Jules Verne (YGtCTO Words #77)

Master of the World

Book written by Jules Verne

Just beyond the self-checkout at our local supermarket, they have a bin of discount books. Most of the books are aimed at children. Thus, outrageous colors predominate. Also, many of the books have plastic gizmos attached which produce sounds and other endearments. By now, I barely spare the contained mass a glance.

I haven’t always been so immune. However, the bins have not always overflowed with such decadence. As a pre-adolescent, I frequented the neighborhood shops which included our share of markets and one department store. Their bin of books housed hundreds of bland paperback reprints of classic novels. The covers were pure white (except where stained) and bore one graphic that usually related to the contents. At least, I was soon sure that George Washington Carver never wore a lab coat because he was portrayed in his suit leaning over test tubes on the cover of his autobiography. In retrospect, I’m not sure he spent his time in a lab that looked more appropriate for teaching high school chemistry.

Either way, the discount classics soon accumulated on my bookshelf at home. I read the back cover synopsis on every single one of them and the interior of a select few. This was a time when the surest way to stop me from reading something was to encourage me to do so. I’m sure that was fun.

Jules Verne

Around the same time,
my older brothers moved out of the house, leaving me alone with my parents. These were the days that I had dreaded. I could only imagine what the lack of a buffer might create. My mind buckled under the weight of holding all the dinner table attention.

As it turned out, one brother had only moved to a nearby city for a few months and he occasionally visited. I took advantage of his appearances to sulk in my room. Like I said, I’m sure I was a treat.

On the plus side, my sulking was not too skilled. One time, I dragged a book off the nearby shelf, perched at a table in my room and read intently. As it turned out, Jules Verne grabbed my attention. I had no idea up until that moment that he had written sequels to his more famous books. I can understand why he did it now. Few characters are as cool as Captain Nemo.

So, my brother appeared in my room and kindly sat there waiting for me to acknowledge his presence. I broke down quickly enough. Then, he engaged me about the book. Much like the narrator of Master of the World, I had felt adrift since I was left alone with my parents. The way I remember it, something about that afternoon gave me a little more ballast. I didn’t stop being an adolescent treasure, but I started to understand that I wasn’t as alone as I thought.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 70 more to go.

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