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May 2022

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Bold Ventures by Charlotte Van den Broeck

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Two Stars

Best for:
People who are really into creative non-fiction essays.

In a nutshell:
Author van den Broeck explores architecture where the architect died under circumstances possibly related to their creation.

Worth quoting:
N/A

Why I chose it:
Normally this would be completely up my alley.

Review:
I made it through about 40% of this book and then had to stop because life is too short to read book that just aren’t doing it for you.

I find books on architecture fascinating, and I like to learn the stories behind buildings. I thought that’s what I was in for with this book, but instead it was less about the buildings and the architects and more about the author’s life. Which is fine! But not the book I thought I was buying, and not really the book that I think it is selling.

I’d expect a book like this, looking into the facts and history around not just buildings but also the people who built them would have loads of footnotes or endnotes. A bibliography. An index. This book has none of that. I’m sure Van den Broeck did a lot of research, but I don’t know what her sources are, and I find that a bit concerning in a book that is presented as having some basis in research and fact.

The other issue is that each chapter feels a bit like when I’m looking for a recipe online and have to scroll through like 75% of the page learning about the poster’s childhood and life story before I find out how to make easy drop biscuits. I appreciate I’m getting a free service in that case, but also, I’m really not that interested in all that. Same here – I’m sure the author is an interesting person, but I’m not that interested in her life story. It’s always tangentially related to the topic, and I know that non-fiction books can have a hearty element of personal anecdotes (No Place to Go managed to weave a lot of the author’s experience into the book without it feeling like an autobiography). But in this book, it just didn’t work for me.

(Side note, whomever is the publicist for this book is CRUSHING IT. Seriously, this book is prominently displayed in like every bookstore I’ve been in the past month (and I’ve been in like five). It’s, as always, completely possible that I have totally missed the point, but I’m not so sure.)

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it

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