Category Archives: History

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

The-lost-city-z

I can’t think of a better summer read than David Grann’s 2009 book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. This is the fascinating, page turning, nail biting true story of Percy Fawcett, a real-life Indiana Jones type adventurer who inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”, dedicated his life to finding the lost city of El Dorado deep in the Amazonian jungle, and the mystery of what became of him. The task of finding El Dorado is an unimaginably dangerous one; many hundreds have tried, and few have come out of the jungle alive, most disappearing without a trace, even as late as a 1996 expedition where none (of sixteen strong) was ever seen or heard from again. We watch this story unfold through a humorous and unlikely lens: an admittedly out of shape journalist from New York with no experience in the field deciding to go to the jungle and hunt for clues about Fawcett’s journey, 80 years later. Beginning with Fawcett’s early adventuring days hunting down legendary caves filled with gold and jewels in colonial Sri Lanka, to his days “learning how to be an adventurer” in the Royal Geographical Society, and finally to his final days trekking through the Bolivian rainforest, I could not put this book down and it sent me on a series of frenzied Google searches, my mind hungry for more information. I already plan to re-read this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a well written mystery with a side of history. (Submitted by Mandi)

You are welcome to borrow The Lost City of Z at Surrey Libraries!

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 coming soon: movie adaptation – DVD

 

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Image result for hillbilly elegyHillbilly Elegy offers a fascinating look into the lives of white rural Americans. Author J.D. Vance uses his own personal experiences to describe and illuminate current social issues among working-class Americans. It is a quick, engrossing read, especially in light of the current political situation in the United States. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to get an insight into the lives and hopes and dreams of those who feel so let down by their failure to achieve the “American Dream.” (Submitted by Claire).

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The Golden Spruce: a true story of myth, madness, and greed by John Vaillant

Image result for golden spruceThis book was excellently written – it made a topic that I wasn’t too sure was all that interesting into a fascinating and page-turning true tale. Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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Sophia: princess, suffragette, revolutionary by Anita Anand

This was a fantastic biography with great writing. It was super interesting–I absolutely loved it! If you want to read about an interesting life, this is a great choice. Sophia was born into Indian royalty and raised in an English palace. She surprised everyone when she returned to India as a revolutionary battling injustice.  Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book was written as a letter from a father to his 15-year-old son about what it means to have a black body and be a black boy/man in America. It was awesome with great writing. I connected to this in a couple of big ways: I am the same age bracket as the author and his language around “the Dream” really hit home for me….I loved it! (Submitted by JF).

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The Girl with Seven Names: a North Korean defector’s story by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names was a fascinating look at North Korea from an accidental defector who lived a more comfortable life than many on the Chinese/North Korea border. Not only did I learn a lot about North Korea, but I learned much about that part of the world in general. Lee’s book was very interesting and I highly recommend it. (Submitted by JF).

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Louis Riel by Chester Brown

Montreal author and illustrator Chester Brown presents the story of Canadian icon Louis Riel in this unique and gripping comic. This biography illustrates the struggles faced by the Metis people of the prairies, leading to two resistance movements against the Canadian government to form the province of Manitoba.  Brown has created an accessible and entertaining way to learn about an important part of Canadian history while also creating an exciting illustrated story that can appeal to any reader.  (Submitted by CB)

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