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California Romantica Hardcover – November 6, 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Diane Keaton has been recognized for her work in California architectural preservation. She is widely known for her work in theater and film, and has won numerous awards and accolades, including an Oscar for her role in Annie Hall and praise for her work as director of Unstrung Heroes. D. J. Waldie is the author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, which received the California Book Award for nonfiction in 1996, Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles, and co-author of Real City: Downtown Los Angles Inside/Out. He is a regular contributor to Los Angeles Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, L. A. Weekly, and others.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; 1st edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847829758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847829750
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.3 x 13.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Speaking as both an artist and a collector of books on Spanish Revival Architecture, I can truly say that Diane Keaton's new book on Spanish Architecture is fabulous! Ms. Keaton and her photographer really captured the unique and splendid features of the style. They have isolated both quiet and monumental vignettes from the homes featured. I would love to see a second book done on other homes. I am building a Spanish Rivival home in Southern Baja and have done alot of research on this style of architecture. Thank you Ms. Keaton.
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Format: Hardcover
As for me, this book was a whole lot of nothing. A huge coffee-table sized book filled with large photos of small architectural detail seems kind of coy. It was like viewing a panoramic landscape through a tee-ninsy porthole--I was expecting an architecture book, not a book of what is essentially photographic clip art. A window grill. A gauzy view of a dusky area of Peter Strauss' garden. The photos did nothing to illuminate or celebrate the architecture of which Diane Keaton is so passionate. The text is . . . a little too fawning. "The Dolgen house," ugh. (If you've worked in the business, you know exactly who owns these glorious homes, though the reader is not actually allowed to SEE them.) I was looking for something more. Huge disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
The review by Judith is right on. This book is a disappointment. I was expecting this book to showcase detailed examples of classic Spanish Colonial Revival homes but it shows very little of the homes at all. Good thing I perused it at the local bookstore instead of buying it sight unseen. The book is a pretentious, abstract study of how the light, shadows, textures, and colors interplay on close-up shots of sections of walls, doors, tile and other small, mostly interior, sections of the houses. The book is too bulky and the photos are not even crisp and clear, but often fuzzy. The white text on black pages is irritating. Each chapter is devoted to a particular house and you can review all of the photos for one chapter and still not know what the house looked like. Plus, all of the houses are devoid of furniture for some reason. The author seems to have a special fascination for boring partial views of empty rooms. To add insult to injury, the last chapter actually consists of dull, boring, underexposed shots of the dark interior of a partially torn down house, apparently being gutted or remodeled, that are better suited for a claims adjuster's file. There are many good books that showcase fine Spanish Colonial Revival architecture with fine photography. This is not one of them. Now I understand why this book does not offer the Search Inside feature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just a bunch of art photos. Sure, some of them are beautiful. But this book is classified in the home section. If you are looking for ideas or inspiration for your house, this is definitely not the book. Casa California is far better for that purpose. Many of the photos in this book are of a tiny tiny detail. The book itself is gigantic and very heavy. It's a very self-indulgent work by the author and publishing house.
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Format: Hardcover
Like the author expresses, there is a certain magic to behold in this kind of architecture. As a native Californian, I truly have felt this magic when encountering a variety of Spanish-inspired buildings in my lifetime. There is nothing like it. However, when I took my first look at this book, I just didn't feel that the magic was captured. While much of the photography is certainly well done, it generates no emotional connection with the subject. Most of the pages simply evoke a certain cold austerity. The architectural details are fabulous, but without human context. It has a museum-like quality that contradicts the real warmth one feels when living in these spaces. To me, something is missing - heart, warmth, emotion?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful, evocative book. Takes me back to dreamy, fanciful Southern California - the one that may have existed in the early part of the previous century. If you are looking for a book that has professionally laid out, full-color photos of exteriors and rooms, don't get this one. But if you want to re-visit that romantic, magical time that is still evoked in these exquisite structures, go for it - you will be rewarded and inspired. (Actually, this is a lovely and interesting - and very large - coffee table book, as well...)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As one of the three children of George and Louise Welsh who purchased one of these homes (Casa Romantica) in 1960 I am thrilled with this book. Our family considers it a work of art as well as a fitting memorial to the history of this very special architecture. My parents owned the Casa Romantica for 30 years, the longest of any of the previous inhabitants. We have a unique and enduring love of the "Casa" and the City of San Clemente who have created the Cultural Center that it is today. We sincerely thank Ms. Keaton for her love of this style and for the gift of this compilation.

Karen Welsh
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Format: Hardcover
This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful book I have ever purchased. The photographs are both artistic and illustrative. The text is informative and interesting, while being both scholarly and accessible. Califonia Romantica is exquisite in every detail.
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