holiday reading


** Click here for Episode 190 **

Ben from Southampton has done the research that we couldn’t do in the fields of Wales the other week:

I just listened to episode 189 where the provenance of Ferris wheels came up. You’re right that they were named after a Mr Ferris but here are some further details, as learned from the brilliant book The Devil In The White City (movie rights owned by Leonardo DiCaprio).

The Chicago World Exposition at the end of the 1800s was tasked with outdoing the previous one in Paris where the Eiffel Tower was unveiled. A contest was held for the centrepiece of the fair and while many people submitted designs for towers, Daniel Burnham, architect and director of the fair, wanted something different so as not to be seen as copying Paris. The Ferris wheel was the design he picked from the competition entries.

It’s a brilliant book following two concurrent stories – one, Burnham’s impossible task of building the amazing Exposition against seemingly impossible obstacles, and the other being the story of HH Holmes, America’s first known/documented modern psychopath who is alleged to have used the Expo as a cover for killing hundreds of young women (I think it can only be proven that he killed somewhere in the teens but there’s reason to believe it was many, many more).

I highly recommend the book if you are into either the macabre or architecture.

It sounds like a treat! I’m looking for books to read during our month off; readers, please make your recommendations in the comments. They don’t need to be about the macabre or architecture, although I do imagine these to be common enthusiasms amongst you.

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8 Responses to “holiday reading”

  1. Mark Says:

    Any Human Heart by William Boyd

  2. Dom Says:

    I just finished The Magicians, which was great, in preparation for The Magician King, which I’m looking forward to. Both by Lev Grossman.

  3. catherinehirst Says:

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to prepare for the movie! (If you haven’t read it already.)

    I also loved Devil in the White City.

    The Alienist is great.

    Currently reading House of the Hanged, which is quite good.

  4. Tom Baker Says:

    Anything by BS Johnson you can get your hands on!

  5. Mathew Gibbons Says:

    Paper Towns by John Green.

  6. Paul Says:

    “House of Leaves” – Mark Danielewski.

  7. Laurenese (@oi_lauren) Says:

    Caitlin Moran: How To Be A Woman

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