It is a book that I have heard of, but never read during high school or college. In all honesty, I don't think I would have understood or appreciated it as much as I did now.
The story revolves around a wealthy gentleman named Phileas Fogg who, one evening at the Reform Club, rashly bets his companions £20,000 that he can travel around the entire globe in just eighty days - and he is determined not to lose.
This reserved Englishman, who has a methodical, well-established daily routine, immediately sets off for Dover, accompanied by his male French servant named Passepartout. The duo - who eventually becomes a trio when they rescue an princess in India.
Aouda, the princess, was the daughter of a Bombay Parsi merchant who was married against her will to the Hindu ruler of Bundelkhand, an Indian princely state. At the death of her husband, she was about to be sacrificed by Hindu monks as a suttee at her husband's funeral pyre until Fogg and Passepartout intervene.
This is one of many adventures that happen throughout the book as the group traveled by train, steamship, sailing boat, sledge and even an elephant. They overcame storms, kidnappings, natural disasters, and Sioux attacks.
The beginning of the book was a bit slow. However, it began to become more interesting as a new character - Inspector Fix of Scotland Yard - was introduced. He believed that Fogg robbed the Bank of England so he could win the wager.
Around the World in Eighty Days was an intriguing combination of geography, culture, and religion across multiple continents and through many countries. There was a sense of adventure and exploration - all done in a limited amount of time.
The vocabulary in the book is varied and rich...more so than many contemporary books that I've read which is refreshing. I also liked the concept of trying to travel around the world - perhaps not in such a rushed fashion - but taking the time to explore the wealth of beauty, spirituality, art, culture, and wildlife that would be in each part of the world.