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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Devil in the White City

I knew pretty much nothing about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair before reading Erik Larsen's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.  The titular devil is Herman Webster Mudgett, better known has H. H. Holmes, one of the first documented modern serial killers in America.  The book came highly recommended, so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed it.  What did surprise me was that I found the logistical nightmares facing someone organizing a world's fair even more engrossing than the the gritty details of a murdering psychopath.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


I fell behind on writing reviews on the books I've read and have been working to catch up.  I'm sure that some of my reviews haven't been as detailed as they would have been if I'd gotten around to some of them sooner.  Some reviews I've skipped altogether because they didn't make much of an impression and I couldn't remember how I felt about them six months later.  That is not an issue I have with Ulysses by James Joyce.  When I saw that was my next book to review, the white hot rage welled up in me like I just finished reading this piece of trash yesterday.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was the second book I've read by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  The first book was Bully Pulpit, Goodwin's take on Roosevelt, Taft, and the press.  I really enjoyed her approach, which focused on multiple people and, as a result, provided both breadth and depth to her subjects that might have been lost by focusing on a single person.  Team of Rivals takes the same approach and I found it just as enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac is a much lauded novel published in 1957 that relates the travels of the protagonist across the United States based, to some degree, on the experiences of the author.  Unfortunately, it's another book that I just couldn't connect with.  To me, On the Road was, first and foremost, a portrayal of the characters.  I might even go so far as to say that it had no plot.  It's not about what happens to the characters, really, but how they respond to those things and develop as individuals.