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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 Montmore 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.


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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 Montmore 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.

30 review for Three Men in a Boat (Three Men #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    F

    I loved this book so much. Timeless. I'm not a big fan of classics but this was different. Great story. Bonus points for having a dog. The bit with the pineapple tin was brillant too. Cant wait to read this again.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Petra X

    This book is a strange mix. Part of it is of a particular kind of obvious humour. Sort of like watching a very pompous-looking person talking loudly into their cell-phone and paying no attention to where they are going and therefore fails to notice the banana skin everyone else has been avoiding. Bamm, down she goes, and hahaha, its just so funny, you have to laugh. There are also amusing incidents with the fox terrier Montmorency, whose chief pleasures in life seem to be fighting and hanging ou This book is a strange mix. Part of it is of a particular kind of obvious humour. Sort of like watching a very pompous-looking person talking loudly into their cell-phone and paying no attention to where they are going and therefore fails to notice the banana skin everyone else has been avoiding. Bamm, down she goes, and hahaha, its just so funny, you have to laugh. There are also amusing incidents with the fox terrier Montmorency, whose chief pleasures in life seem to be fighting and hanging out with packs of street dogs. One gets the impression that JKJ wouldn't at all mind being reincarnated as an immoral, street-fighting, anarchic dog in the care of very liberal and approving owners. The book is full of side-stories, none of them particularly interesting and some of them absolutely dire. Near the end was a highly-romanticised account of a woman with an illegitimate baby committing suicide by drowning. How the waters lovingly embraced her and gave her peace. That's what's wrong with this book. Highly amusing incidents intermixed with purple prose, a travelogue of some of England's most boring towns, and whatever struck the author as (I want to say interesting, but I don't believe it really) something that would fill in the narrative and be 'educational'. A good editor could cut this to a really wonderful funny book only about a third-long. In this case the abridged version would be a hell of a lot better than the original and I would have given it more than 3-stars. So humour - 5 stars Travelogue and lyrical pieces - 1 star Montmorency - 3 stars Av. 3 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Praj

    What a huge moron I was for not giving this book a chance. And now, I just can’t stop praising it. So here it goes… ‘Three Men in a Boat’ is an amusing account of three friends-Jerome(whom I’m in love with),Harris and George and of course their dog Montmorency; while on a little boating expedition. The three of them concur of being overworked and tired of the daily humdrum, are in a dire need of a vacation. After weighing options of a country trip and a sea voyage they settle down on a boat ride What a huge moron I was for not giving this book a chance. And now, I just can’t stop praising it. So here it goes… ‘Three Men in a Boat’ is an amusing account of three friends-Jerome(whom I’m in love with),Harris and George and of course their dog Montmorency; while on a little boating expedition. The three of them concur of being overworked and tired of the daily humdrum, are in a dire need of a vacation. After weighing options of a country trip and a sea voyage they settle down on a boat ride to a secluded and peaceful place. So, on a quiet Saturday they rent a boat from Kingston and while picking up George from his workplace they head out on a boating trip up to the River Thames. Right from hiring the boat to scheduling itinerary the story further propels into a comical sketch of various boating and camping mishaps. This is undoubtedly the wittiest and most entertaining book I have ever read. Jerome has a knack for creating even the utter sentimental pieces into this jubilation of jollity and intellect. Not a word passes by without giving a chortle or plastering a wide grin on the face. Every chapter brings with it a plethora of joyous moments and at times a series of wild laughter. The writing is sarcastic with a hint of sharp smartness to the core of my extreme liking. The comic flavors can be tasted from the beginning, especially when the author introduces the three central characters:- 1. Jerome(the narrator):-Thinks of himself to be a ‘walking hospital’. Jerome a pharmalogical wreck has somehow concluded that he has been inflicted with all sorts of diseases that ever existed by reading various medical pamphlets and imagining their symptoms. What is even hilarious is the mere fact of Jerome being heartbroken for not contracting the Housemaid’s Knee and goes to an extent of calling his doctor a quack for not being able to give it to him. 2.George:- a banker and of whom Jerome says, “George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two” 3.Harris :- “You can never rouse Harris. There is no poetry about Harris - no wild yearning for the unattainable. Harris never "weeps, he knows not why." If Harris's eyes fill with tears, you can bet it is because Harris has been eating raw onions, or has put too much Worcester over his chops.” In addition, episodes where the author recalls how his Aunt Podger used to take a week long refuge at her mother’s place when Uncle Podger donned the role of a handyman trying to fix “little” things in the house or how the making of Irish Stew from all the leftovers compelled Montmorency to add his bit by bringing a dead-water rat, brims with utmost hilarity. Reading this book is such bliss that I am already onto its sequel –“Three Men on the Bummel”.

