Monday, April 06, 2009

belated book club reports

Just some quick comments on the last two book's the book club discussed

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

It's always interesting to have a nonfiction selection for book club. People who don't normally show up for meetings make an appearance and we end up with a much more diverse group for discussion.

Devil in the White City is a fascinating read. It's about the Chicago Worlds Fair, specifically architect Daniel Burham's part in making it happen, and the notorious serial killer, H.H. Holmes. Larson also weaves into the story of Chicago during 1890s threads (some smaller than others) about Frederick Law Olmstead, Buffalo Bill, Thomas Edison, and Susan B. Anthony, among others.

Larson may have bitten off a bit more than he could chew, however. While we liked the juxtaposition of the two main stories, a number of us thought that the book would have been stronger if it had been more focused.

March -
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

A heart-felt and complex coming-of-age story, Curious Incident is narrated by an autistic 15-year-old as if he was writing a murder mystery in which he's the detective.

This book was one of the best books we've read so far in terms of generating discussion. It was also a surprisingly quick read. We all liked it. We thought Christopher was a very sympathetic character and we appreciated seeing the world through his eyes.

The novel is innovative and important and most definitely worthy of the Whitbread Novel Award.

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