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Three Men in a Boat

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A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat includes an introduction and notes by Jeremy Lewis in Penguin Classics.Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they ca A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome's Three


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A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat includes an introduction and notes by Jeremy Lewis in Penguin Classics.Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they ca A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat includes an introduction and notes by Jeremy Lewis in Penguin Classics.Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks - not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.'s small fox-terrier Montmorency. Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and, with its benign escapism, authorial discursions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian 'clerking classes', it hilariously captured the spirit of its age.In his introduction, Jeremy Lewis examines Jerome K. Jerome's life and times, and the changing world of Victorian England he depicts - from the rise of a new mass-culture of tabloids and bestselling novels to crazes for daytripping and bicycling.

14 review for Three Men in a Boat

  1. 4 out of 5

    F

    Timeless. Bonus points for having a dog.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Three young gentlemen and I use that word very loosely are desperate to get away from the fast pace tensions of every day 19th Century London life ( the horror !). And go someplace else, they should have stayed put indeed. The men need a long rest, they're quite run down but from what though ? The boys don't actually work much, these hypochondriacs I mean sick men just want to have a little fun. J.(Jerome) thinks he has every illness in the book and he's read it too, except housemaid's knee. Tha Three young gentlemen and I use that word very loosely are desperate to get away from the fast pace tensions of every day 19th Century London life ( the horror !). And go someplace else, they should have stayed put indeed. The men need a long rest, they're quite run down but from what though ? The boys don't actually work much, these hypochondriacs I mean sick men just want to have a little fun. J.(Jerome) thinks he has every illness in the book and he's read it too, except housemaid's knee. That J. doesn't have, worries him immensely so leave the city or the end is near thinks the almost wise man. The other members of this desperate, oddball trio are J.'s friends George and Harris , don't forget Montmorency . The liveliest of the group he has four legs, is terribly short with a small tail, angers easily is always ready for a fight. Guarding everyone, this brave young man ( not technically) he's really a fox-terrier. After a considerable discussion a leisurely boat trip (of two weeks) up the Thames River sounds delightful, only smart Montmorency objects. But is outvoted 3 to 1, being a team player the irritated dog sorry Montmorency decides to join the others. They will row and tow and go nothing can be a better vacation? Packing and unpacking causes a little difficulty J, the best at this kind of exercise. And proud of his talents does the honors. While Harris and George lazily look on, comfortably sitting on their big posteriors supervising both sleepily say. They are hard working men no doubt ...The two proclaim numerous times ... Poor J, someone is invariably losing an article so he opens the bag and searches again and again, the humongous thing. I'm afraid the boys got carries away, and putting just a little too much in ... At last the trio...the four, are on the river. Slowly rowing up, their boat struggling against the dangerous current disaster looms everywhere yet now a miracle happens muscles soon develop, they become strong, hardy, brave gentlemen getting fresh air and healthy again ... Two row one steers, ( Montmorency must be the captain) guess which job the boys like the most. Harris has a slight accident, a tumble in the vessel legs up in the air still being such a great sailor stays on board. The picturesque view of the ever changing stream is worth all the trouble ... Small lovely villages, that seem quaint from another era however, I wouldn't drink the water there. Looking ... on the calm brownish river the red sunset, the yellow light shining on the waters, the purple sky above as the dark night closes in and bright stars appearing ... Roughing it on shore sleeping in their boat, with a cozy cover over them just as good as a bed, camping out how grand ... And exceptional entertainment too, a friend's Banjo playing ... doing his best. The singing by all, rather splendid...almost, taking a freezing dip in the inviting river before breakfast, trying to open a can of delicious pineapples unsuccessfully... and seeing how far you could throw it across the Thames ( WHAT SPORT). On the river in the boat as the cold rains come pouring down, drenched together dodging the big steamers and receiving many curses almost killed, yes the fun of it. Luckily Montmorency is there too ... A gentle charming, satire on the English way of life that is no more...very entertaining for people who enjoy people and all their peculiarities.