  4. 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 housem 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, but 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 , yet 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, still , I wouldn't drink the water there. Looking ... on the calm, brownish river, the red sunset, the yellow light, shining on the waters, 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    Three Men in a Pastiche: To Say Nothing of the Boat Three tourists - A spicy meal - The effects of a typhoon - Picasso's masterpiece - Random thoughts on helicopters - The joys of being on land Three 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 Boat Three tourists - A spicy meal - The effects of a typhoon - Picasso's masterpiece - Random thoughts on helicopters - The joys of being on land Three 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    Okay. Right from the beginning, it is a hilarious thing to read. This book was written in 1889, and it is still too funny. According to what I read, at first, it was going to be a travel guide, but that got lost among the humorous anecdotes that took over the whole book. I thank you, Jerome, for that. So, three men (with a dog) started talking about how ill they were, almost like a contest on who was in the worst shape ever. And then, Jerome said his liver was out of order. Without visiting any d Okay. Right from the beginning, it is a hilarious thing to read. This book was written in 1889, and it is still too funny. According to what I read, at first, it was going to be a travel guide, but that got lost among the humorous anecdotes that took over the whole book. I thank you, Jerome, for that. So, three men (with a dog) started talking about how ill they were, almost like a contest on who was in the worst shape ever. And then, Jerome said his liver was out of order. Without visiting any doctor, he affirmed that his liver was out of order. How did he know that? Because he read a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed all the symptoms. And that single thing was my first hypochondriacal (is that a word?) laugh. I mean, don't most people do that? They feel unwell so they start looking for information, and suddenly they are writing a will because they KNOW it is their last week on earth. Then, if they have any time left, they visit the doctor. So, Jerome read that circular, and on another opportunity, went to the British Museum with the single purpose of reading about diseases (now, we have Wikipedia...). Anyway, every paragraph is filled with amusing lines; not stupid funny, but witty funny. The thoughts of these hypochondriacs are written in such a way that you are entertained all the way through. Who never experienced "a general disinclination to work of any kind"? Poor boy, he was not lazy, it was his liver! So, after all this chatting and feeling sorry for themselves, they arrived to the conclusion that all those maladies were caused by overwork. That is why they decided to take a boating holiday. While describing the trip, the author shared a lot of hilarious anecdotes. And I mean, a lot. The one thing I didn't like that much is the fact that this story seems to be told by a weird creature I named "Seinlet": there can be a funny paragraph narrated by a hilarious Seinfeld and the next one can be so dramatic like a dying Hamlet. It is an abrupt change and I was a bit lost. Jerome’s funny writing and the poetic writing are really good, if they are far, far away from each other, like in different books or something... Otherwise, it can be confusing. At least, it was for me. "I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever - read the symptoms - discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it - wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus's Dance - found, as I expected, that I had that too, - began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically - read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright's disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee. I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn't I got housemaid's knee? Why this invidious reservation?" "From the dim woods on either bank, Night's ghostly army, the grey shadows, creep out with noiseless tread to chase away the lingering rear- guard of the light, and pass, with noiseless, unseen feet, above the waving river-grass, and through the sighing rushes; and Night, upon her somber throne, folds her black wings above the darkening world, and, from her phantom palace, lit by the pale stars, reigns in stillness. "…we fall asleep beneath the great, still stars, and dream that the world is young again - young and sweet as she used to be ere the centuries of fret and care had furrowed her fair face, ere her children's sins and follies had made old her loving heart - sweet as she was in those bygone days when, a new-made mother, she nursed us, her children, upon her own deep breast - ere the wiles of painted civilization had lured us away from her fond arms, and the poisoned sneers of artificiality had made us ashamed of the simple life we led with her, and the simple, stately home where mankind was born so many thousands years ago." "But there, everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses." I can quote hundreds of passages. My favorite parts are the funny ones, of course. Oh my, how I laughed. I am out of synonyms for “funny” (I think you noticed that). Jerome, you are a new safe place for me. This is a solid 4.5-star book. Note: I read this book many months ago... I'm trying to catch up with my reviews. Aug '13 * Also on my blog.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    Updated in August, 2014 I lost count of the number of times I read this book. It was written in the late 19th century; it is still hilarious. The author attempted to write a travel guide on a Themes boat trip. At this, he failed miserably. In the book he switches the subject constantly telling somewhat related (or completely unrelated) stories; most of them are really, really funny. I always laugh out loud when I read his description of setting up a tent on a bad weather day, or the scene with Ge Updated in August, 2014 I lost count of the number of times I read this book. It was written in the late 19th century; it is still hilarious. The author attempted to write a travel guide on a Themes boat trip. At this, he failed miserably. In the book he switches the subject constantly telling somewhat related (or completely unrelated) stories; most of them are really, really funny. I always laugh out loud when I read his description of setting up a tent on a bad weather day, or the scene with George and Harris packing, or Harris performing comic songs - just to give some examples. What I found particularly interesting is that as I mentioned above we - the people of 21st century - still laugh at the same things which were funny in 19th century. I am fairly sure everybody heard the following quote: "I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours." This is the guy who said it first, in this book. As I mentioned, there is no point in describing a plot, as there is almost none, just one funny moment after another; still, I will try. Basically, three guys and a dog ride a boat on Themes. That's it: the whole plot. I would like to mention something else not related to the review, strictly speaking. As I read the book I realized they really knew how to curse in Victorian England. These days the art is lost, sadly. Read the novel to see why I mentioned it. Conclusion: very funny, 5 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    It's a book of comical anecdotes strung together to compile the history of a 2 week vacation of 3 men who rent a boat and go rowing on the Thames. Oh, and their dog, Montmorency, goes along. It is one comic episode after another and so ridiculous that it could be titled 3 stooges in a boat and I wouldn't bat an eye. I did enjoy it and it was quite successful in it's day. I give it 3.5 stars, the extra half goes to the dog.

