RaveSan Francisco Chronicle... an absolutely engrossing family saga, covering themes both small and infinite: family, self, sin, God, country (or maybe more accurately, suburbia). I didn’t think I’d like it, to be honest, but I couldn’t put it down ... There’s not a scenario in here that doesn’t ring true, and Franzen gets all the details right ... This book is nearly 600 pages, but it doesn’t feel too long. My only real complaint is how badly Franzen writes sex scenes ... But I guess the awkwardness with which the Hildebrandt men describe their intimate encounters is, given their personalities, right on track.
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley
RaveSan Francisco Chronicle... uncanny in its prescience. It also serves as a good reminder for all of us to refrain from feelings of complacency because as this fascinating book shows again and again, it’s foolish to think this will be our last pandemic ... Twilley and Manaugh see things that others don’t. Their insatiable curiosity reveals itself through all of their endeavors.
PositiveSan Francisco ChronicleBefitting a book about a spiritual community, this is the tale of the journey as much as the destination. Kapur is a terrific storyteller, and even though you’re told a lot up front, his writing compels you to follow him as he digs deeper. The Mother is, as you’d expect, creepy and compelling, and a sense of foreboding is ever present ... Kapur is not just writing this narrative; he is an integral part of it. Like Aurolice, he was born and raised in Auroville. He and Aurolice married and moved to the States — and yet they returned to live in this enigmatic place full of so many difficult memories. That, I have to say, was surprising.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
RaveThe San Francisco Chronicle... achingly of its time ... I really appreciated Adichie’s discomfort with the language of grief ... Books often come to you just when you need them, and it is unimaginable to think just how many people have, like the author, lost someone in this singularly strange period of our history. Adichie’s father didn’t die from COVID-19, but that doesn’t make the aftermath of that loss any less relevant ... A book on grief is not the kind of book you want to have to give to anyone. But here we are.
PanSan Francisco ChronicleTo read this book today is an unsettling reminder of just how much history repeats itself ... It is in this historical moment that Darznik aims to show us how Dorrie from New Jersey becomes the famous Farm Security Administration photographer Dorothea Lange. She doesn’t do a very good job at it. The author is strongest at describing Lange’s often horrific childhood, but as the book progresses, it feels more and more like historical fiction lite ... Though Lange would ultimately go on to take some of the most arresting images of Depression-era America, that part of her life isn’t covered in The Bohemians. Darznik never manages to get into the mind of Lange, who I am reasonably sure never said something as banal as \'to take a truly good picture you have to learn to see, not just look\' ... It’s far too common for female protagonists in historical fiction to come off as wide-eyed and plucky heroines, even if they’re not ... I was waiting for writing that would bring the area, its history and its denizens to life. We never get a sense of what had to be a notoriously lawless and rowdy place. It all feels oddly sanitized, as if Darznik’s book had been censored by San Francisco’s then-Mayor James Rolph, who infamously crusaded against prostitution, alcohol and homosexuality.
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleIf you’ve followed the WeWork saga, you’ll already be familiar with a lot of Neumann’s shenanigans, but Wiedeman does a good job demonstrating repeating patterns of hubris, hedonism and bad management ... Some may read this book and balk at such outrageous behavior while others, much like Trump supporters, may see the daring and bravado as something to cheer and even emulate. Wiedeman cites a prominent venture capitalist who says the right response to Neumann, in the end, \'was to recognize his faults while acknowledging the unbelievable thing he had done.\'
RaveSan Francisco ChronicleYou don’t have to be interested in blockchain to be taken in by this endlessly thought-provoking book ... It’s rare to read a book by a technologist that isn’t a polemic placed squarely in the pro or con camp. Wang is genuinely interested in discovering a more nuanced approach.