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Book 71 Completed

November 17, 2010

*Full disclosure — I did not read this is in one day…more like three days…but I’m a little behind on blogging.*

Here is one thing that is abundantly clear: I will not be exploring the Amazon rain forest. This gorgeous place is not a locale that has made it on to my bucket list…because I’m pretty certain that if I went there, I would die. I’m the girl that likes camping in theory — I see pictures of my friends with their tents and their lanterns and their campfires, playing Settlers of Catan by the dim light. So, really what I want to do is drive somewhere for the evening, spend a few hours with people around a fire, play a game, and then go home to my own bed where I won’t wake up cold, covered in mosquito bites.

I’d say a camped a little growing up and I do have good memories from those trips. But I can also tell you about the time I went camping in high school with my church youth group and it was a REAL camping trip: Like, a no toilet kind of thing. And the first time I ventured out to the woods with my trusty TP, I ended up urinating all over my pants. The pee-stained pants didn’t smell so great inside my two-person tent.

On top of all of that, I really dislike bugs. Especially big scary ones. And I’m paranoid. So, put me in the Amazon for ten minutes and I’ll spend the entire time on the verge of a heart-attack waiting for a giant anaconda to come gobble me up.

Would I want to go willingly into a malaria filled death-zone? Where maggots could crawl up into my gangrenous flesh and move around like they own the place?

Why did all these crazy people want to go there? I watched a documentary in junior high about the rainforest and thought it sounded like a beautiful place to go. Sure. Until the giant piranhas tear your flesh off or a native clubs you death. Sounds delightful.

Am I selling this book yet?

The Lost City of Z is great!

Since, I’m never going to go on my own Amazon adventure and, frankly, I might never even see the inside of a tent again, this is the perfect type of armchair adventure for someone like me. Give me all the death and gore — give me Percy Fawcett’s amazing mystery — and I am hooked. I found this book a little scattered at times between the Fawcett adventure, the author’s own trek into the wilderness, and the other stories of people who went into the Amazon after Fawcett, but regardless of that issue, the stories themselves kept me turning those pages without ceasing.

I hadn’t ever heard of Percy Fawcett prior to this book, but I’m such an incredible fan of unsolved mysteries! I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve ever encountered his name or his story.

One of my favorite books in junior high was called The Mummy’s Curse: 101 of the World’s Strangest Mysteries and I STILL have this book and I will STILL read it once every couple of years. Wait. I’m gonna go grab it…*allow proper reading pause for a quick venture into the adjoining room*…and done.

I love that my thirteen-year-old self highlighted my favorite chapters. Which were (according to the pink highlighter and my margin notes): D.B. Cooper, Kaspar Hauser, Judge Crater, Dorothy Arnold, the lost colony of Roanoke, the Bermuda Triangle, and the disappearance of the Mary Celeste. WAIT. Upon further reading of my Mummy book…the chapter titled “City X” is, indeed, about Fawcett!! He’s in my Mummy book!! I’m so excited right now — obviously, since he wasn’t highlighted, however, I didn’t find his story nearly as enthralling as I do now.

The Mummy book says, “Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was a loner, an adventurer, a romantic, and probably more than a bit of a fraud.” Wait. A. Second. This chapter seems rife with errors when compared to the rather lengthy — and probably more trustworthy — biography I just finished. First of all, City Z, not X. Second of all, El Dorado not people who survived the sinking of Atlantis. Sheesh. I guess that’s what I get for trusting a book all these years by a guy whose author biography states: “Daniel Cohen believes that there really was a Sherlock Holmes and that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was Dr. Watson’s literary agent.”

I wonder what other untruths lurk on these oft-read pages. My excitement turned to such depression!

At any rate, I’m a sucker for a mystery like this — and when you combine it with this well-researched data, well, it’s a book I can get excited about. So much so that I’m giving my copy for Matt to read next. Remember my post about Matt the non-reader only delving into the occasional non-fiction book? This is a book that might excite him just as much as Magellan did. And we need something to talk about…because last night we spent twenty-minutes arguing about the Oxford comma. (BTW — if you can’t tell — I’m a user and I refuse to be swayed.)

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