  9. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol.

    https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/... I love To Say Nothing of the Dog. Adore it enough to own two copies, a paperback for reading/ lending, and a hardcover for keepsies. Love it enough, in fact, to write a ridiculous review comparing it to a Beethoven symphony (my review). Willis dedicated her book to Heinlein, who “introduced me to Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat.” So when I saw Project Gutenberg offered Three Men in a Boat, I snatched it up. It is the time of year when I don’t have mu https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/... I love To Say Nothing of the Dog. Adore it enough to own two copies, a paperback for reading/ lending, and a hardcover for keepsies. Love it enough, in fact, to write a ridiculous review comparing it to a Beethoven symphony (my review). Willis dedicated her book to Heinlein, who “introduced me to Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat.” So when I saw Project Gutenberg offered Three Men in a Boat, I snatched it up. It is the time of year when I don’t have much time to devote to reading, particularly not long, involved plots with thirty-four funky character names, taking place in imaginary worlds I can’t pronounce (or even in this one, Mr. Jonathan Strange). Three Men seemed perfect for the kind of read I was looking for, and it turned out to be true. But I’m viewing it through the fond lens of a reader of To Say Nothing of the Dog, whose author was clearly amused by Three Men in a Boat, whose own author was riffing on other Victorian tales. So it’s all a bit meta, and I can’t really tell if I love it, or just the spiderweb of connections I feel with the authors. Let me be honest: there’s virtually no plot. It’s an uneven narrative, flagrantly digressive, in which Bertie, I mean, Jerome, George, William Harris–to say nothing of the dog, Montmorency–are interacting in an Abbott and Costello sort of way as they plan, travel and conclude an idyllic boat ride down the Thames. Narrated by Jerome, the details of the trip are frequently interrupted with humorous asides, commentary on the sights of the Thames and musing on historical sites they are passing. Characterization is about all that holds it together– detail on historical events near the Thames, is frankly, rather yawners, as I am indifferent student of historical events (signing of the Magna what?). And yet Three Men in a Boat amused me. It could have been the beginning, in which “We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were–bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course. … With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all. It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medical advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form.“ Though written in 1889, it indirectly emphasized to me, a nurse, that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I think that’s why the characterization appeals so much. The three men bear a strong resemblance to people we all know; in fact, I was rather reminded of Jerry, George and Kramer, whose own self-absorbed behavior provided so many laughs. For instance, after Jerome tells a story about another man watching him work, he comments: “Now, I’m not like that. I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.“ As a dog person, I couldn’t get enough of the sassy, spirited Montmorency: “We went downstairs to breakfast. Montmorency had invited two other dogs to come and see him off, and they were whiling away the time by fighting on the doorstep. We calmed them with an umbrella, and sat down to chops and cold beef.“ But it wasn’t all irony and laughter, there were moments of quite lyrical, perhaps even indulgent writing (to take a line from Willis: “a tendency to maudlin sentimentality, like… a Victorian poet cold-sober”): “In the sunlight–in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us, we like the open hillsides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house.The we sit and sob, and long for the gas-lit streets, and the sound of human voices, and the answering throb of human life. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness, when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind.“ Without doubt, it kept me entertained. Read in small doses before bedtime, it perhaps started to feel a little like the three men experiencing the Thames: interesting, humorous, thoughtful, and perhaps just a day or two too long. Hopefully, the above quotes give enough of a flavor to see if it will appeal. For me, I’m looking forward to my next read of To Say Nothing of the Dog; with the insight I’ve gotten from Three Men, I expect it to be even more amusing.

