Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I have been reading a lot over this past weekend. Probably because it was miserable and rainy. I finished books 20 and 21 yesterday -- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson and The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright. Both are nonfiction and very fascinating, which is probably why I read them so quickly. The Devil in the White City is probably the better known among the two -- it's a story of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and tells of how the architect managed to design the fair. It also tells the story of H.H. Holmes, the first true serial killer in America and how he used the fair to lure young women to stay in his hotel where he would later kill them. It sounds like a bizarre juxtaposition, but seriously, it was a fascinating read. Practically novel-esque in many ways! I have read a few books on the Guilded Age (Empires of Light also covered the same ground and even included some info on the World's Fair because Westinghouse and GE fought over who would win the contract to electrify the fair) and it seems to be a fascinating age in America's history. So much was going on at that time! New inventions and innovations seemed to be coming out every day! I also do enjoy true crime stories, so the serial killing was pretty interesting too. It wasn't very gory, so I wasn't creeped out or anything like that.

And The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll was also fascinating. I read an article about the book in the New York Times when it came out, probably back in late September or early October and thought that it sounded like a fun and interesting book to read. And it was! I have never read The Lonely Doll series as a child (at least, I should say, I don't remember reading them and apparently they are books that stay with you), but after reading the book, I am interesting in finding them. I believe we have some at the library. So what is The Lonely Doll series? It's about a doll named Edith who is lonely until she is found by two teddy bears, Mr. Bear and Little Bear. Apparently, they are not quite good for children and often feature spanking scenes.

Dare Wright was the author and photographer for the series. She had a very interesting life, in the most interesting sense of the word. She had an extremely close relationship with her mother, whose name was Edith but went by Edie. Dare came from a divorced family and was separated from her brother Blaine for many years before they met again as adults.

There's more about Dare Wright in an official sense at darewright.com and a nice essay here. She lived a very odd life, which seemed to come from the fact that her mother was so dominate. It's hard to explain, especially since I have to get ready for work too, but if you're interested in the book, I would suggest reading the reviews on Amazon. Dare definitely lived a charmed life in some sense -- she was a model, photographer, and traveled fairly extensively. She looked like a Barbie doll in a way, very 1950s. But her relationships with her mother and brother really impacted the way she could live her life and definitely made it so that she couldn't have a normal life.

Well, enough about the books.

I forgot to mention that last week I went to a concert -- The Presidents of the United States of America! It was a really fun concert -- there weren't a ton of people at the Ramshead Live! venue and I was soooo close to the stage! I was a Presidents fan back in...gosh, it was high school! I think 1995-ish was when they had their three big hits -- Lump, Kitty, and Peaches. They do a great show and it was really fun to sing along. The lead singer is really fun, but I loved how the drummer looked soooo happy to be there. I mean, every time that I looked at him, he was smiling. I went because my roommate's friend from college had gotten tickets and I mentioned that I was a fan too. So she convinced me that I should go. My roommate came along as well -- not being much of a rock 'n' roll fan, but she did seem to enjoy herself. It was only like $20 for the ticket and maybe another $10 or so for parking and a couple of drinks. I definitely had a good time, even if I had to go to work the next day.

And yesterday I almost had to do a tour of the business center -- the woman who usually does them took a half-day and my boss called in sick. She asked me if I minded doing it and I didn't really have a problem, despite the fact that I don't know all that much about business resources. However, no one showed up! So I was saved from doing the tour. Yay.

Okay, I have to go get ready for work. Have a super Tuesday!!!

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