Monday, December 29, 2008

Double Your Pleasure! Two Book Reviews!

#58 for the year is The Devil In The White City, by Erik Larson. What a way to wrap up my 2008 book list! The Devil In The White City is a must read. It's the nonfiction account of simultaneous historical events: 1) The 1893 Chicago World's Fair and 2) a charming, but deadly serial killer who used the fair to lure victims into his macabre web. Both stories are equally fascinating and equally spellbinding. The Chicago World's Fair was a monumental effort of architecture and invention and human will triumphing over circumstance. The story of H.H. Holmes is virtually unknown, and horribly dark, but mesmerizing nonetheless. The book reads like a well-written suspense thriller. Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, all make cameo appearances.

#59 for the year is a classic. The Years was Virginia Woolf's final book before her suicide. The Years follows an upper-class London family for three generations through their changes--births, deaths, marriages, love affairs, as well as the changes of the society (from the late 1880s through the 1930s) around them. Virginia Woolf isn't for everyone and her stream of consciousness writing style may get on your nerves. In this case, though, I think it works particularly well. The Years details lives that go on and on with seemingly nothing monumental happening in them. The overarching theme--the struggle to find meaning in an individual life is universal. Look for "sub-threads" like feminism, utopia, the rise of fascism, the limits of social classism, that were somewhat daring for the time.


Ed. Tritschler said...

Nancy and I read Windy City in 2007 and you are right. It is a must read.!!!

shoeaddict said...

I think I'll read both of these.


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