  11. 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. :)

  12. 5 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. although 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 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. although 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 drily 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    The story starts off with a man feeling out of sorts with his London life and leafing through a medical dictionary. Quickly he realises that he is suffering from every single aliment described - with the exception of washerwoman's elbow. He rushes off to see the doctor who listens to his story and prescribes him a simple holiday with a pork chop and two pints of beer daily for dinner. So begins a classic of southern English humour. What strikes me how contemporary the basic set up still feels. An The story starts off with a man feeling out of sorts with his London life and leafing through a medical dictionary. Quickly he realises that he is suffering from every single aliment described - with the exception of washerwoman's elbow. He rushes off to see the doctor who listens to his story and prescribes him a simple holiday with a pork chop and two pints of beer daily for dinner. So begins a classic of southern English humour. What strikes me how contemporary the basic set up still feels. An indefinable wrongness and dissatisfaction with daily life, the Doctor in this case acting not as a medical expert but as an embodiment of wisdom. The solution - being forced to appreciate the basic pleasures of life, which as the story unfolds are more than just pork chops and beer (view spoiler)[ I hasten to add to reassure those who are not keen on either (hide spoiler)] but more generally an awareness of everyday absurdity. The journey of three men and a dog in a boat along the Thames prides a basic framework from which all kinds of comic set pieces can be hung. Rather than go into those struggles with a recalcitrant boat and the fishermen's delight in spinning sagas I'll tell a different story that I heard at a funeral some years ago. The speaker was remembering his deceased friend who we were laying to rest that day and how when they were all young they decided in the spirit of Three Men in a Boat to travel along the Thames (although admittedly without a dog). Anyhow after a particularly long and tiring day they came ashore by a pub, a very fancy and particular looking establishment to be sure, and one of them went in and asked the barman for three pints of beer. With more than a slight sneer the barman said "we don't serve pints here". To which the traveller in all innocence replied "oh, well, in that case can I have six halves please". As it happens in case anybody thinks such stories are too remote from reality to be possibly true I'll add one of my own. With a colleague at the end of a working day we stopped at a public house, my colleague would invariably have a pint of a very commercial lager which I shall forbear to advertise, while I would apparently look for the meaning of life and so would happen on what ever suggested itself to me and so I asked for beer x ' oh ' quoth the young serving lad 'such beer is too terribly strong, we only serve it by halves', 'fine, I'll have two halves and a pint glass, then' to which request the lad complied. As perhaps you can imagine, the absurdities added most decidedly to the enjoyment of the drink.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Utterly delightful from beginning to end; had me in stitches more than once. I loved the digressions, the endless tales about friends and friends-of-friends; the charming diagrams; the sudden swoops into romantic (and Romantic) flights of fancy. In my mind, all three characters spoke like Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster (with similar sensibility; that is to say, none at all). I can't reproduce it all here, but one of my favorite scenes was that in which the narrator describes his loathing for stea Utterly delightful from beginning to end; had me in stitches more than once. I loved the digressions, the endless tales about friends and friends-of-friends; the charming diagrams; the sudden swoops into romantic (and Romantic) flights of fancy. In my mind, all three characters spoke like Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster (with similar sensibility; that is to say, none at all). I can't reproduce it all here, but one of my favorite scenes was that in which the narrator describes his loathing for steam launches -- hilarious! -- followed by the scene in which they are towed by a steam launch and the narrator rails against the "wretched small boats that are continually getting in the way of our launch." And the packing scene! "I never saw two men do more with one-and-twopence worth of butter in my whole life than they did." And the chapter headings! Loved. I am now going to go back and re-read that scene in To Say Nothing of the Dog in which they run into the hapless boaters. Folded corners: ...down he would slide on to the piano, a really fine musical effect being produced by the suddenness with which his head and body struck all the notes at the same time. And Aunt Maria would say that she would not allow the children to stand round and hear such language. The remaining four passengers sat on for a while, until a solemn-looking man in the corner, who, from his dress and general appearance, seemed to belong to the undertaker class, said {the smell of the cheese} put him in mind of a dead baby; and the other three passengers tried to get out of the door at the same time, and hurt themselves. They started by breaking a cup. That was the first thing they did. They did that just to show you what they could do, and to get you interested. Montmorency was in it all, of course. Montmorency's ambition in life, is to get in the way and be sworn at. If he can squirm in anywhere where he particularly is not wanted, and be a perfect nuisance, and make people mad, and have things thrown at his head, then he feels his day has not been wasted. She was nuts on public houses, was England's Virgin Queen. There's scarcely a pub of any attractions within ten miles of London that she does not seem to have looked in at, or stopped at, or slept at, some time or another. ...a gentleman in shirt sleeves and a short pipe came along, and wanted to know if we knew that we were trespassing. We said we hadn't given the matter sufficient consideration as yet to enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion on that point, but that, if he assured us on his word as a gentleman that we were trespassing, we would, without further hesitation, believe it. You get near the kettle, so that it can overhear you, and then you shout out, "I don't want any tea; do you, George?" to which George shouts back, "Oh, no, I don't like tea; we'll have lemonade instead--tea's so indigestible." Upon which the kettle boils over, and puts the stove out. When I meet a cat, I say, "Poor Pussy!" and stoop down and tickle the side of its head; and the cat sticks up its tail in a rigid, cast-iron manner, arches its back, and wipes its nose up against my trousers; and all is gentleness and peace. When Montmorency meets a cat, the whole street knows about it; and there is enough bad language wasted in ten seconds to last an ordinary respectable man all his life, with care. Goring is not nearly so pretty a little spot to stop... but it is passing fair enough in its way, and is nearer the railway in case you want to slip off without paying your bill.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    This isn't really about three men in a boat, it is about Jerome being funny.