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    What a brilliant book! If you are looking to the perfect follow up to The Pickwick Papers this is your genre. See what J (the narrator), George (the man with the orange red blazer), Harris and not to be forgotten Montmorency (the dog) experience on their picnic, camping and boat trip on the River Thames through the English countryside. If you know some places of the area described (like me) you see every step in full detail before your mental eye. Those episodes are so funny that you have a broa What a brilliant book! If you are looking to the perfect follow up to The Pickwick Papers this is your genre. See what J (the narrator), George (the man with the orange red blazer), Harris and not to be forgotten Montmorency (the dog) experience on their picnic, camping and boat trip on the River Thames through the English countryside. If you know some places of the area described (like me) you see every step in full detail before your mental eye. Those episodes are so funny that you have a broad grin upon your face in every chapter: The episode with the cheese, the anglers' lore with the trout, the failed opening of the can, bad weather and so on (there are also some fine illustrations in the edition I read). Every mishap possible seems to occur to our Pickwickian heroes here. Splendid humour. Or the episode when they came back to London... you simply have to read that episodic book and have one of the best laughs ever. Absolutely recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    Three Men in a Pastiche: To Say Nothing of the BoatThree tourists - A spicy meal - The effects of a typhoon - Picasso's masterpiece - Random thoughts on helicopters - The joys of being on landThree young men were waiting at the docks to be picked up by a ferry boat. The first of these men is Ted, a man widely praised for his lust for action. It is in his hands, his feet, his nose and other such things that the essence of his being lies. He is said to be the only man who is able to act more quick Three Men in a Pastiche: To Say Nothing of the BoatThree tourists - A spicy meal - The effects of a typhoon - Picasso's masterpiece - Random thoughts on helicopters - The joys of being on landThree young men were waiting at the docks to be picked up by a ferry boat. The first of these men is Ted, a man widely praised for his lust for action. It is in his hands, his feet, his nose and other such things that the essence of his being lies. He is said to be the only man who is able to act more quickly than he thinks, regardless of the fact that he does the latter so swiftly that many seem to doubt he does any thinking at all. This ability is most surprising in combination with his stubbornness to survive the whole business that is life with such bravado. He's a decentralised affair that would send many great communists in a frenzy, with his left hand doing a complicated thing with a phone while talking to a woman while his right eye is looking at his left foot as it kicks someone in the behind, with no apparent logic threading these disparate actions together into what one hopes can be called a "harmonious life" at the end of it all. The second man whose behind was just briefly mentioned is Earl. Earl is of a different nature altogether, so while his brother is widely praised for action, he is widely praised for nothing whatsoever. That is in part because kind hearts receive no praise in these cold and vicious times and because in a world where actions speak louder than words, he's got nothing to speak for him. He thinks before he acts, but he does the former so slowly that many seem to doubt he does any thinking at all, thereby allowing observers to give credence to the notion that he is his brother's brother after all. The third man who was accompanying these brothers is what one could call the happy medium, though he himself prefers to be referred to as the Golden Mean, since it has got a far less mundane ring to it. An astute observer with a charm that has enthralled entire ballrooms, a companionable polymath with the kind of razor-sharp wit that enlivens many conversations, a man that couples thinking to action like internet dating sites couple lovers to psychopaths, he is a man that is mostly known for his humility despite his many other talents. That third and quite frankly ravishingly handsome man is, as you may have surmised, your humble narrator.As we were sitting at the dock waiting for the ferry boat that would take us from one paradisiac island to the next, a pang of hunger got the better of me. A small food stand that was intelligently placed in the vicinity of the waiting space caught my attention and I sped towards it as rapidly as a crocodile would chase Louis Vuitton. Earl shouted some warnings as I went, relating to the poor quality of the overpriced food and the questionable hygiene and other such trifles that are exceedingly insignificant to a hungry man. I ordered some noodles with chicken and upon being asked if I wanted it spicy I requested it to be the Golden Mean of Spicy, where small tears of joy well up as your throat emits a gentle warmth and your tongue tingles in delight. Despite this elaborate explanation the vendor had misconstrued my meaning and served me with what once were the contents of the now dormant Mount Vesuvius. Appearances would have it