MobileRead Discussion: Three Men in a Boat
#1  pilotbob 07-27-2009, 12:10 AM
So, lets talk about the July 2009 Book Club selection.


#2  pdurrant 07-27-2009, 03:18 AM
I liked it. The digressions that make up most of the book were interesting. The occasional flowery/literary musings were the only bits I didn't like, but they were few and short. I'd glad to have finally read it.

I did laugh out loud several times. The individual instances described were well done, but I especially liked the longer jokes. The one that sticks in my mind is J's inconsistency on the subject of steam launches.

The description of the suicide's discovery and history was moving. A reminder that the 'good old days' weren't all that good.

I can see why it has become a 'classic'. Well worth the time to read.

Quote pilotbob
So, lets talk about the July 2009 Book Club selection.


#3  Sparrow 07-27-2009, 04:49 AM
It's been a while since I last read it, and I found I'd forgotten most of the descriptive passages. The (Hiawatha-esque) section contrasting the river in good weather, with the river in bad weather was a beautiful piece of writing I thought.
I agree with pdurrant, it shone an interesting light on how things really were in 'good old days'. The bit about children throwing stones at the rowers was described as a pretty normal bit of fun - these days they'd get Anti_Social Behaviour Orders from the authorities (we're lucky that children today are so much better behaved than previous generations ).

As a literary work, combining other elements as well as the humour - I thought 'Three Men in a Boat' is a deserved classic, and hugely enjoyable.
As a purely comic work, there are funnier examples from (broadly) the same period imho (e.g. 'The Autobiography of Augustus Carp', 'Diary of a Nobody').

#4  Laine 07-27-2009, 07:08 AM
I've read this book several times and it always makes me laugh out loud. I have a film running in my head while I'm reading - and no I haven't seen a visual version.

On previous reads I never noticed the n word. ( To describe persons of colour ) That surprised me.

As a non driver the scene where all the shopboys followed them home with the shopping made me envious.

#5  pilotbob 07-27-2009, 09:39 AM
I will say I stopped reading a bit less than halfway through. To me is seemed like "forced humor". I found my self waiting for the "travel" parts and wishing the "funny ramblings" would stop. The river and locks were interesting to me... the workings of the tow ropes, etc.

Perhaps I will finish it off at some time... but I am having much more fun reading Old Man's War right now.


#6  CharlieBird 07-27-2009, 06:00 PM
I read through Chapt. 13 when I began to feel as though I were rowing in place! Bob pretty much described my take on it...liked the river/locks parts; the scenes along the banks. The three chaps...overdone, boring, and the dog a dud. Not my idea of a classic though it may be better a chapter or two at a time.

I did run across this poll ( putting Three Men in a Boat 49th on a list of 50 greatest novels of all time, so maybe I'm missing something. I cannot see it on the same list with To Kill a Mockingbird, Catch 22, To the Lighthouse, or any of the other 30 or so on the list that I have read or am familiar with. Or even a list of 500+ others that I should read!
hope the italics come out right. It's the first time I've tried using them.

#7  pdurrant 07-27-2009, 06:27 PM
Quote CharlieBird
and the dog a dud.
I do agree with this bit. The dog was unnecessary and didn't add anything. It would have been better to have said "nothing of the dog". The three men in a boat were based on real people, but the dog was an invention. It showed.

#8  khalleron 07-28-2009, 03:10 PM
I've lost track of how many times I've read this book, or how many copies I've given away. It always makes me laugh out loud, or at least snicker to myself, and my favorite bits are JKJ's observations on human nature. I used to have a somewhat hypochondriac friend who I used to tell regularly that she didn't have housemaid's knee.

The last friend I gave a copy ended up reading most of it out loud to her husband, albeit unintentionally. "Honey, listen to this!"

It does rather fizzle out at the end, but all in all, it's at the top of my 'funniest books of all time' list.

#9  roger the rabbit 07-28-2009, 04:01 PM
I read the top three in the poll and by far three men . . . . . was the best and funniest read. Two things that stick in my mind are the Fish in the case in the pub and the attitude towards steam launches. I chuckled most of the way through this book.

Of the other two I thought My man Jeeves was the better read.

#10  ruth1304 07-30-2009, 05:25 PM
I'm glad I read this. As I got into it I had vague memories of reading it before, years ago, but that didn't spoil it. It's not what I would usually read and not my favourite book this year (or this month) but I enjoyed it, although at the moment I'm not planning to read it again. It didn't make me laugh out loud, and like pilotbob I preferred the travel sections. I've started reading My Man Jeeves as well, but I'm reading it one story at a time.

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