  16. 4 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?

  17. 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...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carmine

    Inno al lavoro (guardato da lontano) "La vista, da sveglio, di un uomo addormentato nel suo letto ha l'effetto di farmi impazzire. Mi sembra così sconvolgente vedere le ore più preziose della vita - gli inestimabili momenti che mai più torneranno - sprecati in un sonno bestiale. Ecco lì George nella sua odiosa neghittosità che getta via il dono impagabile del tempo." "Quando Harris viene invitato a qualche ricevimento, e gli chiedono di cantare, ha l'abitudine di rispondere:" be', sono capace solt Inno al lavoro (guardato da lontano) "La vista, da sveglio, di un uomo addormentato nel suo letto ha l'effetto di farmi impazzire. Mi sembra così sconvolgente vedere le ore più preziose della vita - gli inestimabili momenti che mai più torneranno - sprecati in un sonno bestiale. Ecco lì George nella sua odiosa neghittosità che getta via il dono impagabile del tempo." "Quando Harris viene invitato a qualche ricevimento, e gli chiedono di cantare, ha l'abitudine di rispondere:" be', sono capace soltanto di cantare una canzone comica. E lo dice con un tono in cui è sottinteso che almeno una volta nella vita andrebbe sentito, se si vuole morire senza rimpianti." Tre ragazzi, più un cane su cui è meglio tacere, alle prese con una travagliata gita in barca sul Tamigi. L'aspetto che più sorprende è il tempo passato, estremamente galantuomo verso un'opera che ha mantenuto brillantezza nella sua semplicità. Lo sgangherato trio, ottimamente tratteggiato con una peculiare tendenza all'ozio e nobilitato da slanci pseudofilosofici di bassa lega, diverte e colpisce nel segno a più riprese; quello che funziona meno è la continuità narrativa, difetto che emerge impietoso in quelle fastidiose transizioni fra i passaggi di connotazione storica - all'inizio l'opera fu pensata come guida turistica - e la vicenda narrata. Da applausi l'aneddoto su Zio Podger e il racconto della canzonetta comica di Harris.

  19. 4 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    1889 English humour In 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 humour In 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 appearance and by the way, the Barley Mow still exists, 130 years later So 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...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    That I read this novel is due to serendipity. Wanting something on the light side to read while spending a few days at the beach, I decided to check out some Scandinavian crime fiction. (Why did I think this would constitute "light reading"?!). A search for a suitable novel led me to read an article about Scandinavian crime fiction in the The Guardian. Nothing jumped out at me, other than a link to another article in the same newspaper: crime writer Val McDermid's Top 10 Oxford Novels. Included That I read this novel is due to serendipity. Wanting something on the light side to read while spending a few days at the beach, I decided to check out some Scandinavian crime fiction. (Why did I think this would constitute "light reading"?!). A search for a suitable novel led me to read an article about Scandinavian crime fiction in the The Guardian. Nothing jumped out at me, other than a link to another article in the same newspaper: crime writer Val McDermid's Top 10 Oxford Novels. Included in McDermid's list was a novel I'd never heard of before, Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I immediately decided to read. However, A GR friend's review of that novel referred to this book, which I'd also never heard of before. (I have, it seems, been living under a rock, because if the GR reviews are anything to go by, it's a classic.) Reading this before reading To Say Nothing of the Dog seemed like a good idea. So here I am, less than a week later, having finished reading this book and started on the novel it inspired. First published in 1889, the work is part novel, part travelogue and part memoir. Three friends - the narrator J, his friends Harris and George and Montmorency the dog, embark on a boat trip on the Thames. The narrative alternates laugh-out-loud silliness, bits of purple prose (which I think were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but may just be examples of high Victorian descriptive language), information about the not always interesting localities through which the friends pass and discursive anecdotes of varying degrees of inherent interest. It's a short work and there's enough humour in it to make the duller bits easy to get through. Reading this gave me plenty of laugh-out-loud moments on various forms of public transport. It's lots of fun.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Three Men in a Boat is one of those books which have become legend. It is quoted as a must-read for all humour afficionados: it is touted as one of the funniest books in the English language. So I am a little bit ashamed that I waited so long to read it! Then, you may ask, why only the three stars? Well... The pluses first. The book is really humorous: in many places, I could not control my sniggers and was doubled up in front of the computer screen (this was just before dinner yesterday, BTW, so m Three Men in a Boat is one of those books which have become legend. It is quoted as a must-read for all humour afficionados: it is touted as one of the funniest books in the English language. So I am a little bit ashamed that I waited so long to read it! Then, you may ask, why only the three stars? Well... The pluses first. The book is really humorous: in many places, I could not control my sniggers and was doubled up in front of the computer screen (this was just before dinner yesterday, BTW, so my wife thought I was in agony from hunger and ran off to the kitchen to heat the food). British humour is dependent on exaggeration and understatement. They exaggerate the humdrum (the smell of cheese in the railway compartment, for example, from the tome under discussion) and understate the momentous; and the disparity of scale produces the humour. But the prose is always dead serious, the writer never for a moment advertising the fact that he is writing something funny. It gets me every time, even on the re-reads (sometime, in the case of P.G.Wodehouse, even on the re-re-re-...reads). Jerome K. Jerome is a fine writer. As with all good writers of humour, language is putty in his hands. I can detect many of Wodehouse's classic turns of phrase in Jerome's work, so Wodehouse must have drawn inspiration from him. The minuses? Well, pretty much everything else. Apart from the humour, the book has little else to recommend it. The journey is rambling and uninteresting: the discussion of the English villages do not stay in the mind: the historical vignettes, even though well-realised, seems to be too "text-book"y and out of place: and one particular passage, about the corpse of the lovely girl floating in the river, is outright bad and could be straight out of a pulp novel. These dragged this book down from five stars to three stars for me. But I will still go back and read certain passages like Uncle Podger putting up the picture, Harris singing comic songs, the travails of the poor German singer, and George getting up early in the morning by mistake. These are vintage British humour. Recommended for all those who love to laugh.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mith

