20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Published: 1870 (well before copyright – you can download the book free from Gutenberg.org, or from Amazon if you have a Kindle)

Genre: early science fiction/adventure fiction

Length: 288 pages

Setting: the oceans of the world, late 1800s

Interest: It was a bedtime story I thought Mr. Curiosity would enjoy.

Summary: There are rumors of a great whale in the ocean that can destroy a ship. M. Arronax, a scientist, and his servant, Conseil, are asked to join an American expedition to find this while. On board is the great whaler, Ned Land. When they encounter the whale, it turns out to be a submarine, the Nautilus, led by Captain Nemo. M. Arronax, Conseil, and Ned Land end up on the Nautilus and see many amazing sights throughout the ocean, from the tropics to the South Pole. Along the way, they battle squid, whales, and other ships. Finally, the main characters escape from the Nautilus.

Final thoughts: I had read the book a long time ago and only remembered one big moment (getting trapped by the iceberg). Verne must have been a closet naturalist because there were many lists of organisms seen or caught in nets. We got a little tired of it by the end (it took MONTHS to finish the book), but we still enjoyed the end. It’s also interesting to read some of Verne’s speculations about the natural world and technology, like the fact that you could get to the South Pole underwater. Not so much! It’s not the greatest book to read out loud; I would have skimmed more of the lists if I were reading it to myself.

Title comes from: The distance of their journey around the world in the Nautilus.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None, since this is a review of a book read in a previous year.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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