October Discussion – The Devil in the White City

This month we’re reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. What did you think of the book? Any comments? Tell us your thoughts.

Or, answer one of our discussion questions:

  1. Why do you think Erik Larson chose to tell Burnham and Holmes’ stories together? Do you think they worked well together or would you have preferred to read about just Holmes or just Burnham?
  2. You know who the serial killer is from the beginning of the book. Does this cause anticipation for the rest of the story or does it ruin it for you?
  3. The Devil in the White City has a lot of characters – some major and some, like Patrick Prendergast or Harriet Munroe that show up only now and then throughout the book. Who was your favourite “minor” character?
  4. The World’s Fair introduced many new inventions to the world from Juicy Fruit to Shredded Wheat. What was your favourite invention?
  5. What satisfaction can be derived from a nonfiction book like The Devil in the White City that cannot be found in novels? In what ways is the book like a novel?

You can contribute to the discussion anonymously or let us know who you are, and we’ll give a shout-out during the podcast!

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Amy
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Looking forward to reading this! I heard about Holmes and his hotel of horrors on the Lore podcast a long time ago but was unaware this book featured him. Sorry I didn’t read fast enough to comment more before you guys recorded.

I enjoy nonfiction because it gives us “for reals” feel good or inspirational stories that can reaffirm the goodness of humanity….but also makes for some of the scariest stories when we read about the more horrific side of human nature (such as Holmes).