    The ridiculously short review - Three hypochondriacs - JKJ, George and Harris - (and their dog, Montmorency) decide to go on a boating holiday on the Thames in order to recuperate from all the maladies in the world that, they firmly decide, have manifested in them. Hilarity ensues. The "slightly" longer review - This gem of a book is laugh-out loud from start to finish. JKJ reminds you of P.G Wodehouse a bit, in his style of writing (I know JKJ was before Wodehouse, but I read the latter's works The ridiculously short review - Three hypochondriacs - JKJ, George and Harris - (and their dog, Montmorency) decide to go on a boating holiday on the Thames in order to recuperate from all the maladies in the world that, they firmly decide, have manifested in them. Hilarity ensues. The "slightly" longer review - This gem of a book is laugh-out loud from start to finish. JKJ reminds you of P.G Wodehouse a bit, in his style of writing (I know JKJ was before Wodehouse, but I read the latter's works first) though, somehow, I found JKJ's style more easy to read than Wodehouse's. It is simple, direct and the humour is just as relevant and witty even today. The book is generously peppered with witty anecdotes, hilarious observances and even the occasional sombre moments. JKJ, I felt, is at his best when he is recounting something that happened in the past, or explaining a hypothetical situation, rather than when he's recounting what's happening in the current trip or going all poetic while describing Mother Nature. Some of the parts that I nearly choked while laughing were - * When JKJ explains what putting up a tent in rainy weather entails. * The time Uncle Podger decided to hang a picture frame on the wall. * The time they used an oil-stove to cook food. * The time he decided to carry some cheese home for a friend. * The time Harris and he got lost in the maze at Hampton Courts. * When he explains, just how exactly, tow-lines are a health hazard. * The time he always ran into the same couple getting cosy, no matter where he went. * "Harris and the Swans, a remarkable story" I'll finish with a few quotes from the book - if that shouldn't make one read the book then I dont know what will! That's Harris all over - so ready to take the burden of everything himself, and put it on the backs of other people. Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing. Montmorency's ambition in life, is to get in the way and be sworn at. I do think that, of all the silly, irritating tomfoolishness by which we are plagued, this "weather-forecast" fraud is about the most aggravating. It "forecasts" precisely what happened yesterday or a the day before, and precisely the opposite of what is going to happen to-day. But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand. The barometer is useless: it is as misleading as the newspaper forecast. There was one hanging up in a hotel at Oxford at which I was staying last spring, and, when I got there, it was pointing to "set fair." It was simply pouring with rain outside, and had been all day; and I couldn't quite make matters out. I tapped the barometer, and it jumped up and pointed to "very dry." I tapped it again the next morning, and it went up still higher, and the rain came down faster than ever. On Wednesday I went and hit it again, and the pointer went round towards "set fair," "very dry," and "much heat," until it was stopped by the peg, and couldn't go any further. It tried its best, but the instrument was built so that it couldn't prophesy fine weather any harder than it did without breaking itself. It evidently wanted to go on, and prognosticate drought, and water famine, and sunstroke, and simooms, and such things, but the peg prevented it, and it had to be content with pointing to the mere commonplace "very dry." [On George's new hat] - George put it on, and asked us what we thought of it. Harris said that, as an object to hang over a flower-bed in early spring to frighten the birds away, he should respect it; but that, considered as an article of dress for any human being, it made him ill. I asked my cousin if she thought it could be a dream, and she replied that she was just about to ask me the same question; and then we both wondered if we were both asleep, and if so, who was the real one that was dreaming, and who was the one that was only a dream; it got quite interesting. People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained. We had knocked those three old gentlemen off their chairs into a general heap at the bottom of the boat, and they were now slowly and painfully sorting themselves out from each other, and picking fish off themselves; and as they worked, they cursed us - not with a common cursory curse, but with long, carefully-thought-out, comprehensive curses, that embraced the whole of our career, and went away into the distant future, and included all our relations, and covered everything connected with us - good, substantial curses. I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. We went into the parlour and sat down. There was an old fellow there, smoking a long clay pipe, and we naturally began chatting. He told us that it had been a fine day to-day, and we told him that it had been a fine day yesterday, and then we all told each other that we thought it would be a fine day to-morrow.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    A quick and funny read! The three men have a hilarious adventure in a boat on the Thames river.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maria João (A Biblioteca da João)

