This wasn't riveting, but it was interesting. Frank Lloyd Wright seemed to be quite an egotistical guy, and not very likeable. Mamah gave up a lot for...moreThis wasn't riveting, but it was interesting. Frank Lloyd Wright seemed to be quite an egotistical guy, and not very likeable. Mamah gave up a lot for her love of him,and she seemed to be pretty miserable most of the time. I don't think the author did a very good job of giving readers the feeling of the all-encompassing passion that the couple felt. I kept wondering why Mameh stayed with FLW - he didn't treat her very well and she suffered so much for following her heart. I was intrigued by the snapshot of a woman's life during this timeframe. Interesting that Mameh was a single woman at 30, working to support herself. So many of the other women characters didn't marry, and I would've thought that virtually all women of the period married and had families. It was also interesting to see the debate over whether a woman's role should only be to raise kids or whether they should have a larger role than that. Pretty sad that 100 years later there is the same debate! I guess the option for a woman to have a career isn't as modern as I thought, but Mameh's generation's "woman movement" did manage to change one thing, women can vote now!(less)
Kind of a weird book. Almost as if the author started out to do a book on the world's exposition and then, during his research, found out about Holmes...moreKind of a weird book. Almost as if the author started out to do a book on the world's exposition and then, during his research, found out about Holmes and decided to add it in. Readers interested in Chicago or architectural history might enjoy the book but there isn't enough detail about Holmes to appeal to true crime fans. The author's research and documentation was impressive and worlds better than so many other nonfiction accounts that I have read recently where authors don't provide any evidence for the quotes and facts they use. I also enjoyed the factoids about things that got started at the fair. (less)
The premise of this book was more interesting than the book itself. The author provided an outline of what the deportees experienced, but I didn't fee...moreThe premise of this book was more interesting than the book itself. The author provided an outline of what the deportees experienced, but I didn't feel emotionally connected with the characters. The story covered a short period of time, yet we know that the deportees were held for years. Given the conditions, I wanted to know how they survived for years and how they got out. The book Unbroken, also about prisoners held in abominable circumstances, is a much more compelling account, but it also is an adult novel. Perhaps Sepetys' account didn't resonate with me as much because it is a YA novel, and perhaps less intense by design. However, I have read YA novels that are very graphic and intense (The Hunger Games); Sepetys' novel seems designed for the younger side of YA though.(less)
This was a book club book. I wouldn't have read it on my own, but it wasn't too much of a chore to get through. It was marginally interesting. I found...moreThis was a book club book. I wouldn't have read it on my own, but it wasn't too much of a chore to get through. It was marginally interesting. I found aspects of it annoying. The interludes labeled as Kristie's scrapbook annoyed me because of the writing style. To me a "scrapbook" implied news articles, but that wouldn't have worked for the author because the crisis basically did away with newspapers. They could've been written as diary entries, but instead were written In the third person, even at one point referring to Kristie on the third person. Annoying. I didn't see why they weren't just part of the rest of the narrative since they were written the same way.
I also didn't like how the author brought us to the point of climax and immediately ended the section with no resolution. We don't find out the resolution until the next section starts and we figure out what happened restrospectively.
Amanda was a strange character. She was always so overwrought emotionally, and we never really learn enough about her to figure out why -- mostly because we jump in and out of her life in such short bursts.
The author's method of telling us what was going on around the world by having a small group of characters experiencing things seemed contrived, and led to the weird climax/jump ahead 5 years story-telling style. The style employed by Max Brooks in World War Z was more readable - Brooks used separate short anecdotes of events around the world and didn't have to contrive the continuing characters that in Baxter's book I never really cared much about anyway.
Readers who like apocalyptic fiction or that want to take global climate change to nth degree might enjoy the book enough to overlook these nit-picks. If you're not interested in the general subject matter, I'd give it a miss.(less)
I read this book in 2014, so I read it as fiction. Many of the negative comments that have been made about the book lose their potency if the book is...moreI read this book in 2014, so I read it as fiction. Many of the negative comments that have been made about the book lose their potency if the book is viewed as fiction. With that point of view, I thought the book was well-done (keeping in mind that I don't know anything about the experience of addiction and can't judge the accuracy of that aspect). But the book was intense and emotional and made me keep reading. I found it difficult to believe that someone as messed up as James was able to finished high school, get into college and graduate from college. It also seems unlikely that his parents were so clueless and had no idea he was doing the stuff he was doing at age 10 and on. It seems like he would have lost all respect for them because of their lack of knowledge, which kids usually interpret as lack of caring. So, that he still had a relationship with his parents seemed very unlikely to me, and I would've thought that James would've alienated his brother and all of his friends too, which didn't seem the case. Based on that, I have to think that the account of what he did and how much he drank/drugged was an exaggeration. Ok with me as a fictional account, but made the fiction less believable. I mean, if he was in as bad shape as he says, it is a miracle that he was able to stay sober and go on to a very productive life. Regarding the writing style, it bugged me, especially the lack of commas. The random punctuation I kind of got used to. The style added to the intensity of the account a bit, but not enough that it didn't also seem like an affectation and pretentious. I recommend that book for its intensity and emotions but I don't know that I believe much of the account. However, it says something about Frey's abilities as a writer that he was able to sell this as a memoir and that people still argue about what's true in the book and what's not. Should be a very interesting book to discuss at book club!(less)
Beginning of book was interesting, but I got bored after a while. I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. The book was kind of like a...moreBeginning of book was interesting, but I got bored after a while. I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. The book was kind of like a diary, just an account of the day-to-day of the characters. That being said, the author did have some wonderful, insightful phrases, especially at the end of a chapter or section, and she did a good job of making me understand how the characters were feeling. But, I didn't feel invested in the characters and I didn't think about them when I wasn't reading the book. The characters and their lives might resonate more with readers who had the same experiences as first-generation Americans.(less)
Too much extraneous information. Title was misleading, book was a history of geology theory with the SF earthquake as an example rather than the book'...moreToo much extraneous information. Title was misleading, book was a history of geology theory with the SF earthquake as an example rather than the book's main focus. The section (chapter) on the SF earthquake would have made a very interesting article. The geology stuff was much less interesting for me.(less)
Read this for book club. Haven't read previous books, so some of the references to previous events (what in the world happened with Brenda?) were conf...moreRead this for book club. Haven't read previous books, so some of the references to previous events (what in the world happened with Brenda?) were confusing. Still, I enjoyed the author's writing style. I'll likely try the first in the series and then decide whether to continue on.(less)