Devil in the White Vity is my favorite kind of nonfiction--the kind that reads like fiction! In this case it actually reads like two stories that happ...moreDevil in the White Vity is my favorite kind of nonfiction--the kind that reads like fiction! In this case it actually reads like two stories that happen simultaneously--the creation of Chicago's World's Fair of 1893 and serial killer H.H. Holmes. I see how Larson was trying to tie these rival narratives together, but I thought the World's Fair half of the story was so much more compelling, I found myself skipping through bits of the Holmes' tale. But it was a small price to pay for a great read about a time and place in history I knew next to nothing about. (less)
If goodreads would let me give this four and a half stars, I would. I'm not big into true crime (or really any kind of crime) works of literature, and...moreIf goodreads would let me give this four and a half stars, I would. I'm not big into true crime (or really any kind of crime) works of literature, and of course I had heard the story of Charles Manson, but never EVER had I realized what a horribly fascinating cult leader he really was. His beliefs are of the so-weird-they-must-be-real variety, and the fact that he could convince other people to not just kill for him, but to do so in a way that is so brutal and horrific, makes him singular among the world's most notorious criminals. Told by the prosecutor who devoted years and years to putting this man and his crazy followers behind bars, it made for a gripping read, especially by someone who didn't know all the gruesome details. Worth reading, especially now with all those Sharon Tate references on Mad Men!(less)
Full disclosure: I have been reading Alan Sepinwall's work for years. So obviously, I like more than a little something about his tone and subject mat...moreFull disclosure: I have been reading Alan Sepinwall's work for years. So obviously, I like more than a little something about his tone and subject matter. But that being said, I would have given this book 5 stars whether I grew up reading his Soprano reviews--first in the Star Ledger and later on What's Alan Watching & Hitflix--or not.
Each chapter in the book is about one of the 12 TV dramas since the late nineties that have revolutionized television in someway--gave us the antihero, trusted the viewer to follow highly serialized story lines, and played with political and sometimes-polarizing themes. I had binge-watched most of the shows he tackles at one point or another, but even those that I had never seen (Oz, The Shield) or had only seen bits and pieces of (24), were absorbing (although this book makes no bones at all about spoiling a lot of pertinent plot points).
Written mostly chronologically, the chapters could be read independently if you just wanted to hear about the creator's manifesto attached to the pilot script of Battlestar Galactica or about the differing opinions of why (and when!) Deadwood got cancelled. But even better is reading it as one long tale of how television as a medium became more ambitious with the rise of cable networks, new standards of what makes a hit, and technology that allows the viewer to become more personally involved.(less)
According to Ken Jennings, "If you never open a map until you're lost, you're missing out on all the fun." That stands, too, for those who think readi...moreAccording to Ken Jennings, "If you never open a map until you're lost, you're missing out on all the fun." That stands, too, for those who think reading about people who love maps might be boring. Jennings brings his signature brand of quirky, self-depreciating humor to topics ranging from geography bees to the team behind Rand McNally to fantasy nerds and entertained me every step of the way.(less)