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Reading Diary: August 3

A slightly delayed reading diary, because I wanted to be able to report that I had finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen–which I have. Highly recommended, a fascinating bit of popular history that points up the largely forgotten impact that the Chicago World’s Fair had on everything from popular culture to architecture to breakfast cereal. (Shredded Wheat, anyone?)

It’s also a striking reminder that although the people who inhabited the past were not very different from us, the world they inhabited was. Despite all our problems of the present, I would much rather be alive now than then, thanks very much; and today’s Chicago with whatever civic difficulties it might face is a far, far better place than the Chicago of 1893, if you ask me.

I also highly recommend the previous book of Erik Larsen’s I read, Isaac’s Storm, about the devastating hurricane that struck Galveston in the days before accurate storm forecasting. In fact, it was my enjoyment of that book that led me to The Devil in the White City.

Now on to the latest edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction, just in time for ConVersion, the Calgary SF convention I’m off to this weekend. After that…I haven’t decided yet.

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