that this devious man had scooped up the insides of this legendary volcano and decided to pour them on my chicken noodles in great quantities. I would have uttered an objection to his recipe, had it not been that my voice had made way for a column of blazing hellfire that only the steady stream of my salty tears could hope to put out. Miraculously I averted slipping into a coma and made my way back to my friends, just in time to get on the boat. As I regained the first traces of the power of thought, I ruminated on those tales of firebreathing dragons and thought it very logical that they always seemed in such bad spirits and further considered it to their benefit that they hadn't been expected to actually exist.It was a big ferry, and a fast one, if one could trust the pictures that adorned its flanks. On them the ferry was flying over the whiteheaded waves across a sky blurry with birds, clouds and rays of light. It was a white streak across a blue canvas that would make the most celebrated action painter, if ever there were such a thing, envious. As we settled down in the seats I mentioned to my friends that I have been known to get seasick, both as a warning as well as a supplication for comfort. I was met with a boatload of encouraging remarks. Ted pointed to the sunny sky and said that if the weather would be any calmer it would be mistaken for Earl. Earl pointed to the tiny waves and said that the only thing that could stir up a sea so calm would be Ted's feet after a cup of coffee. Thus it was with an easy mind that I heard the engines start up and we left the safety of the docks. Not five minutes had passed since we left the island when the sea changed its mind. Even though it was leisurely bathing in the sun only moments before, it now seemed to get itself into quite a state, as if suddenly recalling an important deadline or being roused up by a hysterical pregnant woman during an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon. As the waves got higher and the bumps got rougher, my visage must have gone through fifty shades of green. It had just settled on pistachio green with touches of grey and yellow when Ted and Earl gave me some concerned looks. Ted, who was sitting next to me, seemed mostly concerned for his trousers being in the line of fire in case my disconcerting complexion was but the forerunner of more imposing symptoms, while Earl himself didn't seem to possess the iron stomach he thought he did. Ted decided to get up on the roof of the ferry and get some fresh air, while Earl settled for a trip to the head. For some reason boats don't have kitchens or toilets but consist of "galleys" and "heads" instead. I have since come to believe these terms find their ancestors in the words "gallows" and "beheadings" and other such references to painful deaths, considering the entire construction makes one consider public executions as a blissful means of escape from that infernal vessel. To add insult to injury the seafaring folk devised the system of "nautical miles", giving false hope with regards to the distance one needs to traverse before being once again graced with land under one's feet. I would have gotten up as well and followed my companions outside, if only to throw myself into the sea under a lonely cry of despair, had not the adage of "you are what you eat" proved itself to be true as my legs slowly turned into the limp noodles I had eaten only moments before. A voice on the intercom informed the passengers of a typhoon that had been raging many miles away, a natural disaster of which we were now feeling the comparably tiny side effects. I had heard of the effect a small flutter of a butterfly's wings could have over great distances, so it came as no surprise that a typhoon should bring about catastrophic consequences on my feeble constitution. In response to the storm that had raged over fisherman's villages and quaint coastlines far away, ruining shelters and holidays alike, my stomach churned in empathy and cried for a prompt evacuation of its own residents. I've always thought of myself as a kind man with a good heart, but it appears that my stomach is my most sympathetic organ. It made me wonder if all that connected the wise and noble prophets of our great religions was that they all had a weak stomach in the face of misery, rather than a heart of gold. One of the seamen with a keen eye for discoloured faces had offered me a black, plastic bag that reeked of chemicals. Before I could even consider the idea of wrapping it over my head and letting the lack of oxygen put me out of my wretchedness, I had filled it up with my lunch, sadly noting that it had lost none of its spicy spunk before its return voyage. The fire was back and with a vengeance, as this time it seemed to have found the way through my nose as well. I cried silent and bitter sobs, my eyes red with burning tears, my cheeks grey, my forehead yellow and my chin dripping with green drops hovering over a black bag. I fancy I must have looked like my portrait if I had chosen to commission it to Pablo Picasso. In the meanwhile Earl had ventured outside and apparently had had the same idea to simply jump into the sea and hope that Heaven was a real place. He had lost his nerve at the last moment and held to the railing while being splashed by the cold water and attacked by an evil wind. Trembling, he welcomed this agony