Book Review: Around The World In 80 Days by Michael Palin

I should stop reading travel books. They just give me itchy feet.

I checked this out as an audiobook, and I think its probably one of the better ways to enjoy the book. Palin reads his own work and is a great narrator, his background as an actor meaning he gives every sentence a good reading and his talent for accents and voices aids in the story.

He’s also extremely amiable as a narrator, continuing the image of him as the “nice Python”. There’s warmth and enthusiasm throughout most of the book, and even when tiredness and frustration tinge the events he comes across as being justified.

Palin marvels at the sights he encounters, as well as delighting in the human factor. He notices tiny little rituals and habits in the people he meets and relates them wonderfully, his affection for many of the people he meets shining through and sharing his amusement and bemusement with odd customs with the reader.

The one problem is the nature of the journey. 80 days is awfully fast to circle the world, and while it does add tension to the journey as delays mount up and he rushes to make connections, its also incredibly frustrating. You wish Palin would spend more time delving into life in the countries he visits, but at the same time Palin himself voices this annoyance and sense of being rushed.

I will probably check out more of Palin’s books as he’s a great person to introduce you to new places, and relays his anecdotes in a charming, likable manner. Palin is added to the “Go for a drink with” list.

Verdict: A solid, entertaining travel book, written with warmth and humour. Palin makes a fantastic narrator and like all the best travel books, makes the reader, or this reader at least, start to look into booking flights and making trips. 7/10

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO



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