The latest book I finished is Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon or Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen. It is the first book in the Jules Verne Collection I bought from the Kindle store.
This was a tough read for me. I almost stopped reading at the start given the scientific (e.g., how the balloon functions) and historical (e.g., previous expeditions) references in the first few chapters. In addition, difficult words abound in this edition; for some words, it was even the first time I encountered them (NOTE: Thankfully, I am reading via Kindle which has a built-in dictionary/word look-up).
But, I was after an “adventure” and this kept me going to push and read on.
At the end of the book, I have to say I did get my aeronaut adventure crossing Africa. A lot of trials were experienced by Dr. Samuel Ferguson, Joseph “Joe” Wilson and Richard “Dick” Kennedy throughout their five-week journey – dehydration, lack of wind, bandits and condors, etc. It was not a smooth five weeks, especially in the last few stretches of the trip. I do not fancy this kind of trip, but it was an experience and exercise for the imagination. As they put it:
these trips across the desert are far more perilous than those across the ocean. The desert has all the dangers of the sea, including the risk of being swallowed up, and added thereto are unendurable fatigues and deprivations.
Joe stood out for me in this trip, even with his short episode of greed.
However, nowadays, there are probably better and more accurate description of the wonders of African continent, especially its human population. I have not been there but the consistent description of them as gullible, savages and cannibals, among others, I felt was a bit over the top.
Glad I was able to finish this one. Now I need a lighter read.