May 1, 2015

The lure of discovery and adventure

It might come as a surprise to some of you but I actually have a Bachelor's in Anthropology. That's one of the main reasons why I was drawn to The Lost World of the Old Ones. One of the focuses of this book is the examination of the archaeological record of the peoples who once occupied the Southwestern United States. Around 1300 AD the Fremont people seemingly disappeared from the region and the reasons for this have never fully been explained. David Roberts is a climber (mountaineer? scrambler?) who also happens to be a writer for such publications as National Geographic. This is the second book that he has written which focuses on this particular area of the world but according to the preface this book delves more into the why and the how of the Fremont peoples lives and 'disappearance'. His fascination and passion for the topic are evident in his attention to detail (and sometimes his dreamy prose). You probably won't be surprised to learn that I plan on doing more research on this topic by checking out some of the books he referenced as source material (especially Steve Lekson's groundbreaking work The Chaco Meridian which caused significant backlash among the archaeological elite). If you have an interest in archaeology or simply want to learn more about the wonders of the Southwest (of which there are many) then I recommend you give this book a try. It's made me want to go hiking of all things! O_O

The Pilling figurines are remnants of the Fremont culture. They were located in Range Creek Canyon in Utah (and had quite a journey to the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum - the story is in the book). (Image courtesy of  Brian Lee.)

As I've mentioned before, I seem to have a penchant for Swedish authors. In my defense, I had no idea that the book I had picked out to read next fell under that umbrella. It's The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. With a title like that is it any wonder that I just had to read this one? The story is all about Allan Karlsson who turns 100 but doesn't feel that his adventures are entirely finished so...he climbs out of the window of his nursing home and sets off. This story isn't just about what happened after he climbed out of the window though. Allan had many adventures before he even set foot through the nursing home's doors as a munitions expert who rubbed elbows with everyone from Winston Churchill to President Truman. Join me on this newest literary adventure!

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