This summer the boys and I read an abridged version of Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, written in 1864. I have to admit that this story was quite entertaining!
L is interested in the concept of Earth (as well as outer space), so I think he was interested in it because it was about the earth. A was not deeply interested, but did pick up on the fact that there was hot lava (!), which is a game we love to play.
I was interested in which aspects of the story were intentionally fantastical and which aspects were a result of changing beliefs and scientific information. What they thought about Earth 150+ years ago was dramatically different from what we now believe and understand.
The book had me asking questions like which is the deepest cave, and where is the deepest bore hole in the world. I also learned, from the Wikipedia page, that this book represents an early version of the idea of time travel, a literary concept that would be deeply expanded in the decades to follow (reaching it’s fulcrum, imho, in 1985 with the film Back to the Future). All in all it was a cool book, one that was gripping and suspenseful, but also interesting in both its literary and geological explorations.