Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I like Adventure books; my wife, not so much. She doesn't like them at all, to be exact. I can never understand this bit of literary preference. By Adventure Books I mean those true accounts of extremely courageous men and women who defy all odds and the various curses of the gods to perform a dangerous and ultimately inefficacious deed. These books are quite amazing if written properly, and contain facts and enterprises that at first glimpse seem quite embellished and untrue. Yet, they are very much factual.You have to Remember that sometimes things that actually happened were so bizarre as to seem contrived or unbelievable. I believe it is this fact that attracts me to these books. My wife doesn't read them, as I say, but she hears all about them from me as I follow her around the house retelling each chapter as I'm reading. I thinks she enjoys that, but I've noticed she never stays in one place too long as I'm telling the story. I take that as excitement, and not being able to just sit and listen. Sometimes she actually goes outside. Sometimes I shout out the window to her, especially if there's a very exciting scene that I figure she should hear about. So we both enjoy this book, in a way.

My latest Adventure Book(I just finished reading it) is THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann. This book is a national bestseller that just came out in Trade Paperback. It's the true story of the legendary explorer Percy Fawcett, who spent almost all his life exploring the Amazon in the early part of the 20th Century. His last exploration, when he was in his late fifties(accompanied by his son), he completely disappeared. On this trip he was looking for the lost city of Z which purported to be hidden somewhere within the dense jungle of Amazonia. Z was actually Fawcett's code name for El Dorado. El Dorado is that legendary, illusive, metaphorical place where practically everything is made of gold, and riches pour down like honey on all who find it. It doesn't exist---at least it hasn't been found to date. It's like Shangri-la, the Fountain of Youth, Eden, and so on. These places reside only in our imaginations and desires rather then in reality.

However, Percy Fawcett, driven by his great desire for fame and fortune and probably bitten too many times by Amazon mosquitoes, believed in El Dorado firmly, and was determined to find it somewhere in the Amazon jungle before he died. It was madness. But the tragedy really is that Fawcett took his oldest son and his son's best friend along with him. They all perished. Fawcett had his son so brainwashed and so excited about this Lost City that it actually borders on abuse---I think, anyway. You may have your crazy delusions, but keep them to yourself, I say.

This is an excellent book for other Adventure Book lovers like me---and my wife. It's an unbelievable story of bravery, endurance, and unspeakable dangers lurking in the dense Amazon jungle. It's also a book covering the disturbing and unsettling topic of obsession. One thinks of Captain Ahab and the White Whale. If your into this kind of literature, pick up this book, you won't be disappointed.(That sounds like a blurb).

These are other books I would recommend for adventure lovers: INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer. This book about the disastrous Mount Everest climb in 1996 is actually a story you cannot wholly believe, and a book you cannot put down. Excellent. INTO THE WILD by the same author was made into a successful movie. It's the sad story about a rather disturbed young man who went off to Alaska to live alone in the wilderness with fatal results. Others are: GODFORSAKEN SEA by Derek Lundy. This is a true account of the 1996-1997 Vendee Globe yacht race that went terribly wrong and claimed many lives. There are many other adventure books available. It only depends on your interests.

I will be picking up Ian McEwan's new novel SOLAR which is out now. I really like McEwan and have read nearly all novels by him. But I must say the last two novels SATURDAY and ON CHESIL BEACH I really didn't enjoy. Still I'm anxious to start this new one, they say it's one of his best.

I just finished THE LOST CITY OF Z, WHICH I mentioned before, but my wife is not home just now, so I am unable to fill her in as the conclusion of this great Adventure Book. She will be home soon, and I'm sure she's anxious to hear what exactly happened to Fawcett and his troop in the Amazon. I imagine her excitement is palpable; we'll see.

Next: Sci-Fi books

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