Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: rrnewneighbors.org [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

Literary Events

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The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here.
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Round Rock Public Library Book Group meets monthly at 7:00-8:30 PM. Check the library website for more information, or ask Carla.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Devil in the White City

When I went home from book discussion last Monday, I was so proud of our group! Almost everyone had read the book, the full title of which is Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson. Of course, we all enjoyed it; it was a great read! But, I think it's a very special group of people who will tackle and tame a fat, well-written history book in August, rather than a simple romance or mystery. And, we all found the story compelling and the history fascinating! The author did a great job, but he couldn't have done it for each of us without our contributing our share in time and intellectual effort and focus. We had another enlightening discussion, too, with many insights and contributions that everyone enjoyed!

Here are a few of the highlights, in case you read or are reading the book and missed the meeting:

The current Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is in one two buildings from the fair that is still standing. It was the art building at the fair. So, if you have been to Chicago or plan to go there, take an extra look...

Burnham and Holmes were each obsessed in some way, Burnham by the Exposition and Holmes by his sick stuff.

Why wasn't Burnham more famous? Would he and Root as a team have been famous if Root had lived?

The fair was the best character in the book.

Imagine the magic and sensory overload the people in that era would have had upon going to the fair, from plain homes in small towns without TV, Internet, nonlocal food, or much access to the World at all. Those from Chicago would have been from the "black (soot-covered from coal) city," and so also would have been enthralled by the fair.

Everyone was surprised by all the aspects of current life that originated at the fair. Pabst Blue-Ribbon beer explained!

How about the size of that Ferris wheel? What would it cost to insure such a ride today?

I brought some commemorative stamps that had been minted in honor of the exposition in 1893; my husband had them in an old stamp collection. They were the first commemorative stamps in US history!

Patty's family has a gold medal that was won by her husband's grandfather at the fair for the best butter from Amber, Iowa (I think that was the town).

One of us read all the parts about Holmes and then went back to read all the parts about the fair!

We had more good discussion about Holmes and who we liked and disliked and what we found interesting. Questions were answered for some of us.

Although reading is its own reward, after finishing a good book, there's nothing like a good discussion with others who have read the book!

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