Title: Three Men in a Boat
Author: Jerome K Jerome
Genre: Fiction, Humour, Travelogue
It had been a while since I read one of the Classics of English Literature. “Three men in a Boat” became a fantastic choice to revisit the era because of (a) the fantastically named author with the same first and last names, and (b) being mentioned in the writings of Mr. Bond which I read a few months back.
I had read the book quite some years back and yet it still seemed fresh on re-reading. I guess that’s why these are classics – one can revisit them at intervals!
It’s a tale of adventure, and quite a bit of it is not even real adventure. It’s the account of three men and a dog undertaking a fortnight long trip on Thames by boat. From planning, to packing, to setting out, then encountering myriad things as they row their boat up the river, and finally abandoning the trip! Every step is full of anecdotes and further anecdotes. Also, it serves as a travelogue with histories of the sights along the way.
Why the book clicks – because of many passages which are still so relatable even though more than a century has passed since its first publication. Passages like
- "Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, enough to eat and enough to wear" - No better explanation of life and wants & needs!
- Also reading about ailments and discovering you have the same - not much different from googling diseases and wondering how you are a medical miracle to be still alive!
- "Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before?" - Our tendency to hold on to things assuming they have value!
- "What the eye does not see, the stomach does not get upset over" - Thats why don't peek into the kitchen of any restaurant!
- "I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me" - the epitome of being busy and lazy!
And a major learning: Pub is shortened form of public house
Overall, quite fun to revisit that era.
Previously on BookMarks: Let Me Say it Now