The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

The Lost City of Z

I am not a huge reader of non-fiction.  For me to really get into a non-fiction title, it usually has to be about something I really care about (like Say Goodbye to Survival Mode) or read like fiction (like King of the Mild Frontier).  This fell into the latter category.  A friend had recommended this book to me when it first came out, but it kept getting pushed to the back burner.  Finally, I told myself that I needed to take a break from all the dystopias I was reading/listening to and dive into a non-fiction title.  I’m so glad I did!  The details were so vivid, and David Grann wrote such a fantastic narrative that I thought to myself, several times, “This would make an awesome movie.  It’s like a real life Indiana Jones adventure!”  Imagine my shock and elation, then, when I heard [on the radio this morning] that it is going to be made into a movie… produced by Brad Pitt, no less.  So awesome!

One of the things I liked so much about this book was the layered storytelling.  David Grann skillfully wove together his own research, planning, and travel experiences with stories from primary documents relating to British explorer Percy Fawcett’s quest to rediscover the “Lost City of Z.”  Though there were many stories about an advanced, ancient civilization in the Amazon (which some believed to be El Dorado), countless explorers failed to find evidence that the city actually existed.  Instead, many died in their search or brought back “evidence” that the native peoples were not nearly organized or advanced enough to have built the city of legend.  While many wrote it off as a fable, Percy Fawcett, a member of the Royal Geographical Society, became obsessed and refused to give up the search.  Fawcett became a legend among explorers because of his uncanny ability to avoid the injuries and illnesses that often killed other men, let alone his aptitude for communicating and negotiating with the various groups of natives he encountered.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how this plays out on the big screen.

Reunion by Hannah Pittard

Reunion

This is a new author to me.  If you enjoy reading about estranged and dysfunctional families, then I think you would enjoy this one — I did. It’s a quick read and told through the narration of the main character, Kate Pulaski.

The first line of the book is, “On June 16, at roughly eight-thirty in the morning, I get the phone call that my father is dead,” which makes you want to keep reading.  At least I did.

Kate’s life is pretty well in shambles before she finds out about her father’s suicidal death.  Her siblings tell her she has to travel to Atlanta for the funeral, which she can neither afford nor wants to face.  The book covers the next four days of her coping with face-to-face encounters with her four stepmothers and many half-siblings.  As Kate haphazardly deals with her messed up life, she also comes to terms with her relationship with her father.  The book has sibling relationships, adultery, childhood issues, and so much more, so enjoy.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret

If you found a letter addressed to you with instructions that you weren’t to open it until a certain event had happened, would you go ahead and read it anyway?  Well, that’s the basis of this novel.  It intertwines the lives of three families when one of the main characters finds a letter addressed to her by her husband, to be read only upon his death.  So does she read the letter (he’s still alive)?  What’s in this letter?

The novel deals with how life can hinge on a misunderstanding or a decision made in haste and the consequences it can have. It deals with putting all the pieces of a puzzle together plus an action that brings everything out into the open.  I enjoyed this book.  I had read Liane Moriarty’s newest book, Big Little Liars, so I decided to read some of her earlier works. Glad I did.