    9 de 10* Antes de falar sobre a história (fantástica) deste livro, gostaria de partilhar o quanto me fez viajar ao passado. Dei por mim, de repente, a perceber que “Três Homens num Barco” era o mesmo livro que “Três Homens num Bote”, um livro que li e reli na minha adolescência e do qual guardo memórias muito boas! Tinha uma ideia muito geral da história, porque já se passaram muitos anos e muitos livros lidos depois, mas foi um relembrar de episódios que me soube tão bem! Divagações à parte e fin 9 de 10* Antes de falar sobre a história (fantástica) deste livro, gostaria de partilhar o quanto me fez viajar ao passado. Dei por mim, de repente, a perceber que “Três Homens num Barco” era o mesmo livro que “Três Homens num Bote”, um livro que li e reli na minha adolescência e do qual guardo memórias muito boas! Tinha uma ideia muito geral da história, porque já se passaram muitos anos e muitos livros lidos depois, mas foi um relembrar de episódios que me soube tão bem! Divagações à parte e finda a leitura, a palavra que me ocorre para a descrever é “deliciosa”! Tudo é delicioso neste livro, a história, os personagens (qual dos três homens é mais peculiar? Não esquecendo o cão, claro!), as peripécias, tudo! Comentário completo em: http://abibliotecadajoao.blogspot.pt/...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laure

    Thoroughly entertaining - I have not giggled at a book so much since reading the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. Amazing that the wit and the slapstick are as vivid for a book published in 1889. Fun, fun, fun. Makes me wish that there were more books about in the same vein this century.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    This post is part of the 2016 Classics Challenge. “Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing." Suffering from every malady in the book except housemaid's knee, three men and a dog decide to head for a restful vacation on the Th This post is part of the 2016 Classics Challenge. “Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing." Suffering from every malady in the book except housemaid's knee, three men and a dog decide to head for a restful vacation on the Thames. Anticipating peace and leisure, they encounter, in fact, the joys of roughing it, of getting their boat stuck in locks, of being towed by amateurs, of having to eat their own cooking and, of course, of coping with the glorious English weather. WHEN I Discovered This Classic I can't quite remember but it might have been when I first got my Kindle back in 2011. I downloaded a whole bunch of out-of-copyright classics for free and this was one of them. But it wasn't until I started the classics challenges that I actually decided to read it. “We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can't do without.”  WHY I Chose to Read It I wanted a short, light read and this seemed like the perfect classic! I came across the audiobook on Spotify, and started listening to it on the way to work. WHAT Makes It A Classic It's one of the oldest books I've read –  127 years old! (That's 100 years older than myself). "I don't know why it should be, I am sure; but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up, maddens me.”  WHAT I Thought of This Classic Three Men in a Boat was a thoroughly enjoyable classic – and I don't say this lightly. It helped that I was listening to the audiobook narrated by Hugh Laurie, who was perfect for the story. It's told with typical British humour that I forget how much I enjoy until I hear it – witty, hyperbolic one-liners told in a serious tone. I rarely laugh at any book, but this one had me trying not to giggle on the way to work. Three Men in a Boat is exactly what it says on the tin (or should I say, cover). George, Harris, narrator Jerome, and a fox terrier called Montmorency (a fantastic name!) take a two-week boating holiday from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford and back again. Even though much of the story is about the everyday experiences of the river journey – from washing one's clothes to making a pot of tea – it's made much more enjoyable by Jerome K. Jerome's expert understanding of the things that tie us all together; it's like a 100-year-old version of Very British Problems. WILL It Stay A Classic Yes – even though it's over 100 years old, it still feels funny and fresh. I could quite believe that it was only published this year. WHO I’d Recommend It To People who enjoy British humour. People who want to read older classics. People who want to give classics audiobooks a try. “But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.” I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Evi *

