Sunday, June 8, 2008

DWC-DQ Part 1

1. In what ways is this nonfiction book like a novel? Is it more satisfying to read fiction or nonfiction?

The author takes the facts and then fills them in with emotions and details to make it more storylike. For instance, when he buys the drugstore from Mrs. Holton:
"Holmes entered the store and there found an elderly woman named Mrs. Holton. He sensed vulnerability, sensed it the way another man might capture the trace of a woman's perfume. . . He spoke softly, smiled often, and held her in his frank blue gaze. . . "

For me, reading fiction or non-fiction satisfies different needs. I tend to swing from one to the other. I do find fiction easier to read, and with non-fiction I have to concentrate more and I do more rereading of passages, but I love to learn new things and so it's worth it.

2. What have you found out so far about Chicago, the Fair, and the two men: Burnham and Holmes?

The strongest impression I have had so far in the description of Chicago at the time is how relatively safe the world around me is. All the talks of anonymous death, two people killed a day at the city's railroad crossings, heads cut off, carriages careening into crowds, fires killing a dozen people a day and the newspapers saying people were "roasted", all the sickness and murder, etc.--it makes our world look like something from Mary Poppins. We try so much these days to shield our children from viewing too much violence, but in Chicago at the time it was day to day life. It seems like, and maybe I'm wrong, that in today's world, Holmes would have been been arrested for fraud and debt before he even had a chance to build his nightmare mansion.


Tricia said...

I agree. It takes me longer to read nonfiction. Sometimes it's the detail, but often it's the rereading that is required.

Zorro said...

I have finished DWC and am following up with Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam about Dr. John Brinkley whose mansion was across the street from where I grew up. He transplanted goat testicles into men to restore their manhood!. He worked in Chicago and all over the midwest in the years after the Fair. Then was run out of the US to practice in Mexico. He lived in Del Rio, Texas and operated in Villa Acuna across the Rio Grande. He built XERF radio station to advertise his surgery and built a hotel in Del Rio to hold his patients as they recovered.

Holy Moly! what a couple of non-fiction crazy stories these two books have been! People can be so naive and trusting of "doctors".

Chain Reader said...

That is freaky!!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

What's freaky, Shelley? The book we're reading? Mary's comment?

Chain Reader said...

I was referring to the goat testicle doctor. Very weird!