as it made him forget the reality of Hell that was his own body. His belly seemed to host the devil himself and all his minions, intent on entering this world post-haste. During the first convulsions Earl somehow still had the clarity of mind and the good fortune to find a vacant toilet bowl and lay next to it as long as necessary. He locked himself in and didn't mind the outrage of all the people, equally sick, rapping on the door. If this torment would last much longer he would offer himself up as a sacrifice to the murderous mass and do it all with a contented smile. On the upper deck Ted was feeling a bit queasy. He resolved to look at the horizon and fell asleep shortly after. I was working on filling up my fifth bag and had already gone over all possible solutions. Jumping off the boat was no longer an option and I could find no way to the Gates of Heaven with the limited tools at my disposal. No matter how hard I wished for a gun, the only thing that would be delivered was another plastic bag. Even though the evacuation of my stomach had been a resounding success, with not a single entity still present in that godforsaken place, the safety mechanisms seemed to prefer to make absolutely certain no noodle would be left behind. I think I have left my very soul in that last bag. Given the absence, thanks to lazy scientists all over the world, of immediate teleportation, my only hope was a helicopter, swooping down from the sky like an angel and taking me to golden shores. Who would have thought that such a ludicrous contraption would be the main flicker of hope during my darkest times? It looks like a curiously constructed metallic fish with a sad flower on its head, whirring through the skies in search of a place where it doesn't look ridiculous. Finding that such a place does not exist, some good souls resolved to paint big white circles with an "H" in the middle to give the mechanical monstrosity at least some semblance of a home. And yet it was this silly thing that I longed for in my last and most difficult moments on that diabolical boat on an equally satanic sea. After what according to my estimations must have been twenty-six eternities, we finally reached the harbour and were assisted to come to land. Once there it was with surprising ease that I found the will to live again, which was followed up by a healthy appetite and the desire to share my story with my companions. Earl had easily made his way through the angry mob, for they had helpfully decided to collapse outside of the toilet in a last effort to get the better of the motions of the sea. We looked into each other's eyes and found therein the understanding that we had been in hell, and survived. Ted merely agreed by saying that he found the trip, on the whole, rather uncomfortable, and that it would probably be best if we took a plane for the return trip. However aggravating his equanimity, both Earl and I hugged him in a moment of joyous relief and didn't let go until he punched us both in the ear. Oh, we were so happy, happy to live, happy to be on land, happy to note that regardless of everything that ferry had put us through, it did deliver on its promise to take us to Paradise.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    What a quaint little book!I had no idea this existed. But I'm definitely glad I could rectify that now.The story is that of three friends, elderly gentlemen, who decide to journey up the Thames in a little boat together with the dog one of them owns. The preparations for the trip are already very entertaining, but the trip itself is no less so. Apart from them actually travelling for a bit, we are treated to various stops along the way (I looked a few places up on a map and was delighted to see What a quaint little book!I had no idea this existed. But I'm definitely glad I could rectify that now.The story is that of three friends, elderly gentlemen, who decide to journey up the Thames in a little boat together with the dog one of them owns. The preparations for the trip are already very entertaining, but the trip itself is no less so. Apart from them actually travelling for a bit, we are treated to various stops along the way (I looked a few places up on a map and was delighted to see there are indeed so many interesting places along the river). During the voyage as well as the stops, there are some reminiscences, childhood memories as well as later encounters, from all three. All while they are stumbling about. You might have guessed that not only do they encounter a bit of bad luck, their own helplessness and the fact that they don't actually know what they are doing isn't helping either.The characters (the dog definitely being one of them) are very quirky. It's basically the story of three old(er) grumpy men travelling together with a dog, having some mishaps on the way. The way it was told was light and quite modern so the age of the book actually surprises.Seeing society through the eyes of the three friends (and the dog) was very funny and the light way the story is told in that is nonetheless full of dry humour makes it clear why this book was an instant success back when it was first published.Once again, I've chosen the audioversion and am glad for it because although I do not have the version narrated by Hugh Laurie, it was wonderful to have this story brought to life with the proper British accent.

