Around the World in 80 Days the first time I tried to read it, but when my sister told me it was one of their family favorites, I decided to give it another try. It helped that the second time around I listened to the audible version, wonderfully narrated by Patrick Tull. Tull is British, but does a great job with Passepartout's French accent, and also with the gruff American voices.
Phileas Fogg leads a quiet life, living alone (except for his valet), frequenting his men's club and living by the clock. His previous valet was fired for bringing him shaving water at 84 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 86. All of that changes when he wagers that he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. The story takes place in 1872 when most modes of transportation were extremely unreliable, so the men in the club are eager to bet against him. Although he encounters many obstacles on his journey, he remains delightfully unperturbed. Even when he's accused of a crime and hunted by a determined English detective.
The whole story pokes fun at British exactness (and later at American energy/ingenuity). It is a nice light-hearted read if you are looking for clean, escapist literature. There are damsels in distress (in India), gun fights with Indians (in America), kidnappings (on the high seas), and other hair-raising adventures. And a good dose of humor.
Is Fogg a criminal? Or just an eccentric? Will he fall in love with the lovely Aouda? Or is it true that he has no heart? Will Detective Fix be able to stop him? All these and other questions are answered nicely by the end of the book.