Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Much like my attempt to read Moby Dick, it failed miserably. I had no stick-to-it-iveness, I guess. This somewhat turned me off to Verne. Maybe it was the translation, but I found the prose too dense for my young brain to comprehend. In 2009 I read Around the World in Eighty Days, and while I enjoyed it, it felt little more than an adventure novel, a travelogue. I would like to read more by Verne, but he failed to make my list of books to read this year. Maybe next year.Now, I remember when I was a lad, I tried to read
Wells, on the other hand, I did not even attempt until I was a bit older. Not that I thought it'd be too difficult, but he was an author who never really suggested himself to me. He stood back quietly and awaited my arrival. I was twenty the first time I read War of the Worlds. I was in Indiana at the time, which was when I mostly read nothing but C.S. Lewis. Wells stuck with me though. It wasn't until 2006 that I began reading other works by him. There are two used bookstores in my home town. They're right next to each other so I would always stop at one and then walk down to the other. Between the two, I found a good selection of books by Wells. All the well known titles, but also some more obscure ones, such as In the Days of the Comet and The First Men in the Moon, which is my favorite. I devoured them. Wells is the only author, saving C.S. Lewis, that I have devoted to reading so wholeheartedly, as I read him without stopping to read anyone else.
I hit a wall though when I began reading When the Sleeper Wakes, republished later as The Sleeper Awakes. I can't tell you why, but to this day, it's one of the few books I started and never finished. The story was interesting--a man stays awake for a long period of time and then sleeps for two hundred and three years. The writing was as good as any other Wells novel. But, I couldn't find an interest in it. My love affair with Wells had ended.
This was not too long ago--November of 2007, if I remember correctly--because When the Sleeper Awakes was a late find for me. I tried to read it again in the summer of 2008 and had the same difficulty. Perhaps I should've simply started on a different Wells novel--The Food of the Gods had recently shown up at one of the bookstores--but instead, I moved on to other things. That was the year I really got into Charles Dickens, and my interests had shifted from science fiction to the more realistic novels of the Victorian period (comparatively more realistic).