Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I finished the R.I.P. Challenge! I read 4 books between Sep. 1 and Oct. 25. That's gotta be some kind of record for me! I may even finish a 5th one by the time the challenge ends on October 31, midnite.

The last book I'd picked for this challenge was Devil in the White City. It was really good! I picked it to read last since I knew it wasn't going to move as quickly for me as the others. This book is nonfiction. I don't do well with nonfiction - even when it's written to read like a novel as DWC was. It's about the World Fair in Chicago 1894. It's about how that World Fair came about and the men who were instrumental in getting it pulled together (despite the usual bureaucratic nonsense).

It's hard to grasp the magnitude of the whole affair. Maybe if there were more pictures I could've wrapped my brain around it easier (or even if there were more comparisons to modern day structures). The sheer magnitude of the crew trying to build this "city" in such a short time is mind-boggling.

How this book fits in with the R.I.P. Challenge is the way the author wove in the story of a serial killer who took advantage of the influx of strangers coming to Chicago at the time of the World Fair - both to enjoy the fair and to find work in this already large and suddenly booming city. It was shortly after Jack the Ripper made a name for himself in London. Jack was credited with 5 killings and he is in our consciousness yet today. He's so iconic, I don't think you could find a single person in the Western world over the age of 10 who doesn't know about him. The killer in this book admitted to killing 27 people (estimates are higher). And he didnt' discriminate - men, women, children, he didn't care.

The book was very well done. An occasional foray into unnecessary speculation (mostly about the killer's childhood) but other then that a fascinating and very satisfying read.

The 5th book I'm trying to finish before the week ends is a book I won from the R.I.P. Challenge! It's a first edition of Neil Gaiman's new book The Graveyard Book. I won it through a random drawing in the Challenge. (Actually someone else's name was drawn and she told the host that she had received a copy for her birthday so to go ahead and pass it on and then my name was drawn. Very generous of her - thank you!)

If you've never read any thing from Gaiman, I highly suggest you go find something of his and get started. I've only read Coraline and I adore that book! I've also watched his Neverwhere series (on DVD from the library). It's very cool! I'm thoroughly enjoying this Graveyard Book as well and will be delving more into Gaiman's works in the future.

Hey, I wanted to say thanks for the huge response I've had for the Traveling Trevor contest! I posted about it on Friday and by Saturday, I already had 15 people! I have about 20 people entered, including 2 from Canada and one from New Zealand! If you are out of the States, you can certainly enter - I will email you the paper doll and his Traveling Form and you can just mail it back to us when you've finished with him.

Still reading, Ruth!


Anonymous said...

Neil Gaiman rocks! I heard him speak at a library conference a few years ago -- what a hunk he is. Did you know he lives in Wisconsin? Not that I would ever stalk him. Heh. Right now I am listening to him read his book Stardust. And then I will listen to him read Neverwhere. I didn't know there was a movie of that one -- must see it.

Nell said...

More Gaiman for you... American Gods and Stardust. Both are excellent!