Currently reading

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Ayn Rand, Tore Boeckmann, Leonard Peikoff
The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco
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David Mitchell
To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon, Daniel J. Boorstin, Gian Battista Piranesi, Hans-Friedrich Mueller
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Douglas R. Hofstadter
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Niccolò Machiavelli
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Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
G. Lee Bowie, Robert C. Solomon

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

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon - David Grann This is a Pretty Good™ book. It's essentially a biography of Percy Fawcett, a fascinating British explorer who made several trips into the Amazon rainforest and eventually made a final trip with his son and a friend from which they never returned. The Amazon rainforest is a crazy place. It's so unlike the Arctic where you can a. freeze, b. starve or c. fall into a crevasse. Adventuring into the Amazon means a likely encounter with any one of a thousand exotic deaths. You might starve, but it's just as likely that you'll be creatively tortured (or bluntly shot) to death by natives harboring a righteous indignation towards the whites who invaded their lands and enslaved their relatives to extract rubber. You might also face death by malaria or dysentery or fever. You could get eaten by piranhas or ants or stung to death by bees or mosquitos. Then again, you could get lucky and make it out only to die months or years later of side effects related to your trip. Whatever the case, it's a dangerous place and the people who make it out (and those who don't) generally have some extraordinary stories to tell about their experiences.The author of The Lost City of Z is no exception. Although Grann's Amazon story pales in comparison with that of Fawcett, it's interesting to read about a guy with no experience whatsoever heading down to Brazil to research Fawcett's expedition then enter the jungle himself in search of Fawcett's bones (or at least his legacy). The Lost City of Z has quite a bit of trivia (for example there is a significant amount on spiritualism) and history, a few interesting side stories and a decent description of the perils exploring the Amazon. It's not a Great™ book, the writing is fairly bland and the story wanders a bit too much but it's probably worth reading. If I were to do it again though, I'd probably go to the source and read Exploration Fawcett and get it in his own words.