileas says, “There’s no such thing as the unexpected.” Ch.3. Are we supposed to believe him and won’t it make a boring novel if he is right and/or has that even proven true so far?

Posted by Shyla

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Our first post will be due on June 17th. If you finish and would like to make your comments at an earlier date, that would be fine.

Friday, June 1, 2007

"Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne

We have chosen our first book! Karen promises we will all love this book. Here is a little information on the book:

"Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly-employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club."

"Around the World in Eighty Days was written during difficult times both for France and for Verne. It was during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) in which Verne was conscripted as a coastguard, he was having money difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties), recently his father had died, and he had witnessed a public execution which had disturbed him. However despite all this Verne was excited about his work on the new book, the idea of which came to him one afternoon in a Paris café while reading a newspaper."

"Verne is often characterized as a futurist or science fiction author, but there is not a glimmer of science-fiction in this. Rather than any futurism, it remains a memorable portrait of the British Empire "on which the sun never sets" at its very peak, drawn by an outsider. "