Determined to knock off a few books from my own TBR shelves, I picked up Journey to the Centre of the Earth the other day. I'd just finished Armadale, after a month-long read, and just couldn't bear committing to another dense Victorian. Specifically, I picked this one up because it had an introduction by the late Diana Wynne Jones -- which is why I probably purchased it in the first place. It's one of the charming Puffin Classics editions packaged for children. (Ithink it was a buy one, get one special at Barnes & Noble.)
So, if you were wondering about the plot, it is exactly as the title states. After finding an ancient code tucked in an old book, Young Axel and his eccentric scientist uncle, Otto Liedenbrock, leave their comfortable home in Hamburg and attempt to explore the center of the world, via a volcano in Iceland. Axel nervously agrees to the crazy scheme, believing there's no way they will actually get that far.
But clearly, they do, and make astonishing discoveries along the way, with the help of an Icelandic guide named Hans. The first quarter of the book are pretty standard let's-go-on-a-trip with all the preparations, sea voyage, and encounters with a different culture. But eventually, they make their descent through an dormant volcano, Sneffels, (better known in Iceland as Snaeffelsjokull).
|The actual Snaeffelsjokull in Iceland.|
A couple of years ago I tried listening to an audiobook of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but I eventually gave up on it -- after awhile I got bored and I remember it just seemed like a lot of lists of undersea flora and fauna. I did get a bit of that in Journey to the Centre of the Earth as well -- I know Verne did a lot of research and I can only guess that he wanted to pack everything in. I'm afraid I did tend to skim over a lot of the scientific details of this book, especially the parts about calculating depth and suchlike. However, it has inspired me to consider visiting the Natural Bridge Caverns, which are just a short drive away.
|Underground lake in Natural Bridge Caverns.|