Three Men in a Boat and To Say Nothing of the Dog - August CC Book Club Selection

Most of us could use a laugh these days, right? That’s the goal with our August selection, a duet of Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.

Three Men in a Boat, published in 1889, is the story of three Englishmen (and a dog) who take a two-week holiday trip down the Thames River. The book was originally intended to be a serious travel guide, but took on a comic life of its own as the story progressed. Critics at the time took sharp aim at Jerome (“One might have imagined that the British Empire was in danger,” he later wrote), but the book sold in huge numbers and has never been out of print. Jerome’s publisher once mused, “I cannot imagine what becomes of all the copies of that book I issue. I often think the public must eat them.” The Guardian ranked the book No. 33 on its list of The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time.

To Say Nothing of the Dog, written in 1998 by Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Connie Willis, is a comedic romp through the world of time travel that pays homage to Jerome K. Jerome’s classic novel. Historian Ned Henry sets off on a trip through time that lands him in Victorian England, where he enjoys a number of chaotic adventures…one of which just might be encountering three men in a boat (to say nothing of the dog).

Discussion begins August 1st. Please join us!

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome can be read online free:

Other free options available also.

Yay! Awesome to have a free copy to read. Thanks!

Put both (one free!) on kindle this afternoon. Looking forward to reading them

Would love any links for finding free books—it’s especially helpful when our library remains mostly closed.


Does you local library offer e-books? I think most do nowadays. While the physical library may be closed, e-book borrowing through your library’s website is probably still going on. You may need to download a specialized app to read your library books. (The app is prevent copying of copyright materials and will disable your e-book access once the due date passes.)

Some places to start looking--

The Internet Archive has all kinds of interesting collections. Navigation can be confusing simply because there is so much stuff. 

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Open Library offers an excellent selection of out-of-copyright and sponsored books. To borrow a book, you’ll need to sign up for free account. Easily searchable database.

Project Guttenberg has over 60,000 out-of-copyright books

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The Library of Congress hosts a truly remarkable curated collection of books, many of which are available for free in digital formats. Also movies, photographs, manuscripts, sheet music, and other materials. You may need to open free account to download  some materials.

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There are several others I can suggest. Some may charge a membership fee; others host mainly self-published and small publishing house books.

I love the NY Public Library, but you need to NY address to register for a library card. They offer over 600,000 ebooks to library patrons, plus have some really remarkable collections to browse through–like the menus from restaurants in major cities starting from the mid 1800s.

@HImom, Bookbub has some free books of so-so quality and, occasionally, deep discounts on books of good quality:

I’m reading both books free.

Three Men in a Boat - online (Project Gutenberg)

To Say Nothing of the Dog - library eBook

My free copy came from my free one month trial of Kindle Unlimited. While their selection isn’t as comprehensive as I had hoped, I’ve been able to build up my library a bit while waiting for the actual library to reopen. I’ll decide in a couple of weeks whether it’s something I want to pay for going forward.

Thanks—my library had the newer book free via Libby app. I’m reading “To Say Nothing of the Dog” first because I only have it for 21 days. Hope it isn’t a mistake to start with that book. It’s fascinating and a genre I rarely read.

Thanks for the suggestions of free/inexpensive book sites.

Well, finished and enjoyed “To Say Nothing of the Dog.” Good selection, @mary13.

I just printed the free Guttenberg version of Three Men in a Boat that @ignatius posted above. If you print it on both sides of the page, it’s only ~50 pages or so.

I hope you have a good memory, @HImom! Gotta hold all those details in your head for another six weeks.

I usually wait a bit before starting on the new book(s), but sometimes I cut it too close. I’m not a very fast reader, so I will probably start in a couple of weeks.

I usually get my thoughts refreshed by reading comments of others. I may return and reportorial the book closer to the time we are discussing. I just figured I would read the book I only had for a limited time—it was very enjoyable / riveting and a pretty quick read.

I like Dorothy Sayer and have now just finished reading her 2nd novel. Thanks for introducing me to her, @Mary13!

I started Three Men in a Boat yesterday. Two first impressions:

The first chapter reminds me of author Bill Bryson’s writing style (a good thing).


I’m going to be through with the book before I even realize I started, i.e., a quick read.

I like that we decided to go with humor this time around. As someone in Houston, TX., the latest Covid-19 hotspot, I feel the need for humor and can’t find it outside my door. (Actually, I’m not supposed to go outside my door.)

I started reading To Say Nothing of the Dog alongside Three Men in a Boat. What a great pairing this turned out to be! I’m going to hold back some on To Say Nothing of the Dog at this point. I need to spend more time with Three Men in a Boat. Bet I finish it tomorrow or the next day.

Just an FYI: Connie Willis can write (which I already knew since this is not my first Connie Willis book.)

Humor was a great choice for this time around.

Thought this might help:

Who knew? To Say Nothing of the Dog and Lord Peter Whimsey. One of those reading coincidences in that we followed an introduction (at least, for me) to Lord Peter with a book that references him.