  6. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    i have a friend named Albert. once, long ago, i was matched with him as a volunteer to provide him 'peer support'. our relationship as volunteer and client continued semi-happily for many years, until i started working for the agency that oversees these volunteer matches. when that match officially ended, we remained friends - although it is important to point out that the relationship continued within the same format: mainly me listening to him. Albert tells many uproarious anecdotes. he's a fu i have a friend named Albert. once, long ago, i was matched with him as a volunteer to provide him 'peer support'. our relationship as volunteer and client continued semi-happily for many years, until i started working for the agency that oversees these volunteer matches. when that match officially ended, we remained friends - although it is important to point out that the relationship continued within the same format: mainly me listening to him. Albert tells many uproarious anecdotes. he's a funny guy - a senior citizen with many tales to tell, a bitchy queen with many hilariously scathing remarks at his disposal, an opera lover and antique-collector who has educated me on these two topics (ones in which i had virtually no understanding). Albert knows how to TALK. he calls me almost daily with incredibly long-winded but often very wry stories, and during my visits it is story after story after story. i don't begrudge him any of this in the slightest - he's a lonely old man and i'm glad to support him. i love him. but gosh, at times it can get a wee bit wearying.Three Men in a Boat is like listening to Albert, except instead of an elderly gay man complaining about aches & pains and full of digressive but amusing anecdotes about life or whatever, the narrator is a young straight man complaining about aches & pains and full of digressive but amusing anecdotes about life or whatever. there are a lot of hilarious moments. there are even some moments that are moving or even full of beauty (well, two of them, prior to my page 100 stopping-point). but golly, it gets tiring. there is so little point to it all! just semi-amusing tale after tale, on and on and on, with virtually no movement. so very static. for example, over seven pages of 'amusing anecdotes' about tow-lines! really? Jerome K. Jerome, were you getting paid by the word? so i am doing what i could never possibly imagine doing to my dear Albert: i am walking out of the room, i am hanging up, i am ending this one-sided conversation. Jerome K. Jerome seems like a charming, sweet-natured man, but he is not my friend and i refuse to continue to provide empathetic active listening to a nice guy who is also, at times, such a bore. Jerome - sad to say - you're no Albert. his stories are more entertaining and he has a whole lifetime under his belt. that reminds me, i should call him back now.still, the writing in Three Men IS dryly amusing, i'll give it that.post-script: after reading miriam's comment below, i hustled back to the book to find this passage. it is about a page and a half, starting at the bottom of page 159. the three young men come across the body of a woman floating in the river and are later told her sad and moving story. it is a surprising change of tone for such a light-hearted, comedic novel of anecdotes. well worth seeking out, even if you are the kind of impatient reader, like myself, who gave up on the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I originally read this because I'm a big fan of Connie Willis and she went on and on about it, but when I actually read it, I was charmed for its own sake. :)It's all so very droll. Fish stories, laziness, incompetence, dishonesty, pathos and great verve stud these pages. It's an adventure for the ages! Of course, it's just three men in a boat, to say nothing of the dog. Set in Victorian England, it captures the overblown hypochondriac feel of the age. :)Well worth the read, and now I think I'm I originally read this because I'm a big fan of Connie Willis and she went on and on about it, but when I actually read it, I was charmed for its own sake. :)It's all so very droll. Fish stories, laziness, incompetence, dishonesty, pathos and great verve stud these pages. It's an adventure for the ages! Of course, it's just three men in a boat, to say nothing of the dog. Set in Victorian England, it captures the overblown hypochondriac feel of the age. :)Well worth the read, and now I think I'm gonna hunt down takers for a first or re-read of Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, which, I might add, might be a bit superior in every way. :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    It looked like a breezy read, a good-natured gently comical novel. Certainly it is not at all hard to read but nevertheless, this book was a grind for me to get through. Humorous novels suffer a great disadvantage in that I tend to expect to find something to laugh at on each every page. This is quite a tall order and very hard for most books to accomplish. P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett often make me laugh with their fiction but generally I try to avoid comedy no It looked like a breezy read, a good-natured gently comical novel. Certainly it is not at all hard to read but nevertheless, this book was a grind for me to get through. Humorous novels suffer a great disadvantage in that I tend to expect to find something to laugh at on each every page. This is quite a tall order and very hard for most books to