Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I don’t normally read a lot of nonfiction, except memoirs (which I love), but this book was highly recommended by a friend, so I gave it a shot. Plus, I was intrigued by the book-cover descriptions that referred to the book as a nonfiction novel – which made me think of Capote’s In Cold Blood or something like that – and hopefully not some dry textbook that, while most likely educational and probably edifying to my soul, might be just plain boring.

And, thankfully, I was right, and my friend’s recommendation was spot on.

Yes, Erik Larson offers extensive research to recreate the building of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, bookending his account a few years before and after this major event in American history. And, yes, this story alone is worthy of an entire book by an author or Larson’s talent. But he did more; he made it fascinating. I was learning (gasp!) and was also thoroughly entertained at the same time.

The story deals with, along with many other topics, genius. The first is Daniel Burnham, the architect who builds the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. And the other is H.H. Holmes, evil but no less a genius, one of the first known serial killers in the United States (with a “murder castle” of horrors) who exploits the fair to find his victims. (There’s a third smaller but still important plotline about Patrick Eugene Prendergast who assassinates popular mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. before the fair is through). We also meet a lot of other geniuses throughout the book from Frederick Olmstead, George R. Davis, G. Brown Goode, Francis David Millet, Ferris (famous Ferris Wheel designer) to Kodak to Buffalo Bill Cody and many, many more, who all helped pulled off this historic event.

There’s not much more to say without spoiling the book, except that I found the first half of the book more educational and the second half of the book more entertaining (and much easier to read). If I have one complaint (a big one), it’s that Larson didn’t discuss Frank Geyer enough – Geyer is the genius detective, from the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency, whose relentless determination in getting his man led to an epic cross-country investigation that ends the book with a much bigger bang than I ever expected. Geyer deserves his own book!

Nonetheless, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is an excellent read that makes learning fun.

Books by Frank Mundo

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“Different”is the Reprise Review at Big Al’s Books and Pals Today

Very cool. Big Al’s Books and Pals had made my book “Different” its Reprise Review of the day. Check it out.
http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2016/11/reprise-review-different-by-frank-mundo.html
Different tells the story of Gregory Gourde, who wakes up in his bed one morning with an impossible new feature. We follow Gregory down a rabbit hole of sorts to a new world and an audacious exploration of what it really means to be different in this dark yet humorous nod to Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

 

 

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Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Part parable, part thriller, part cautionary tale, “The Vegetarian” is the crushing story of a family who seem both unwilling and unable to address the worsening mental illness of one of their own: a young woman name Yeong-hye, whose dream one night not only turns her against eating meat, it kick starts an extremely violent battle against everyone she knows for her mind, her body and her soul.

Told in three acts, from three very different perspectives: Yeong-hye’s awful husband, her pervy artist brother-in-law, and her miserable put-upon sister, the author explores the explosive relationship between inner-world passions and outer-world limitations — that strike-slip fault where the submission, subversion and expression of personal choices must meet and account for personal responsibility and familial and societal obligation.

Dark, disturbing, provocative, bloody, violent, intense, and sometimes even beautiful, “The Vegetarian” was a fast and excellent read — surprisingly meaty for its 192 pages. Hard to put down, especially in the first section. Four stars and a bit more.

I read it on my iPhone with the Kindle App, and there weren’t any formatting, typos or other issues. Definitely worth the money.

Get The Vegetarian by Han Kang at Amazon.

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Frank Mundo 2016 Best of the Net Anthology Nominee

Honored that my poem “Aubade” has been nominated for the 2016 Sundress Publications Best of the Net Anthology. Thank you to Marie C Lecrivain, editor-publisher of poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles.

poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles’ nominees for 2016 Sundress Publications Best of the Net Anthology.

