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The Devil in the White City
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Group Read Discussions > Dec 2015: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - No Spoilers

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message 1: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3676 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion without spoilers. The spoiler permitted thread is here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Happy reading!


Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 35 comments Hi Becky - please note that the title of this discussion says Spoilers Permitted, same as the other one. I'm looking forward to the discussion - I read the book years ago so I'll pop into the spoilers permitted discussion.


message 3: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2463 comments Mod
Fixed it.


Judy I read this book several years ago and found it fascinating. If you live near a good library, check to see if they have some books on the Chicago World's Fair. I got several oversized books that were mostly pictures, and out book club really enjoyed seeing the pictures.


Alex | 48 comments I've got this on my kindle so I'm hoping to get involved this month!


message 6: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 468 comments I read this a while back, too. Erik Larson did a fabulous job telling the story of a serial murderer in Chicago during a turbulent time (is there any other kind of time in Chicago?).

I've enjoyed all of his retellings of history, including the first one I think he came out with - Isaac's Storm A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson , which was about the devastating 1900 hurricane in Galveston, TX. My mother's family was living there then and some of them were mentioned in the book.


Peggyzbooksnmusic | 660 comments I read this a few months back for our library book club. I really enjoyed it and so did the majority of library group. A fascinating read!


message 8: by Mary (new)

Mary (maryhagen14yahoocom) | 70 comments I'm a fan of Erik Larson and enjoy his books.


message 9: by Robin P (last edited Dec 03, 2015 06:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P I agree that pictures would have added a lot. I found some amazing ones online of the Chicago World's Fair.

Dumb question - people do know that this (like all of Larson's books) is non-fiction, right? However, it's the kind of non-fiction we historical fiction buffs enjoy so a great choice.


message 10: by Ceri (last edited Dec 04, 2015 02:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ceri (klassycatlady) | 12 comments I really enjoyed this. Learning about the worlds fair was fascinating to me- I have read very little American history. I found the story of the building of the fair to be a little dry but once the fair was open I was enthralled.
The H.H Holmes stuff was where my interest really was piqued though. The "novel style" of the writing really brought his story to life. (Incidentally I don't think, Robin, your question is dumb- due to the writing style it would be very easy for someone to mistake this book for fiction)


Ioana | -8 comments Robin wrote: "people do know that this (like all of Larson's books) is non-fiction, right? However, it's the kind of non-fiction we historical fiction buffs enjoy so a great choice. "

I agree, this is a wonderful read. Like all Larson's books, well researched and very enjoyable.


message 12: by Robin P (last edited Dec 04, 2015 07:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P Ceri wrote: "I really enjoyed this. Learning about the worlds fair was fascinating to me- I have read very little American history. I found the story of the building of the fair to be a little dry but once the ..."

Actually, I found the World's Fair part more interesting than the other part. What they did to build the huge fair with no modern machinery was incredible.


message 13: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca (rebeccasg) | 138 comments I really want to read this. A cousin recommended this to me at Thanksgiving and I've had it on hold at the library every since. Hopefully I
ll get it in time to participate.


Robin (ukamerican) | 548 comments RebeccaS wrote: "I really want to read this. A cousin recommended this to me at Thanksgiving and I've had it on hold at the library every since. Hopefully I
ll get it in time to participate."


The great thing about this group is that topics aren't closed just because they're old. As far as I know, there's no rules against reviving a topic about a previous group read whenever you want. Although people might not be reading that book at that time, there's no reason we can't still talk about it (it just won't be as fresh in our minds).


message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura | 2 comments I am curious about this book and considering reading it. Is it a quick read or somewhat dense? What is the style of writing like? Was it suspenseful or slow?


Robin (ukamerican) | 548 comments Laura wrote: "I am curious about this book and considering reading it. Is it a quick read or somewhat dense? What is the style of writing like? Was it suspenseful or slow?"

For non-fiction it's pretty easy to read. Larson makes good use of creative non-fiction, and it's not excessively long either (447 pages).


Ioana | -8 comments Robin wrote: "The great thing about this group is that topics aren't closed just because they're old. "

I love this :)


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments Planning on picking up the audiobook as soon as I finish Abhorsen! My sister has my paperback copy.


Carol Bell (carolbell) | 7 comments I read this earlier this year in my RL book club. it was really interesting how each half of the book was dealt with. I liked the building of the fair part a lot because it just amazed me. They built it so fast and all the advancements they made for the time period we incredible too. I also liked up more about the fair just to see all they built and how well it was received by the public. The Holmes part was also intriguing but in a different way of course.

Both brilliant men, but used in very different ways.


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments Loving this; it's crazy how much it reads like a novel. Larson is so meticulous with his research and inclusion of detail, and the Holmes side of the story is chilling -- and I'm only at the 20% mark!


Robin (ukamerican) | 548 comments I am finding the chapters about the fair kind of boring, despite being well written. The chapters about Holmes are much more interesting but there obviously wasn't enough material to write a book solely about him.


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments I'm a bit bored by the fair chapters myself Robin, but I think it's a good break from the creeptastic Holmes chapters -- it's crazy how much he can tell you about the fair architects and everyone else associated with its production.


Kalena (bookt2) Personally, I enjoyed the details regarding the World's Fair way more. I am not a huge fan of true crime reads though. I did appreciate how Larson poured in information related to both stories. It makes one think about how multiple storylines overlap throughout history. Enjoyed this book and picked up one of his newer ones to read.


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments SO wrapped up in this, I hit 87% last night and did NOT want to stop -- unfortunately, being as I listen to my audiobooks at work, it was a bit of a necessity. Really excited to finish today! Holmes is an absolute horror.


Portia I'm about a third of the way in. Trying to squeeze a page or ten in between holiday stuff!


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments Done! Holy CRAP what a book. Moving his others up the TBR for sure.


Ioana | -8 comments Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten* wrote: "Done! Holy CRAP what a book. Moving his others up the TBR for sure."

He-he, that's what I did, too. In the Garden of Beasts is fantastic, better than this one I thought, and also Dead Wake. I recommend them both. I want to read more of his work.


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments Ioana wrote: "He-he, that's what I did, too. In the Garden of Beasts is fantastic, better than this one I ..."

I tried reading Garden earlier this year and it was really interesting but I wound up setting it aside bc I got distracted by some new releases. I think the audiobook is the best way to go for holding my attention with that one. I need to see about getting Dead Wake from the library soon!


Robin (ukamerican) | 548 comments Having finished the book, I should clarify that I found the details of the building of the fair a little boring but the second half about the completed fair was much more interesting to me. Still felt like two different books forced together, but two really good books.


message 31: by Ceri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ceri (klassycatlady) | 12 comments Robin wrote: "Having finished the book, I should clarify that I found the details of the building of the fair a little boring but the second half about the completed fair was much more interesting to me. Still f..."
I felt exactly the same, Robin, on all counts.


James Markert Loved this book and thought it read like a novel. I hear a movie is in the works!


Ashley Marie  | 554 comments James wrote: "Loved this book and thought it read like a novel. I hear a movie is in the works!"

Yeah, I hear Leo DiCaprio's supposed to play Holmes. I'm intrigued.


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