accomplish. P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett often make me laugh with their fiction but generally I try to avoid comedy novels. I prefer humour to be a facet of the novel rather than the focus. Novels which are based on plots, thrills and characterization, including serious novels often make me laugh when the author slip in humorous scenes or dialogue at unexpected moments. This help to balance the overall tone of the book for me. Dickens is often funny somewhere in his long novels, even Victor Hugo's Les Mis has funny bits.With Three Men in a Boat I am surprised to find that the humour totally fell flat for me. I find the humour in this book is very tame, very polite and centered on the silliness of the protagonists, particularly the narrator. The style of narration is also rather whimsical, going off on tangents with little supposedly comical vignettes every few paragraphs. Unfortunately, I did not find any of it funny. The characters are indeed suitably silly but there is no depth to them, they are all self-absorbed and I could not work up any interest in their antics. Tomfooleries like getting up late, waiting for a defiant kettle to boil, drinking horrible tea and whatnot leave me cold.The entire enterprise seems completely pointless from beginning to end, and not a single chuckle escaped me. OK, it is a beloved classic which has been in print for more than a century so I have to respect it for that. If you find it funny I respect that too, but humour is very subjective and I subjected myself to this. Ah well, what you gonna do?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    Enjoyed this one so much!!!Some fun, some tears, some poetry and some second hand embarrassment.The first chapter made me burst out laughing so hard. If you are in the medical line and know similar people, you will know what I mean.And I knew I won't recover from it unless I read the entire book!The characters are so damn funny.It's the monologues that's like no book that would come out would ever achieve.The writing! It's the writing that made it so fun and fast paced to read.I don't know what Enjoyed this one so much!!!Some fun, some tears, some poetry and some second hand embarrassment.The first chapter made me burst out laughing so hard. If you are in the medical line and know similar people, you will know what I mean.And I knew I won't recover from it unless I read the entire book!The characters are so damn funny.It's the monologues that's like no book that would come out would ever achieve.The writing! It's the writing that made it so fun and fast paced to read.I don't know what I have been doing all this time staring at the paperback for more than 3 years. We have been staring at each other a lot this entire time. And now I know why!It's the story of three adult men who are tired, overworked and looking for some time off together. The cheese (mis) adventure, the weather forecast monologue, the train platform dilemma, the new places (oh!), the bickering over their daily routines, the nerd kid story, the characters getting lost and directionless now and then, Harris' comic songs, the boat struggles, the tea and meal monologues, George overthinking all the time, the Henry VIIIth thing, the mustard necessity, the ghost story, dialogues between the cat and Montmorency, when Harris and the pie disappear, the potato peeling scene, the swan battle, the punting, a dead body (?), the big trout fishing story, that photographer, that clever boy and the end. Enjoy!One of the characters is a hypochondriac. Overdiagnosing himself with all the information on diseases. (I don't want to know what would happen if he had internet access.)Love the lyrical writing in between. Otherwise it's just the chaotic adult characters going bonkers and being dramatic for (literally) EVERYTHING.The only way to enjoy this book is not to think too much while reading it. You will be able to enjoy it a lot more that way!The book has some pretty serious parts which I would want you to take your time. Some parts are heavy and most parts are satirical. But well, take your time while reading this book. You will enjoy their adventure more.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

    In this comic story about three friends on a boating trip up the Thames, Jerome K. Jerome—the narrator and one of the three men in question—weaves in countless anecdotes about his boatmates George and Harris and their various acquaintances, not to mention some very funny details about their misadventures along the way. Apparently, the author had originally intended this book to be a serious and stoic travel guide, and while there are some descriptions of the sites and local history along the way In this comic story about three friends on a boating trip up the Thames, Jerome K. Jerome—the narrator and one of the three men in question—weaves in countless anecdotes about his boatmates George and Harris and their various acquaintances, not to mention some very funny details about their misadventures along the way. Apparently, the author had originally intended this book to be a serious and stoic travel guide, and while there are some descriptions of the sites and local history along the way, even these passages are usually told with a good dose of irony, and in some places with quite lovely lyrical prose, actually. My only complaint is I kept wondering why there was not more mention of the dog, and which of his two friends he kept referring to as 'Montmorency', and I should honestly have caught on earlier on when Montmorency went and fetched after something... anyway had to wait until the very end of the story before I realized they were of course one and the same. Silly me. Did I just give away a spoiler? I can't even be sure! Lol. Loved Steven Crossley's narration on my Tantor Audio edition, and I have since sought out more books read by him. This is a title I'll be revisiting often, which is easily done as it's short and is sure to make me chortle here and there, as I like this sort of British humour! :-)

