Monday, December 29, 2008

A History Junkie

I admit a certain fascination...obsession with history. It fascinates me because I see so many parallels with our era. Very little changes in human nature. I've been merrily immersed in 1880's English history for over six years now. The result is a series primarily set in that time period. Recently another era/place caught my fancy: Chicago in the late 1890's and early 1900's. Just as raw and earthy as London in the same period, Chicago had a certain energy to it. Still does.

This interest in Chicago will hopefully give birth to a couple of books. One will be set at Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893 (a future Time Rovers book).
Others have tread this way before me and done well by the subject. I also intend to pen a story set in 1902 Chicago, something paranormal me thinks.

So it is like hitting the lottery when I found a
CD on Ebay that held thirty-three vintage books about Chicago ranging from the 1876 to 1922. GOLDMINE! Wow. The books have as many as 800 pages in some of them and often include advertisements of the era. Did I mention this a GOLDMINE for a historical author? It saves buying countless old tomes and finding bookshelf for them. Perfect.

It is only a matter of time before I'll be penning a non-fiction account of some person or event. I've been lured that way by the best:
Erik Larson (Devil in the White City) and Karen Abbott (Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys and the Battle For America's Soul). As I see it, all this research experience is leading that way and I might as well not fight the undertow. When I finally figure out what the subject might be, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, this CD is a pleasant way to start the New Year -- old books to read and mysteries to discover. Wow, do I have a great life or what?


steve said...

Somewhere I have a guide to the Columbian Exposition in German. I'm afraid the days of world's fairs are over, but reading about the great ones makes me wish they weren't. Ah, to be at the St. Louis World's Fair when, at least according to legend, an ice cream stand ran out of paper cups, and in desperation turned to the Syrian waffle-baker next door, rolled up the waffles into a cone, and invented th ice cream cone. If the story isn't true, it ought to be.

Jana Oliver said...

We're too jaded, too worldly. We see pictures of far-flung places on our iPhones and computers. It's too easy now.

In the late 1890's and early 1900's, the "limitations" in technology allowed the joy of discovery to blossom. The fairs exploited that perfectly. Now we'd just go "meh." Well, some of us at least.

I love the ice cream anecdote. Always have. I like to believe it's true.