Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

Inexplicably, I keep getting drawn in by books about people trapped in jungles.  Or stranded on islands.  Or lost in the wild.  I have no idea why this is so but it has been going on for years now.  (I have never been lost in the jungle.  I avoid jungles.  And wilderness.  Or any place in which I may become lost and/or trapped.  I  live an almost entirely urban existence - the only real danger for me is the possibility getting trapped in a Concrete Island scenario.)  And somehow, over the past few days, I have acquired a slew of books, many of which are of the lost-in-the-jungle sort.


Lost in Shangri-La I bought new from Amazon - I just had to have it.  It is the story of the survivors of a US Army plane crash in the jungles of Papua New Guinea near the end of WWII.  Papua New Guinea is probably the worst place in the world to get lost and I just had to have this book right away.  [Side Note:  Though this book just came out, I didn't order it soon enough to get a first edition.  A minor disappoint but I'll live.  I don't care as much about editions for nonfiction.  What is remarkable about this book is the texture of the dust jacket - its sort of rubbery.  I think there is a new material being used in some dust jackets that give it this feel - and its quite wonderful.  My UK first edition of Ian McEwan's Solar has a similar feel - but the American edition just uses whatever generic dust jacket material all publishers use.  What is this new stuff?  Normally I will remove a dust jacket when I read a book but this one I want to leave on.]

Ghost Soldiers is the story of an American Army mission to rescues American POWs held by the Japanese in the jungles of the Philippines in WWII.
It seems to me that everyone has read Lord of the Flies.  But I haven't.  How this came to be I do not know.  But I am to rectify the situation this summer.  Children stranded on an island - what could be better?

The True Deceiver is one of those wonderful New York Review of Books trade paperbacks.  I only started paying close attention to comics a few years ago and in my research into what comics I should read, I kept coming across some Moomin thing that everyone seemed to know and love from a long time ago that I had never heard of and couldn't quite grasp.  I had no idea who or what Tove Jansson was.  But I'm learning and she seems quite remarkable.  The True Deceiver looks to be Swedish Patricia Highsmith novel concerning a woman who inveigles (what a great word - the LA Times review of the book uses it) herself into the life a famous writer.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America held their convention here in Washington last weekend and Connie Willis won the Nebula Award for best novel (for Blackout and All Clear).  I've been wanting to read good science fiction and I was persuaded that she would be a good choice - so I picked up a copy of her novel the Doomsday Book.  She seems to have this thing for time-traveling historians - I think I could go for that.

Part two of this post will include David Lodge, Peter De Vries, Richard Laymon, Charlaine Harris, and James McGrath Morris.

4 comments:

OlmanFeelyus said...

I think I've felt that rubbery substance, but on the cover of a trade paperback itself, not a removable dust jacket. It does seem more durable and less tearable, possibly even water-resistant. Perhaps Existential Ennui can use his inside connections to find out what it is (and let's hope it's production isn't any worse for the environment than high quality glossy stock already is).

Louis XIV, 'The Sun King' (Nick Jones) said...

A rubbery substance? Hmm, not sure... sounds like spot varnish, but I'd need a bit more info...

Book Glutton said...

The dust jacket feels slightly spongy. Like there is some additional coating applied when they print the dust jacket. I Googled spot varnish and it sounds like that could be the answer but I am not certain. Whatever they are using to treat/produce the dust jacket gives it a premium feel. Sorry if this is too vague - but maybe that is a clue. If spot varnishing is an premium upgrade to the printing of a dust jacket to give it a better feel, then we have an answer. Or else I'm finally going off the deep end with this book collecting.

Louis XIV, 'The Sun King' (Nick Jones) said...

Ah, I think I know what you mean, although I can't think what it is. It's not spot varnish. I'll have to have a look at my books, see if I have anything similar...