Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eighty Days

Author: Matthew Goodman

One-sentence summary: At the turn of the century, two American women journalists set out on a race around the world aimed at beating Phileas Fogg’s fictional record of 80 days.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 6

Our favorite thing about it: We enjoyed hearing about historical details and information.

Our least favorite thing about it: Unfortunately, the book was too detailed and that distracted from the story.

Main Topics of Discussion: 1900s, Industrialization, British Colonialism, Immigration, Women, Journalism and Writing, Railroads, Travel

Our favorite quote: “That was what the trip had given her – the vividness of a new world, where one was for the first time…where the light of night and day had new meaning, where years of indifference could fall away like a dried-up husk and every sense respond with the keenness of faculties newborn.”

Notes: The overwhelming consensus on this book was that it was about 100 pages too long with far too many details. That being said, most of us enjoyed the details and historical information presented, but all felt that it really distracted us from the main story of the book, which was the race around the world.

So much detail was given about tangents from the story that every time the author would come back to the travels of the women, we would have to reorient ourselves as to where we were, who he was talking about and what was going on when we last left the story line. We felt that the editor should have cut 80-100 pages of this 400-page book to make it a more focused and less rambling narrative. The action of the story was simply buried beneath a mountain of historical detail.

Although we felt the details ultimately distracting, they did provide an interesting snapshot of the world, especially America, at the turn of the century (1900). The commentary on immigration, America’s view toward other nations, British Colonialism, and traveling customs in general were very enlightening.

The characterizations of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland were also interesting and also very lengthy. We got the impression that Nellie Bly was written in a less than flattering light, however the details surrounding these descriptions seemed factual rather than editorial.

Memorable Meeting Moments: Dara’s lemon curd was amazing, but the word “curd” is not. The difference between artsy, crafty, and just plain crazy…Lindsay knows the distinctions. And Stephanie opened her birthday books and cards.

What We Ate: Panko-Crusted Salmon, Orzo with Tomato and Asparagus, Kale, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette, Wheat Bread. And Cloud Cake with Homemade Lemon Curd and Fresh Whipped Cream for dessert.

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Lindsay said...

Love! Love all of the color. Yes, I feel especially superior b/c I know the difference between artsy, craftsy , and plain crazy! LOL. Probably b/c I represent the latter.

Dara said...

I love all the pictures! It is so fun to go through the Blog and remember each meeting! Thank you, again and always, for keeping this fabulous log of our meetings!!! You are amazing, Rachel!