Monday, September 22, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Slate.com and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: 'Mother of God'

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Bari Weiss of The Wall Street Journal reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

Most people sick of suburban living move to the city or book two weeks in Europe, but 18-year-old Paul Rosolie of New Jersey decided he needed something a bit more extreme.

In 2006, he left behind his worried parents and set out for the western Amazon, a jungle teeming with giant snakes, ferocious jaguars and ancient rivers. If there's any place on earth that can still truly be called wild, this is it.

For Mr. Rosolie, a dyslexic child who hated the traditional classroom and had always considered himself "the keeper of things meek and wild," the Amazon was paradise. His love of this ancient land is palpable in his new book, "Mother of God," the story of his adventures through the uncharted tributaries of the western Amazon.

"While the food chain can be mapped in Web format for most ecosystems, the west Amazon defies human explanation," he writes. "It is for this reason the region has been described as the 'largest terrestrial battlefield' on earth."

Under the guidance of a British biologist and her native-born husband, Mr. Rosolie learns this intricate battlefield, from ants to anacondas, as their research assistant. Later, on solo journeys into a part of the Amazon known as the Western Gate, a kind of secret Eden, Mr. Rosolie ventures out alone with a machete and a desire to experience this untouched land currently threatened by various groups seeking to develop it.

I won't give away what greets him there, but anyone who dreams of journeying into the great unknown, or at least reading about it, would enjoy "Mother of God."

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