Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Lost City of Z - David Grann

The last of the Victorian explorers, Percy Harrison Fawcett, disappeared into the Amazon jungle with his son and the son's friend, seeking evidence of a lost ancient civilization he had labeled "Z".  The author illuminates the power of an obsession to draw a man to feats of enormous perseverance.

The book is based on the life of Fawcett and the author had access to previously unavailable private papers and diaries.  The author found himself obsessed with the research and writing of the book.

This is a spell-binding read, highly recommended.

Published:  2005 (paperback ed. 2010) Read May 2017  Genre Historical fiction, biography

The Illusion of Separtness - Simon Van Booy

Lovely prose, some wonderful images but overall this book is almost like reading poetry, somewhat disjointed though the story is as well.

The lives of a young couple before WWII intertwines with that of a lonely film director, a blind museum curator and a janitor at an old folks home.  I was not quite sure who was who in the end.

He had been reborn into the nightmare of truth.
Martin likes to think that even the smallest gesture is grand.
Desire is met with the memory of satisfaction.
Lives are staged from within.
The scent of flowers lingers for days as though waiting for an answer.

Published: 2014 (paperback) 2012 (hardcover) Read: May 2017  Genre: fiction

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Last Days of Night - Graham Moore

What a good read!  This is the story of the lawsuit by Einstein against Westinghouse for encroaching on his patent for the light bulb.  Westinghouse hires Tesla to "build a better light bulb" and enlists a young recently graduated lawyer to defend him.  Told utilizing actual transcripts, letters and news reports of the case, it's a fascinating imagination of these famous scientist and businessmen battling to take control of the future.  Highly recommended.

Published: 2016  Read: May 2017  Genre: Historical Fiction

The Foundling - Paul Joseph Fronczak

Subtitle: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me

This is the true story of a child that was kidnapped from his mother in the maternity ward and later identified as an almost two year old abandoned outside a building in another state.  Paul discovers the story of his youth when he's only 10 years old and begins to wonder if he is really the biological child of the people who raised him.  A DNA test proves he is not and the search for his real parents and the story behind him being a foundling is an engrossing mystery.  

I loved it for the explanation of the analysis of his DNA and its use in building a family tree from nothing.  If you're interested in understanding the use of DNA in adoption cases, this is the book to read.

Published: 2017  Read: May 2017  Genre: Biography