  11. 4 out of 5

    karen

    a taste:the members have spoken: Three Men in a Boat will be our first group read. if it goes well, we can read other books together and see what we learn.so, again, the point of our reading a book together is so we can all learn how to extract appeal factors from a text, and learn how to discuss books in a way that is relevant to a readers' advisory scenario.the deadline for finishing the book is june 1st.i will be posting some information on here from NoveList, which will be useful to glance o a taste:the members have spoken: Three Men in a Boat will be our first group read. if it goes well, we can read other books together and see what we learn.so, again, the point of our reading a book together is so we can all learn how to extract appeal factors from a text, and learn how to discuss books in a way that is relevant to a readers' advisory scenario.the deadline for finishing the book is june 1st.i will be posting some information on here from NoveList, which will be useful to glance over before starting the book, just to help get a sense of what kinds of things to be on the lookout for.are we excited? .............okay - they changed my schedule this week, so i have to go in earlier than planned, but i will be able to pop in periodically to contribute the discussion.so it's not about whether we liked it or not - for our own personal selves, that's great, but the questions that we should focus on are more: what are the appeal factors? what are the features of this book? to whom would we suggest this book? to whom would we absolutely not suggest this book? i posted some stuff in the thread directly below this if you are looking for some appropriate keywords/starting points.and i will be back on ASAP...............i would not recommend it to anyone looking for a prolonged narrative; it is definitely more a collection of episodic happenings. .............ummmmm no, i think it is very fast-paced. they are always bopping off to one thing or the other. there are sections where it slows down a little, when nature is described, but those sections are not very numerous..........you're not at all horrible!! this is how we are learning! and since it's just you and me there's no pressure!..........but it is a convenient frame to show off these characters in their laziness and quirkiness. ...........i still think it is character-driven because it is the way these characters view their surroundings that drives the plot, and their innumerable asides... ......yeah, it's definitely a very specific type of humor. that's why RA is so difficult when it comes to humor because everyone's got their own ideas about what that means. so many people just don't respond to british humor. ...i think there are enough silly episodes for it to escape the highbrow label. "there's a man in my bed!!""what shall we put in the stew!!" "oh nooooo what is happening??"ooh, and we forgot about writing style, which i think would be conversational, witty, and engaging....see what a genius you are!! i didn't even remember your list (i am at work so a little distracted), i just went to the page. JEEEENIUS!...........well, there were parts of it that were slower; when i get home i will have my copy and will show examples. but slow-paced books tend to have a lot of description, and long passages where there is just no actual action happening. something can be fast-paced and not be riveting if you are just not into the story....i will try to be clearer when i get home...or someone with the book there can do it if they understand what i am trying to say... .....................no, you are absolutely right. this book is something of an anomaly because the tone of it is so breezy and the sections are rather brief. maybe i am wrong though, this could be a whole discussion if anyone's game.there's not really any cause-and-effect beyond each individual section, either, so i think it makes it seem more like tiny little stories stitched together. but this is just my impression confused?? come hang out in my amazing RA group!! help me get better at leading discussions!! http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/5...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    1889 English humourIn the church is a memorial to Mrs. Sarah Hill, who bequeathed £1 annually, to be divided at Easter, between two boys and two girls who “have never been undutiful to their parents; who have never been known to swear or to tell untruths, to steal, or to break windows.” Fancy giving up all that for five shillings a year! It is not worth it.It is rumoured in the town that once, many years ago, a boy appeared who really never had done these things—or at all events, which was all t 1889 English humourIn the church is a memorial to Mrs. Sarah Hill, who bequeathed £1 annually, to be divided at Easter, between two boys and two girls who “have never been undutiful to their parents; who have never been known to swear or to tell untruths, to steal, or to break windows.” Fancy giving up all that for five shillings a year! It is not worth it.It is rumoured in