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Devil in the White City

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  • Overview

BLOOMINGTON READS


An annual community-wide reading,
discussion and program series.



Each year, Bloomington Public Library chooses one book that staff members are convinced the community will love. We then order many copies of that book and encourage everyone in the community to read the selection and take part in programs and activities related to the book's central themes.

This year, BPL is bringing author Erik Larson to Bloomington in April during National Library Week!

While Larson has a number of titles to his credit, his visit to Bloomington will specifically focus on The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.


Programs with Erik Larson

  • Tickets Go On Sale for the April 12 Reception with Erik Larson
    • Saturday, March 4
    • 9am; (Bloomington Public Library or online at bloomingtonlibrary.org)
    • Tickets for the Reception with Erik Larson will go on sale at 9am. Tickets cost $50 per person. A maximum of 100 tickets will be sold. See program description below.
  • Erik Larson Reception
    • (Ticket Purchase Required)
    • Wednesday, April 12
    • 6pm; Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts Stage (theater doors open at 5:30pm)
    • Information about ticket sales is above. Reception attendees will meet Erik Larson, enjoy appetizers from Kelly's Bakery, receive a free beverage, and have preferred seating at the 7pm presentation.
  • Erik Larson's FREE Author Presentation
    • Wednesday, April 12
    • 7pm; Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts Auditorium
    • Our Bloomington Reads featured author, Erik Larson, will talk about this book, The Devil in the White City. The author presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Larson will then sign his books in the BCPA Lobby. Books will be available for purchase that evening or attendees may bring their own copies.
  • Book Discussion with Author Erik Larson
    • Thursday, April 13
    • 9:15am; Community Room
    • Author Erik Larson will attend and participate in a discussion of his book The Devil in the White City. Attendees should arrive with their comments and questions about this engaging book.


Programs Related to The Devil in the White City

  • Documentary H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer and Q&A with the Film's Director
    • Saturday, March 18
    • 2pm; Community Room
    • Watch this hour-long documentary, H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer, while enjoying free popcorn. Afterward, director John Borowski will be on hand for Q&A and a discussion about his research and the making of the film. Copies of the DVD will be available for sale.
  • Chicago, City of America's Gilded Age
    • Sunday, March 19
    • 2pm; Community Room
    • Chicago epitomized the contradictions of the last decades of the 19th century. On one side were the technological and business inventiveness and the political, cultural, and intellectual liveliness of the era. Yet this was simultaneous to violent class and ethnic strife, decrepitude and exploitation. This program provides an overview of Chicago's Gilded Age, from the Great Fire of 1873 through the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the Pullman Strike of 1894. Alan Lessoff, PhD., is an ISU professor specializing in U.S. and comparative urban history.
  • Book Discussion with the Books on Tap Book Club
    • Monday, April 3
    • 7pm; Lucca Grill, upper level
    • The Books on Tap Book Club will discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.
  • Train Travel at the Turn of the 20th Century
    • Sunday, April 9
    • 2pm; Community Room
    • IWU Assoc. Professor Jim Matthews will discuss the importance of train travel in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s. At the time of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, trains were an integral means for people to get to and from Illinois.
  • Forensics in Crime Scene Investigation
    • Monday, April 10
    • 7pm; Community Room
    • Bloomington Police Detective Scott Mathewson, a member of the International Association for Identification—the world's oldest and largest forensic organization, will discuss forensics and share how expert crime scene investigators collect, preserve, and analyze scientific evidence during the course of an investigation. We will also consider how forensic processes in H.H. Holmes' time may have contributed to apprehending the serial killer.
  • The White City in Downtown Bloomington
    • Saturday, April 15
    • 1:30pm; Route 66 Visitors' Center at the McLean County Museum of History
    • This architectural walking tour with retired director of the McLean County Museum of History, Greg Koos, will highlight how the White City influenced the rebuilding of Bloomington's downtown after the great fire of 1900. Portions of the walking tour are outside, but the majority will be inside the Old Courthouse. The tour will last approximately 60-90 minutes.


Some of Larson's other popular titles include:

  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
  • Thunderstruck
  • Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History.