submitted by Kit Darling and the members of the Bay Area Book Club
At our November meeting we discussed The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston. Maybe you’ve heard of Mosquitia, or seen a movie about Mosquito Coast, or perhaps you’ve even been to Honduras and explored beyond Roatan. I’m pretty sure very, very few of us if any have been as deep into the Honduran rainforest as Douglas Preston and his companions in this true adventure. For decades if not centuries, the legend of a lost city, La Ciudad Blanca, deep in the hilly and thickly forested interion of Honduras, persisted among adventurers and indigenous Hondurans. It attracted fraudsters and treasure hunters and in 2012 he joins with filmmaker Steve Elkins and various fixers, scoundrels and experts to map the area with LiDar technology, now routinely used for archeological purposes (see National Geographic TV for various examples). A promising site is identified and a subsequent expedition is mounted with the involvement of the Honduran government, and American and Honduran archaeologists, as well as film-makers, security provided by a team of ex-SAS and Honduran army. This is archaeology in it’s dirty and dangerous reality. Dealing with difficult terrain, local government, scholarly critics and terrifying encounters with venomous snakes, mud and rain – lots and lots of rain. For me, the most terrifying was the Leishmaniasis infection for most of the crew – a difficult to treat parasitic infection with potentially deadly outcomes. Summarized by one of our members “I found it intriguing – the politics and other external forces that the … expedition participants encountered, the multiple historical asides were enlightening as well. Horrifying the diseases found in the rainforest, to say nothing of the snakes and animals.” Kit Darling
The Cold Millions by Jess Walter. Based on the landmark demonstration in Spokane, Washington in 1910. It pitted police, government officials, mining, logging, and farming magnates against transient workers. At issue was the right of free speech. Spokane had instituted a ban on public speaking that the labour organization, the Industrial Workers of the World, AKA the Wobblies, was trying to break. A period of time when immigrants were demonized, eerily echoing our own. Two orphaned, itinerant brothers, Ryan & Gregory, are caught up in the violent events surrounding them. “Rye” and “Gig” are supported by a cast of characters that include a real-life pregnant labour organizer, an evil tycoon, a burlesque star and murderous private detectives. The author’s mix of real and fictional characters, vivid scenes and exciting plot twists make this a thrilling story that underscores the cost of progress. Paige Turner
Note: The bookmobile is at Bennetto Recreation Centre, Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:00. There is no access to the bookmobile to browse, but staff are on hand for contactless returns and holds pickup.
Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at email@example.com .