first paragraph

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Saturday, February 04, 2012
I just started The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. I was worried at first that I'd left this book too long - the meeting for my non-ficton book group is a week from Sunday and non-fiction (depending on subject) takes me longer to read than fiction. But after reading this first paragraph I don't think I'll have any problem. It all seems very exciting! This quote's not even the book proper, but an author's note at the very beginning.

Evils Imminent
(a note)
In Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century amid the smoke of industry and the clatter of trains there lived two men, both handsome, both blue-eyed, and both unusually adept at their chosen skills. Each embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized the rush of America toward the twentieth century. One was an architect, the builder of many of America's most important structures, among them the Flatiron building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C.; the other was a murderer, one of the most prolific in history and harbinger of an American archetype, the urban serial killer. Although the two never met, at least not formally, their fates were linked by a single, magical event, one largely fallen from modern recollection but that in its time was considered to possess a transformative power nearly equal to that of the Civil War. 

Like I said: EXCITING. Can't you hear the movie trailer guy reading this?

Earlier today I finished The Magician King by Lev Grossman. It was so good! I'm still collecting my thoughts - right now they're bouncing around ("remember that part? so excellent!" etc.)  and I'm full of that good feeling a satisfying novel delivers.
4 comments on "first paragraph"
  1. I LOVE that book. Love it. And they're already in development on the movie version. But I can count the number of amazing books that got adapted into amazing movies on one hand. So definitely good to read the book before it gets turned into Oscar bait, or competition for Candyland the movie (also in development). Sigh.

    ps. I also love Burnham's quote that I believe is used as an epigraph in that book: "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood."

  2. Every person I've talked to who has read the book has LOVED IT. I'm glad to get started on it.

    Now that you mention it, I guess I did know there was a movie somewhere down the line - we looked it up at work since the book came out in 2003 and there are still (let me check...) 56 holds on 33 copies in our system. That's a lot for a 9 year old work of non-fiction!

    Candyland?! Can Magic 8-Ball be far behind?

  3. Probably not. They're also redoing a movie version of Man From U.N.C.L.E. My mother is distraught over that.

    I'm not a huge non-fiction person. I get totally sucked into some non-fiction, but on the whole I like my books totally made up. BUT, creative non-fiction, I eat that shit up. :)

    I'm from Chicago, and you can still tour the top floor of the Rookery, which has been kept in tact. And the museum of science and industry is actually housed in what was one of the White City buildings, the Fine Arts building, i think.

  4. Creative non-fcition is still non-fiction! But I see where you're coming from - I was never a big non-fiction person ether, which is why I joined this group. There are a couple of other fiction people there, some hard-core science peeps - a good mix. I figure I can do 8 or so a year (we meet every month, but I don't make every meeting). In addition to reading some truly great books, it gives me fact-based argument advantages out in the world ;)

    That's so cool that you can tour some of those buildings! I bet being from the area and reading the book is like reading an enhanced annotated version - you know right where everything is and already have a sense of the topography and history. (although Larson is very generous with the details for us non-natives as well!)


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