The right book can instantly transport you to anywhere — and anytime — in the world. Every Thursday, we recommend one of our favorite books with a strong sense of place so you can see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings. Bonus: You don't even have to put on pants.
This post is part of our 'Weekend Getaway' series.
This weekend, we recommend a getaway to the lush landscape of Costa Rica with Jurassic Park: glorious sunshine, azure-blue water, and dazzling foliage. Pay no attention to the ravenous, angry dinosaurs roaming the jungle.
If you’ve seen the movie*, you might think you know the story, but we’re here to tell you, you need to read the book.
On the page, this story has all the elements we loved in the film — characters who are intelligent, complicated, flawed people; dinosaurs that are both terrifying and sympathetic; challenging conversations about science versus ambition; and some of our favorite lines, like: ‘God created dinosaurs. God destroyed dinosaurs. God created Man. Man destroyed God. Man created dinosaurs… Dinosaurs eat man…Woman inherits the earth.’
In print, there’s time for Crichton to really dig into the problems inherent in bringing extinct animals back to life. There’s the dawning realization that things have gone horribly awry, perilous dinosaur-vs-human fight scenes, peaceful moments with the most amazing creatures to walk the planet, and interpersonal sparks, romantic and otherwise — all played out in the dense, tropical jungles of an isolated island.
The story is told from several characters’ points of view, so we get to know the heroes and villains in equal measure. But let’s be honest: We all know that Ian Malcolm will be your favorite. Because we understand these people and grow to care about them, we also worry that in the end, perhaps, none of them will survive. You must read to the end to learn their fate! And along the way, brave the T. Rex, the pterodactyl, the stegosaurus, and — of course — the raptors.
This breezy read is smart, sharply written, surprisingly funny, and impossible to put down. The exhilarating sequel to Jurassic Park is The Lost World — also recommended.
You know what’s wrong with scientific power? It’s a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are. — Michael Crichton
*If you haven’t seen the film version of Jurassic Park, for the love of all that is good, please remedy that situation immediately. Thank you.
This dino thriller (464 pages) was published in September of 2012 by Ballantine Books. The book takes you to costa rica. read Jurassic Park and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if didn't recommend it.
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.
Top image courtesy of Etienne Delorieux.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.