What classic has most surprised you so far, and why?
I believe it has to be Three Men in a Boat.
Mom had this book in her shelf for years and years and I never bothered to pick it up because…well…three men in a boat doesn't really sound like much fun. For one thing, I know nothing of boats. For another, a story about three men confined in one space? How boring!….or so, I had thought until I finally picked up this book.
I cannot tell you what prompted me to read it finally. I hadn't a clue what it was about, save for what the title said…and that it was humorous — though I was quite skeptical about that. (I had conveniently forgotten having read essays by Jerome K Jerome and finding them hilarious.)
However, having once picked it up I found myself laughing so much (more than I have done over a book in a very very long time!), nodding in agreement with much of J K Jerome's little snippets of life-sayings, and being quite blown away by how wonderfully, and beauteously poetical Jerome was prone to get. I was also quite startled to find that it was actually a creative travelogue of a journey down (or was it up?) the River Thames. Had I known this, again, I might never have touched this book. But having learnt of it only on the reading, I was really glad of it, and it has actually inspired me to pick up and read other creative travelogues! My first book in 2013 was Around India in 80 Trains, and I am hoping to read some William Dalrymple in the near future, plus I have also been inspired to give Around the World in 80 Days a go.
So, there you have it! In a nutshell — Three Men in a Boat which turned out to be a fun romp down the R. Thames and inspired me to start reading other creative travelogues.
Have any of you read Three Men in a Boat? What did you think of it? Do you read travelogues? What's your take on this non-fiction genre?