    La lettura gusta al momento giusto, carino, spensierato leggero, per non pensare, un umorismo datato molto educato ma comunque apprezzabile. Nato per essere una specie di guida turistica per risalire il corso del Tamigi venne espunto dall’editore delle parti più storiche e geografiche e diventò un racconto di humor squisitamente british. Tre amici decidono di passare in barca un weekend lungo il corso del fiume, la convivenza forzata sulla barca, la loro imperizia quasi totale di navigazione i car La lettura gusta al momento giusto, carino, spensierato leggero, per non pensare, un umorismo datato molto educato ma comunque apprezzabile. Nato per essere una specie di guida turistica per risalire il corso del Tamigi venne espunto dall’editore delle parti più storiche e geografiche e diventò un racconto di humor squisitamente british. Tre amici decidono di passare in barca un weekend lungo il corso del fiume, la convivenza forzata sulla barca, la loro imperizia quasi totale di navigazione i caratteri divergenti creano un siparietto molto divertente, pieno di gag e situazioni grottesche e i tre sembrano un po’ come componenti di una coppia sul viale del tramonto che non si sopporta più. Alcuni episodi veramente spassosi: Come quando montano una tenda sotto la pioggia e si intrecciano tra corde tese picchetti e regole della fisica che traballano, oppure la gag della moka (o del bollitore del tè tanto sono intercambiabili) regola che seguo costantemente: girare sempre le spalle alla moka sul fornello e ignorarla, così il caffè uscirà più in fretta. E poi c’è Montmorency il buffo fox terrier che affronta il gatto: risulta evidente la superiorità del felino rispetto al cane che nonostante tutta la sua tracotanza soccombe in maniera quasi umiliata dinnanzi al gatto che con nonchalance e naturale altezzosità lo rimette al suo posto, sconfitta schiacciante e senza appello 1 a 0 per il mondo felino… eh sì perché il mondo si divide in due categorie: chi è di gatto e chi è di cane con eccezionali scivolamenti nell’una o nell’altra preferenza.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Archibald

    If you're looking for a book with a plot, this is not for you. But if you'd like to take a leisurely trip down the Thames in good company, I can't imagine a better book. Jerome K. Jerome, is even funnier than his name. I kept catching myself smiling as I read his account of his trip down the river with his two equally lazy buddies and his dog Montmorency. The book was actually less about the trip itself than a collection of daydreams and random stories pulled together in much the same manner as If you're looking for a book with a plot, this is not for you. But if you'd like to take a leisurely trip down the Thames in good company, I can't imagine a better book. Jerome K. Jerome, is even funnier than his name. I kept catching myself smiling as I read his account of his trip down the river with his two equally lazy buddies and his dog Montmorency. The book was actually less about the trip itself than a collection of daydreams and random stories pulled together in much the same manner as a really great dinner conversation with good friends. He spends a lot of the book light-heartedly poking fun at his own laziness and hypochondria. For example: "I can't sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can't help it." He also frequently jokes around about his writing: “Just when we had given up all hope -- yes, I know that is always the time that things do happen in novels and tales; but I can’t help it. I resolved, when I began to write this book, that I would be strictly truthful in a ll things; and so I will be, even if I have to employ hackneyed phrases for the purpose.” His writing is actually a lot like a river itself. It meanders all over the place, yet flows along very pleasantly. I'd call it stream-of-consciousness (no pun intended) but its not as pretentious and unpunctuated as that style usually is.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Yet again I tried to struggle through this classic. I first tried years ago because it was Mr. Russell's (Cliff's father) favorite book in Have Space Suit—Will Travel. (Yes, I've gotten a lot of my suggested reading from fiction authors. Heinlein, Louis L'Amour, & Roger Zelazny were all very well read & their recommendations should be taken seriously.) I keep running into references from or about this book, so I really want to read it to put them in proper context & made myself read Yet again I tried to struggle through this classic. I first tried years ago because it was Mr. Russell's (Cliff's father) favorite book in Have Space Suit—Will Travel. (Yes, I've gotten a lot of my suggested reading from fiction authors. Heinlein, Louis L'Amour, & Roger Zelazny were all very well read & their recommendations should be taken seriously.) I keep running into references from or about this book, so I really want to read it to put them in proper context & made myself read it. According to the Wikipedia article, Esquire voted this the second funniest novel of all time in 2009. Incredible. My funny bone doesn't seem to be located in the same world as theirs. I don't find most British humor or old humor particularly funny & this is old British humor so it's just a slog. The narrator is pitiful as are his companions. The Uncle Podger story was just asinine. The world would be better off without the 3 men, but the dog, Montmorency, showed some promise. There wasn't nearly enough about him, though. I could take about 15 minutes of this & then I zone out or find myself grinding my teeth, so I switched to a Matt Helm audio book. Even though I've read them all several times in paperback & listened to them once before, I find them far preferable. I thought an audio book might make it bearable. Librivox has 3 versions available for free. I don't care for the narrator of the first version which is here: https://librivox.org/three-men-in-a-b... I'm listening to the second version which has multiple readers, some female. I thought mixing up the voices might help. You can find it here: https://librivox.org/three-men-in-a-b... The third version is read by Nick Bulka who is pretty good. You can find it here: https://librivox.org/three-men-in-a-b... So, I finally managed to get through it & did find quite a few references that other authors have used, but my masochistic tendencies have been used up. It wasn't worth it.

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