I forgot to mention that Jules Vern also helped in keeping me occupied while confined to my bed for several days. I listened to The Mysterious Island on Librivox.
I have read nearly all of Jules Verne's works. Despite the fact that they are: impossible, have shallow characters who are far too knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics, and use the same words repeatedly (how many times can you use the word practicable?) I really enjoy them. I know, it goes against my typical disdain for ridiculous fiction (although they are classics,) but I think the fact that there is NO way that the story could ever really happen appeals to me. Vern had an imagination that few writers have ever rivaled, and you have to admire that.
There is a chapter in the first part of the book that goes into great detail about how the character, Cyrus Harding (the hero) uses raw materials found on the island to manufacture a wide variety of chemicals, including, nitroglycerin. I found this chapter especially hysterical and the Duke (who you may or may not know holds a degree in bio-chemistry) and I had a fun filled conversation about the 'practicable' nature of such an endeavor. It was great!