• SumoMe

To kick off the Books for Men series, I recently read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and I couldn’t have picked a more exciting read to start this series. Because of the book’s wild popularity and adaption into film, I knew the general premise behind the plot. However, having not read the book before (nor seen the film) I wanted to experience the work myself.

The book starts off with action, ends with action, and is filled with excitement in the middle. The only real downtime comes when Verne takes a chapter to flaunt his imagination and describe with impressive detail the flora and fauna of the deep seas through the eyes of our first-person protagonist Arronax (and I even have problems referring to these parts as “downtime”). Trapped (although whether he was or not is debatable) aboard the Nautilus, marine scientist Arronax is conflicted: on the one hand, he has the opportunity to explore parts of the submarine world that others can only dream about; on the other hand, he has no real reliable means of escaping the vessel captained by the reclusive Nemo, who avoids all contact with society.

Faced with the problem of whether he should leave the most amazing adventure of his life, or inevitably die at sea away from all that he loves on land, Arronax’s plight raises some interesting questions for men.

If you recently came into trouble at sea (thrown overboard), are you finding ways to make the best of the situation? Are you striking the right balance between personal pursuits and family (staying aboard the Nautilus or returning to the ones you love)? What, if anything, are you willing to pursue even if it could mean your death?

Doubtless these are not the only questions raised by the work, as each reader draws something unique from their experience. When you read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you are sure to have a lot of fun going through Arronax’s struggle, and hopefully define parts of your own work / life conflict.