Great book!! What is missing are notes, references, index, something where all this great information can be looked up and delve deeper. Since Lake Ta...moreGreat book!! What is missing are notes, references, index, something where all this great information can be looked up and delve deeper. Since Lake Tahoe is in my backyard I really enjoyed the stories from this area.
I believe the author presented different sides of some of the story, although the tales of Cal/Neva with Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe do not have a set of hard facts. He apparently waded through volumes of information and gleaned a tale that may be true, but without all the references it makes it more difficult to verify. I will give him that he does list book titles often throughout the text, and there is a very short section in the acknowledgements where he lists some very useful titles of books he read.
Okay, so I'm going on about that, but this is a great book to read about the area. Lots of fascinating folks have lived here - from Sarah Winnemucca to Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain (his time here was when he changed his name), to John Steinbeck and Bertrand Russell. Great writing style as well. I borrowed the book from the library and now think I should buy a copy. It's a book I'd read again. (less)
Near the end, chapter 7 Winchester explores why so many people helped out with the making of the OED when their only reward was perhaps footnotes in the dictionary. Since he wrote this book in recent times this should not have been such a surprise. Think of Wikipedia! How many people spend hours upon hours contributing to their favorite site, Wiki's abound for all sort of things: music bands, fan fiction, movies, etc. And these people usually don't even get a footnote, let alone contribute to the world's best authoritative book on the English language. It seems obvious to me why people would contribute with nothing to gain, Winchester should have been able to answer his own question. Instead he repeated it too often.
There were some interesting parts, particularity in the beginning. Enough to redeem itself to a middle rating. Final note: an interesting tidbit was to find that J.R.R. Tolkien worked on a small part.(less)
I enjoyed reading this book, a fascinating tale about Percy Fawcett who was called the last of the Victorian explorers. He led several Amazon expediti...moreI enjoyed reading this book, a fascinating tale about Percy Fawcett who was called the last of the Victorian explorers. He led several Amazon expeditions, mainly of just exploration, but also helped map the boundaries between Bolivia and Brazil. The more time he spent in the Amazonian region the more intrigued Fawcett becomes about the fabled ancient civilization of El Dorado, which he calls simply Z. Fawcett becomes obsessed until he can finally make another expedition into the jungle to search for this Z. He is secretive about where exactly he is going, trusting no one, which leads him to take only two others with him, his son Jack, and Jack’s best friend Raleigh Rimell. Fawcett also believes the smaller the party the best chance of surviving the terrible jungle and hostile Indians. His secrecy has also made it more difficult in finding what happened to him.
The mystery of El Dorado now has the mystery of what happened to these three in 1925. Hundreds of people have gone in searching for the small party, but none have succeeded in finding a definitive answer. David Grann with his deep research and exploring the area in the Amazon where Fawcett went may have found the answer to the mystery. The author had access to family papers and other materials many others haven’t seen before. The book is riveting at points, and gruesome when describing some of the horrendous diseases one can easily get while trudging through the jungle. Definitely not a place I want to visit, except through books. Definitely could recommend reading this book! (less)
The book has a very personal feel to the narrative as it revolves around the family grocery store that has been in Mountain City for decades. The stor...moreThe book has a very personal feel to the narrative as it revolves around the family grocery store that has been in Mountain City for decades. The store provides a view to all of the residents, but it ultimately sticks with his family, grandparents, cousin, aunt & uncle, who all work in the store. The book has sorrow attached to it, as the town is the diminishing, the aging residents, and it leaves you asking what will happen to this very small town (and others like it throughout rural Nevada) over the next few decades. (less)