CREATIVE NONFICTION

1) G Murray Thomas -“A Personal History Of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Spoken Word

PROSE

1) Carol Schwalberg – “Knock-Out

2) Lynne Bronstein -“A Present For the Teacher

POETRY

1) Gwyndyn Alexander – “Poet in Atlantis

2) Deborah Edler Brown – “Taller Than the Moon

3) Frank Mundo – “Aubade

4) Angel Uriel Perales – “Minuet of the Burning Fields

5) Ben Trigg – “Shoes

6) Viola Weinberg Spencer -“Salvadore Dali Takes His Anteater For a Walk

 

Congrats to the nominees.

http://www.poeticdiversity.org

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Different by Frank Mundo is FREE this Weekend

You read it right. My book Different is free this Saturday through Monday, March 25-27 on Kindle. Check it out.

If you choose to read it, please share your review on GR and Amazon. Love it or hate it, I appreciate your time and your opinion.

Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Different-Frank-Mundo-ebook/dp/B00H7GAJTM

Different is an illustrated novella for adults. It’s in the Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy genres. There are six reviews on GR, and four on Amazon: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19454182-different

Summary: If you like those “peculiar” children Tim Burton is about to make famous, you might like Different.

One morning 12-year-old Gregory Gourde wakes up in his bed with an impossible new feature: his head has become a watermelon. We follow Gregory down a rabbit hole of sorts to a new world and an audacious exploration of what it really means to be different in this dark yet humorous nod to Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

The illustrations in Different are woodcut-style black-and-white drawings (after the famous Alice in Wonderland art) by Keith Draws, who also illustrated my other book, The Brubury Tales (Illustrated Edition) and the cover of my short-story collection, Gary, the Four-Eyed Fairy (who, incidentally, makes an appearance in Different).

*Adult language and content. Not for children under 13 or 14.

I hope you enjoy Different.

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Classical Carousel Reviews The Brubury Tales

I am honored and so grateful for the amazing reviews and responses to my book The Brubury Tales that continue to come in.

Just today, an in-depth book review of The Brubury Tales was posted at Classical Carousel, an exceptional literary blog that reviews classic books by dead authors almost exclusively. But, because the site was already taking on  Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, The Brubury Tales (my homage to Chaucer’s amazing work) was chosen to be included in a side-by-side reading challenge of old and new! That decision alone was a huge honor and an awesome reminder to me of how lucky I am to keep finding an audience for such an unusual book — based on a work that means so very much to me.

You can read the full review of The Brubury Tales here.

And please be sure to check out the full reviews of The Canterbury Tales as well, and all the many Classical Carousel reviews of some of the best books by some of the best dead writers ever.

The Brubury Tales is available in paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.

 

The Brubury Tales is an ambitious homage to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It takes Chaucer’s story and frame to Los Angeles just after the riots, where seven security guards on the graveyard shift swap tales in a hilarious storytelling competition for Christmas vacation time.

 

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2014 Readers’ Choice Award nominee at BigAl’s Books and Pals

Different by Frank Mundo is nominated for 2014 Readers' Choice Award at BigAl's Books and Pals

Different by Frank Mundo

I’m pleased to announce that my book, Different, is up for the 2014 Readers’ Choice Award for Fantasy books at BigAl’s Books and Pals.

Published on December 9th, 2013, Different tells the story of 12-year-old Gregory Gourde, a bright yet awkward kid who experiences certain physical changes one morning that even puberty can’t explain: his head has become a watermelon.

What follows is an audacious exploration of what it really means to be different in this dark yet humorous nod to Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”. Different also includes a dozen original woodcut-inspired black-and-white illustrations by Keith Draws.

Different was reviewed by BigAl’s Books and Pals on December 31, 2013, which you can read here.

If you’ve read and liked Different, please take a minute to vote for it in the Fantasy Category at BigAl’s using the Rafflecopter application/form. Just for voting you are entered to win prizes and free books. Check it out. And thank you for your support.

Different is now available in ebook and paperback versions on Amazon. Visit my Amazon author page for more info on all of my books.

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