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6.10.2016

Book Report - The Devil In The White City and Then She Found Me

The next couple of books I read as part of the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge were Erik Larson's, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America and Elinor Lipman's, Then She Found Me which marked off "A book that takes place in your hometown" and "A book written by an author with your same initials" respectively.

First up, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.
The Devil in the White City recounts the remarkable events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. A non-fiction account presented to the reader in a novel-like format tells the story of both Daniel H. Burnham, the extraordinary architect behind the "White City", as the fairgrounds came to be known; and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who sets up shop nearby to easily lure victims traveling far from home to his carefully crafted hotel of horrors.

This was my first foray into reading Erik Larson, and if it's any indication of what the rest of his library of works is like, then I'll be sure to read him again. The book reads as pure fiction and was a great history lesson on a topic I would normally care nothing about, the construction of the Chicago World's Fair. Of course, the part of the book that really kept me coming back for more was the true-crime portion surrounding H.H. Holmes, America's first serial killer. It had me totally enthralled. Just a fantastically interesting read overall.

Next up, The She Found Me by Elinor Lipman.
April Epner leads a simple life. She teaches high school Latin, and is content to stay at home most evenings. Her life gets turned upside down, though, when brashy daytime talk show host, Bernice Graverman, reveals she is April's biological mother. Determined to make amends and make up for lost time, Bernice is now butting into April's life every chance she gets - full of unsolicited advice for April about love, life, and everything in between.

I'm trying to think of a word to sum-up Then She Found Me, and I think the word is, "meh." It wasn't necessarily bad, but I was never dying to get back to reading it. I enjoyed April's relationship with fellow teacher, Dwight Willamee; but found Bernice to be a bit annoying and pathetic. I'm not exactly sure why April put up with her. All-in-all, I'd classify this is an okay beach read. Something to distract you for a little bit, but requires very little effort from you as the reader.

What are you reading these days?

P.S. Hah! I just realized while writing this that both authors share my initials! I wish I had realized that earlier. I would have totally read another Erik Larson book instead!

P.P.S. Did you know H.H. Holmes and his creepy hotel was the inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel? Also, Devil in the White City, is slated to be turned into a movie too, with Leonardo DiCaprio playing H.H. Holmes and directed by, of course, Martin Scorsese.

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