In readers' advisory services in public libraries, we often seek read-alikes for our clients who have enjoyed books. We hope to find books with similar reading qualities that our clients will appreciate just as much as the titles that they report enjoying. With that in mind, I wonder how good a read-alike is Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart for pleased readers of The Lost City of Z by David Grann.
In both books, a journalist recounts historic South American explorations while trying to retrace the steps of famed explorers. The authors describe exotic locations, face dangers themselves, and sort out the fact and the fiction of legends. Published four years apart, Jungleland may just in time for readers who want to relive the experience of reading The Lost City of Z.
If the reader, however, says "Been there, done that," the librarian and the reader have to look elsewhere.
Even if the reader wants to try Jungleland, there is room for disappointment. Though Stewart's account is engaging and entertaining, it is shorter and less intense than the The Lost City of Z. Some may think Stewart acts rather foolishly in visiting Honduras during a military takeover. He is in grave danger at one point with no way to call for help, but somehow, the story has less drama than the book to which it is obviously compared.
The Lost City of Z may be a better follow-up to Jungleland. Some readers may be more willing to try the shorter book, get hooked, and then be ready for more and even greater adventure.
Stewart, Christopher S. Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure. Harper, 2013. 263p. ISBN 9780061802546.