A great group of people descended on my house last night for March’s book club. While I didn’t have time to prepare a ferris wheel of cupcakes or a powerpoint presentation, I think it still went well! (not sure what this means? Check out the link on our facebook page)
We had two welcome additions to the group this month – welcome to Emily and Joelle. They blended seamlessly into the organised chaos of book club and after about 10 minutes were part of the family. I hope to see you both again soon!
This month we were reading non-fiction and therefore concentrated our literary analysis on The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen.
There were mixed reviews on the book – generally, it was well liked but some people found that it simply didn’t answer the questions posed by the author. There was a mixture of incredulity and amazement at the topic and was a good historical reminder on how lucky we are to have a) a functioning police force b) modern methods of communication and c) relative ease of completing tasks (imagine having to hit deadlines at work without your iphone, laptop etc)
Some found Larsen’s writing style a little lacking. In some places, he revealed in intrinsic detail (the woman who had her purse stolen, named in the book once and never mentioned again) but some thought this was a method of padding the story out to its final 450 odd pages.
The whole book was seen as a very “American tale” – stories of a city wanting to be bigger and better, something so extravagant and yet so temporary. There was some discussion about the relative size of fairs in the US vs the rest of world (comparing le comptoir Suisse Suisse and a state fair, for example)
We delved more into the character of Holmes – why was he so successful with women? How was he able to do what he did? We discussed his charm, his sociopathy and the fact that he may have been protected by his status. There was a long discussion about nature vs nurture and whether all serial killer and fraudsters are charmers.
The discussion ended, as ever, with a variety of topics including equal pay for women, religion, and Donald Trump. Yep, all the things they say you shouldn’t talk about in polite company (sex, religion, and politics). Thankfully, this group being what it is, there were no punches thrown and everyone left in high spirits.
As a side note, we were sorry not to see Jess this month. She was putting us all to shame by taking part in a race, and beating her personal best. Well done Jess and see you soon!