[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]
The Unconquered, by Scott Wallace. Reviewed by Dennis Drabelle (Washington Post).
I really like stories about explorers or the Naturalist expeditions of the olden days. The cover/title combination of this book evokes for me a modern adventure in that vein and is what drew me in on this one, and Drabelle really nails it:
It sounds like the beginning of a pulp adventure novel. A journalist gets a phone call from a magazine editor offering a tantalizing assignment: Go to the Amazon and catch up with an expedition bent on making contact with a tribe so remote and self-contained that it knows virtually nothing of modern civilization.
The review is pretty short and unhelpful, and I didn’t find much on this book elsewhere, but if you see it on a shelf give it a peek.
Holidays in Heck, by P.J. O’Rourke. Reviewed by Chris Erskine (Chicago Tribune).
A collection of travel essays from a prolific humorist, focusing on vacation stories mostly. That’s probably enough to tell you if you’d like this book or not (and if you would, then you likely know who O’Rourke is already). But if you want to know more, Erskine takes the time to get fairly in-depth in the review. This is the kind of book I like to pick through when I’m sitting in an airport, so if you’re flying somewhere this week, you may want to combine this collection with those Bloody Marys from the airport Chili’s to take the edge off.
Yeah, I know, Sisters Brothers again. Not one, but two of our guys so far has picked it for Best Books 2011. It makes the top of Ms. Powers’s list too. Her review is well-constructed, so if you want to read more about the book (after reading Nico’s review, of course), check it out. I’m mostly putting this up here to reinforce my promise to myself to finally read this guy while away for the holidays. You should probably do the same.
Bonus Book Trailer: Ugh, the whole PowerPoint approach to making book trailers continues to be ghastly. Check this out for the awful music, it sounds like what I imagine would what you’d hear if a called the information desk at a children’s museum jungle exhibit in the very early 90s and they put you on hold (really kicks into gear around the 0:44 mark).