Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Review #1: A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

     There have been a few movies that have been based on Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It also inspired an album of the same title by Rick Wakeman (Yes) along with The London Symphony Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir in 1974.

     The only movie that I've seen of it was the one from 1959 with Pat Boone and James Mason.  After reading the book, I tell people not to expect the book to be the same as the movie. Yes there are some similar adventure, but characters and the country that it started out was Germany instead of England. I can understand that they tried to make the movie more appealing to a wider range of people, but the book is better than the movie in my opinion.

     The main characters are Professor Von Hardwigg and his nephew Henry (Harry) along with Hans, their Icelandic guide. The book follows Professor Hardwigg and Henry, when after Professor Harwigg comes across a loose document when looking at a 12th century book about Norwegian princes that had reigned in Iceland. After deciphering the document they discovered that the document was written by Arne Saknussemm, a 16th century professor from Iceland that claimed he found a route and had gone to the center of the earth and back. The document told where to look for the starting point for the journey. Within days of deciphering the document they started of for Iceland from Germany with a stop in Denmark along the way. After arriving in Iceland, they were introduced to Hans by a prominent person in Iceland. They start for the place the document said to enter the journey a few days later.

     This book refers to geological terms quite often (mainly different kinds of rocks) and science throughout the book. If you are a fan of science, you might like this book.

     The only confusing thing to me in this book is sometimes the nephew is called Henry and other times as Harry. I'm just wondering if Harry was a nickname.

Tim's Rating: ****
(4 out of 5 stars)


  1. Hi Tim - I read all these Jules Verne books as a kid. This one I tried again a couple years ago but didn't get too far. Verne's books start slow until you get a little ways into them. I was trying to read a small-print paperback, too, and its tough on my eyes.
    I don't think the book has any women on the trip, right? A sign of the times.
    As for Henry/Harry, Harry was an affectionate nickname for Henry. You can see that in Shakespeare when Henry V walks among his troops the night before a battle with a much larger French army. He bolsters the spirits of his men and the narrator calls it "A little touch of Harry in the night".
    I'll have to throw this book on my tablet and give it another whirl.

    1. Thanks for the comment Marty. You are right about no women going along on the trip. As for the nickname, I didn't know. My grandfather's first name was Henry, but he was usually called Hank or Hans (his middle name). It's nice having it on the tablet since you can adjust the font size and colors to make it easier on the eyes. I have the colors set on all of my ereader software to white letters on a black background and I find I have less eyestrain and headaches with those colors.