Tag Archives: literature

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.
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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A Favorite Read and a Bestseller…

It’s been an amazing week for me and my books.

My first book, a novel in verse called The Brubury Tales, is now available on kindle. In the first week it made Amazon’s bestselling poetry book list in the UK #81 and #40 in Italy (for books in English).

My second book, Gary, the Four-Eyed Fairy and Other Stories was reviewed and name a 2012 favorite read for April by Multi-Story.co.uk and received a 5-star review. It’s available on Kindle today for only 99 cents. Download it now before the price goes up.

Thanks to everyone who has given these books a shot. I really appreciate your support! It’s very exciting and beyond my wildest dreams how well the books are doing.

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Pause for Poetry: A Reading of “Night Mistress” by David J. Delaney

This week’s edition of Pause for Poetry focuses on Australian poet David J. Delaney and his poem “Night Mistress” read by renowned Australian documentary film maker Don Featherstone.

Delaney describes his work as Australian rhyming bush poetry. I call it good, old-fashioned storytelling. But whatever you call it, the clear descriptions and images of Delaney’s work provides a powerful insight into lives and experiences he records in Australia’s vast and beautiful outback, with a musical rhyming poetry that is always contemporary and never forced.

What’s also interesting about Delaney is the fact that he left school at the age of 15 and has no formal education in writing. His work is completely inspired by memories and stories and springs entirely from his passion for life and his love of family, friends and his colleagues. If nothing else, his work demonstrates that a degree in literature is not required in order to read, write and enjoy poetry.

With this in mind, let’s all hit the Pause buttons on our lives for a few minutes and watch this creative and stirring video reading of “Night Mistress” written by David J. Delaney and produced by The Redroom Company in Sydney.

Watch video at Frank Mundo’s LA Books Examiner.

Frank Mundo is the author of the poetry book The Brubury Tales.

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Pause for poetry: a reading of ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling (video)

Joseph Rudyard Kipling, Pause for Poetry at Frank Mundo's LA Books ExaminerThe first English writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Joseph Rudyard Kipling is probably best known today for his classic story The Jungle Book, which was adapted by Disney in the 1960s and became one of its most beloved animated films. Kipling was a great poet and master short-story writer whose support of English imperialism in his work both helped and harmed his reputation throughout his long career. His enormously popular poem “If” is a great example of this concept, which was inspired by Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, leader of the controversial Jameson Raid in South Africa in 1985.

But politics (and gender bias) aside, “If” is an excellent poem full of pragmatic advice that continues to inspire readers around world today.

With this in mind, let’s all hit the Pause Button on our lives for a few minutes and check out this video reading of Kipling’s “If”.

Watch the video at Frank Mundo’s LA Books Examiner. 

See all videos in the Pause for Poetry Series.

Read poetry by Frank Mundo

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What Would You Do If You Ran the World?

Author Shelly Rachanow

Author Shelly Rachanow

In 2003, Shelly Rachanow, a former attorney in Atlanta, Georgia moved to California to pursue her life-long dream of living by the beach and becoming the kind of writer that truly empowers people. Six years and two successful books later, Shelly’s writing has inspired thousands of people to do more for their families, their friends, their jobs, the world, and especially themselves on their quest to live the life of their dreams.

Shelly’s first book, If Women Ran the World, Sh*t Would Get Done was published in 2006. But don’t be fooled by the title. This is not some hateful diatribe against men. For Shelly, the book is really a positive celebration of the accomplishments of women. In the book, Shelly offers real-life stories, lists of amazing things women do, inspirations, What-if questions, and an interactive section that galvanizes readers to reach for more by writing their own visions for the world.

Published in 2009, Shelly’s second book, What Would You Do If You Ran the World? is the direct result of one of those What-if questions from her first book. Over the last few years, Shelly received so many letters and emails answering this question that she was inspired to write this follow-up to her successful first book, now in its sixth printing, which includes a new Korean translation.

I met up with Shelly Rachanow recently and I had a few questions for her:

Read the full interview

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