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