All that Glitters

Those commanders and chieftains that shoot at honour and abundance shall find there more rich and beautiful cities, more temples adorned with golden images, more sepulchres filled with treasure, than either Cortes found in Mexico or Pizarro in Peru.
--from The Discovery of Guiana, by Sir Walter Raleigh, born on this day in 1552

Raleigh's glowing (but fanciful) reports of his explorations on the Orinoco River generated new interest in the old dream of a South American "El Dorado" -- a dream that is far from dead today. Marc Herman's Searching for El Dorado, a "Journey into the South American Rainforest on the Tail of the World's Largest Gold Rush," begins with this unpromising sighting of a latter-day Raleigh at the Guyanese town of Kilometro Ochenta y Ocho (Kilometer 88), known only by its signpost:

Halfway through lunch an American walked out of the trees. I knew he was an American because of his accent, which was glum and slow. He looked bad: he was a sizeable man who had not bathed in some time. A pot belly strained a white T-shirt stained with mud; he wore an unkempt beard; and his hands were pink with abrasions. His shoes were foam shower sandals and insect bites and welts covered his feet.

Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.

 

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.