Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It Happened in Chicago

Scotti Cohn
 True Tales from the Windy City's Past

From the building of the first permanent settlement on the site of present-day Chicago in 1779 to Oprah Winfrey's television debut in 1984, It Happened in Chicago tells the stories of intriguing people and events from the history of the Windy City.  

Find out how the 1893 Chicago World's Fair turned out to be a glorious emblem of late-nineteenth-century American progress, despite predictions by some New Yorkers that it would be little more than a "cattle show."  Read all about America's first automobile race, which set out from Chicago in 1895.  Learn how the paths of two very different Hoffmans--federal judge Julius Hoffman and Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman--collided in 1969.  And discover that there really isn't much that didn't happen in Chicago!

My Take:
Reading It Happened in Chicago felt more than a bit like reading a textbook.  Interesting, mind you, but a distinct aura of textbookiness surrounded it.  It is full to bursting with names, dates, and facts, making it an excellent research reference.  For me, as a person with no connections to Chicago, (other than the fact that Ferris Beuller's Day off is one of my favorite movies ever) I just didn't connect personally with the book.  It was interesting to me but not essential.  This is all a matter of personal taste, if you hail from Chicago, I think you'll likely love this book.  The stories are quite engaging, and though a smidge dry at time, the writing is totally solid.  A feature I enjoyed in It Happened in Chicago, was the last few pages with bullet-pointed trivia, which included things like the city's nicknames and famous Chicagoans.  I love random trivia, again a personal preference. (but hey, isn't this blog all about my personal preferences?)  Anyway, this book was tough to rate, if you are interested in American History and/or Chicago history, this book is a 2, Borders with a Coupon, if not, it is a 4, Borrow from a Friend.

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie, it would likely be rated PG

A few words with the author, Scotti Cohn:

The Book Buff: When did you begin writing?

Scotti Cohn: I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing. I started writing poems and stories in elementary school.

TBB: Do you have a specific writing style?

SC: For my nonfiction books (like It Happened in Chicago), I like to think my style is straightforward and conversational. My goal is to engage the reader and draw him or her into the story. I adjust my style based on my intended audience and the type of book I'm writing.

TBB: What book are you reading now?

SC: I usually read more than one book at a time. Right now, I'm reading179 Ways to Save a Novel by Peter Selgin and Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire.

TBB: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

SC: I have many favorite authors, including Ray Bradbury, Madeleine L'Engle, Susan Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Philip Pullman, Cornelia Funke, Stephen King, and others. The authors I enjoy the most are those who take me into a world of mystery and supernatural events, whose writing is evocative and original.

TBB: Do you have any advice for other writers?

SC: A good foundation for any writer is to abide by the Four Ps: Pages, Professionalism, Patience, and Perseverance. By "Pages" I mean putting words on paper. In other words, write. You can't be a writer if you don't write. "Professionalism" includes taking a professional approach to the craft of writing, as well as to revision, submission, and marketing. "Patience" includes being patient with yourself as you learn and refine the craft. "Perseverance" means to keep trying -- whether that involves submitting a manuscript to many publishers or revising a manuscript as often as necessary to get it where it needs to be.

If you are interested in learning more about Scotti Cohn, It Happened in Chicago, or any of her other projects, please click here:

***FTC Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

If you are interested in purchasing It Happened in Chicago, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Hmmmmm. I haven't seen many split reveiws, but believe it's honest. It's nice to see that people's individual tastes are taken into account, and that although it may not be exactly what writers want to hear, reviewers truly can remain honest, and remain fair even while being subjective. Thanks for the reviews! Always great!


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