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Have you ever struggled to put up a tent (or perhaps assemble a piece of IKEA furniture)? Have you ever packed a suitcase only to wonder if you really have put in a toothbrush and been forced to take everything out so as to check? Have you ever had a guide desperate to show you something you don’t actually want to see? And have you googled a list of medical symptoms only to discover you are afflicted with many deadly diseases (in fact, discover you have almost all of them except Housemaid’s Knee)? If so, then Three Men in a Boat is the book for you.
Jerome K. Jerome struggled all his life to live up to his literary hero, Charles Dickens, and never succeeded. Yet he wrote one of the funniest and best-loved books in the English language. Anyone who travels along the Thames in a boat should find it hard not to think of him and his wonderful novel that spawned a mini tourist industry on that great river.
The book appeared in 1889 and the first edition had sixty illustrations by A. Frederics. It has never been out of print; it has been translated into every major language in the world (and even into Pitman’s Shorthand); it has delighted generations of readers. The Guardian ranked Three Men in a Boat at number 25 in its ‘100 Best Novels of all Time’ list in 2014, while The Telegraph included it in its ‘15 Funniest Books Ever Written’ list.
Come with me on a journey along the Thames with J, George, Harris and Montmorency as we read one of the funniest and best-loved books in the English language, Three Men in a Boat. Will you find a favourite episode in the novel, or any serious statements, and what do you think of the film versions?
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