the town that once, many years ago, a boy appeared who really never had done these things—or at all events, which was all that was required or could be expected, had never been known to do them—and thus won the crown of glory. He was exhibited for three weeks afterwards in the Town Hall, under a glass case.This famous short comic novel is full of the kind of riffing that modern stand-ups do – say, for instance, the famous Rhod Gilbert routine about his luggage at the airport*, rather dry, wry and prone to ridiculous deadpan exaggeration, based almost entirely on the observation that in this life everyone irritates everyone else and friends irritate each other the most. So, three men and a dog bumble around on the River Thames for a fortnight. There’s no story. Quite often the book becomes an actual travel guide :Round Clifton Hampden, itself a wonderfully pretty village, old-fashioned, peaceful, and dainty with flowers, the river scenery is rich and beautiful. If you stay the night on land at Clifton, you cannot do better than put up at the “Barley Mow.” It is, without exception, I should say, the quaintest, most old-world inn up the river. It stands on the right of the bridge, quite away from the village. Its low-pitched gables and thatched roof and latticed windows give it quite a story-book appearanceand by the way, the Barley Mow still exists, 130 years laterSo far no real surprises, but then, it seems, a switch flicks in the mind of JKJ and he totally forgets he’s writing a funny book and starts coming out with this kind of stuff:The river—with the sunlight flashing from its dancing wavelets, gilding gold the grey-green beech-trunks, glinting through the dark, cool wood paths, chasing shadows o’er the shallows, flinging diamonds from the mill-wheels, throwing kisses to the lilies, wantoning with the weirs’ white waters, silvering moss-grown walls and bridges, brightening every tiny townlet, making sweet each lane and meadow, lying tangled in the rushes, peeping, laughing, from each inlet, gleaming gay on many a far sail, making soft the air with glory—is a golden fairy stream. And you are going wait, what’s going on, is this a parody? And then he switches back into the whimsical and jovial as if nothing has happened.The oddest of these bits is when the three jolly chums are suddenly confronted by a dead body floating downriver, that of a woman suicide, they immediately decide:She had wandered about the woods by the river’s brink all day, and then, when evening fell and the grey twilight spread its dusky robe upon the waters, she stretched her arms out to the silent river that had known her sorrow and her joy. And the old river had taken her into its gentle arms, and had laid her weary head upon its bosom, and had hushed away the pain….Goring on the left bank and Streatley on the right are both or either charming places to stay at for a few days. The reaches down to Pangbourne woo one for a sunny sail or for a moonlight row, and the country round about is full of beauty. We had intended to push on to Wallingford that day, but the sweet smiling face of the river here lured us to linger for a while; and so we left our boat at the bridge, and went up into Streatley, and lunched at the “Bull,” much to Montmorency’s satisfaction.Such a crashing of tonal gears - it's the strangest thing I’ve read in a book for a long time. No idea what JFK thought he was doing. In the middle of the gentle humour it seems, well, really crass.But otherwise, rather loveable.* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OISGy...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Three young men from London in the late 19th century (all of them hypochondriacs) decide to take a two week trip "up the river". They bring with them the one man's dog and only the various things they will need. Or so they claim. The long passage about packing would indicate otherwise. What follows is a funny story in which a great many things go wrong, many other stories are told, and the dog proves to be the smartest of the bunch.The anecdotes the men share, always something that happened to a Three young men from London in the late 19th century (all of them hypochondriacs) decide to take a two week trip "up the river". They bring with them the one man's dog and only the various things they will need. Or so they claim. The long passage about packing would indicate otherwise. What follows is a funny story in which a great many things go wrong, many other stories are told, and the dog proves to be the smartest of the bunch.The anecdotes the men share, always something that happened to a friend or a friend of a friend, are funny. The antics of the three men themselves can be downright hilarious. If you like the classics and are looking for a quick, amusing read then I would highly recommend this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Prabhjot Kaur

    This is set in 19th Century London where three men and a dog go on a boat trip. It was supposed to be a travel book but became a laugh-riot instead.The writing was brilliant and I found myself laughing a lot. There isn't exactly a plot but it is full of heart-warming, some awkward and funny bits. I loved it.4 stars This is set in 19th Century London where three men and a dog go on a boat trip. It was supposed to be a travel book but became a laugh-riot instead.The writing was brilliant and I found myself laughing a lot. There isn't exactly a plot but it is full of heart-warming, some awkward and funny bits. I loved it.4 stars

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