Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 Book #11

Book 11 was In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson.  I picked this one up at an airport book store after finishing another book earlier than I anticipated.  I had not brought any work with me, and my iPad's battery was about to die, and I still had a good two hours before my delayed plane was to take off, plus the hour and a half flight to look forward to.  Usually when I find myself needing something to read in an airport I go for pure escape reading.  This book is not that (the Nazis on the cover should be a dead giveaway).  I was excited to see it though.  My husband bought me The Devil in the White City several years ago, and I bought Thunderstruck later based almost entirely on my enjoyment of The Devil in the White City.

I enjoyed In the Garden of Beasts very much, although probably not as much as The Devil in the White City.  I think that is largely because I did not know the story in the latter, and well, we all know how Nazi Germany worked out.  My one quibble, and it is a quibble I've had with all three Larson books I've read so far, is with his tendency to end chapters with a sort of foreshadowing, but not getting to the subject again for ages, sometimes long after I've forgotten to be on the lookout.  For example, we're told at the end of chapter 8 that meeting the young and sexually assertive Martha Young gave Hanfstaengl an idea.  The sentence that ends the chapter -- "Which gave him an idea." -- is set off as it own paragraph, clearly emphasized.  But the idea isn't revealed until Chapter 19 - eighty pages later. There are enough moving parts to the story that by the time the idea was revealed, I had forgotten to be looking out for it at all, which sort of defeats the foreshadowing.

Overall though, I really liked the book, and have added other Larson books to my to-buy list of books.

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