Performancing Metrics

There's A Book

Hi, this is Gwen from Chew & Digest Books. Cross-Bloggination was a great idea crafted in the mind of Lydia from The Lost Entwife. Once a month, Lydia, Danielle, & I are going to switch off the posting reigns and share a book that just might be something new to our readers. The three of us focus on different genres on our respective blogs, so this is a chance to expand our minds a bit.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America

This book just might change your mind about nonfiction. Written in a narrative style, The Devil in the White City is two stories really, the story of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and the story of a one royally evil man named H.H. Holmes. I found myself so involved in the story that it felt like a novel.

In February of 1890, President Harrison signed the act that designated Chicago as the site for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America. Chicagoans cheered, they had finally beat New York as something and there was pandemonium in the streets. That is great, but that also meant that they had just two years to plan, design, fund, and build an entire fairgrounds to serve what ended up being 27 million visitors.

Architect Daniel Burnham came to the rescue and The Devil in White City tells the story of his rise to the top and trials with making the fair not only beat world records, but still being a shining symbol of just what Chicago can do today. The book does a fabulous job of just telling it like it was, not bogging you down with the usual dry nonfiction facts & figures. When Burnham’s partner dies, you find yourself wanting to cheer him up and wondering if he can still pull of the job alone. I have never read a book that pulls you in like this, especially since you already know that the Fair did indeed happen.

While architects from all over America are kept busy with the fair, H.H. Holmes is busy designing his own plans. He designs a hotel to serve fair guests nearby, but this building has some very strange features…like its own soundproof furnace and for some reason, the construction workers have a habit of disappearing. When is someone going to notice that every one of this guy’s girlfriends “moves” away, never to be heard from again?

If you have always thought that nonfiction was boring, that history was well, history, or if you just need a few ideas on how to make people vanish without getting caught, The Devil in the White City is what the doctor ordered. Try it, you know you want to.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

  • Paperback: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375725601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375725609

Make sure you check out what Danielle has in store for you at The Lost Entwife and see what Lydia’s favorite book this month was at Chew & Digest.

Thanks for having me Danielle, I hope that this experience proves as fun for the readers of There’s a Book as it has been for me! ~Gwen

7 Responses to Guest Post: Cross-Bloggination – Gwen from Chew and Digest Books

  1. Lydia says:

    It’s funny that you chose this book this month, Gwen… as it’s been the bane of my existence. I tried to read it a few months ago and just had the hardest time with it and since then have been rebuked by friends and family for not trying hard enough.

    I should try again!

    Thanks for participating, fantastic post!

    • Gwen says:

      Maybe next month I will choose one that won’t kill you Lydia. I know that I have a few winners in my stack to read for this month.

  2. Hi!
    This sounds great 🙂

  3. No no! I’m planning on trying again. You’ve inspired me!

  4. Tif says:

    This is literary my favorite non-fiction book of all time!!! It is so fascinating and an easy read! I was so excited to see that this one was the book of choice to kick things off! 🙂

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