Surznick Reads: December 2014 - The Surznick Common Room

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Surznick Reads: December 2014


Happy New Year's Eve, folks! We're getting ready to put our dancing shoes on so we can ring in the new year with Girl Talk tonight! Woop, woop! But before 2014 comes to a close, we had to stop by and share our final Surznick Reads post of the year!

2014 was our first full year working on The Surznick Common Room and you may remember waaaaaay back in January when we started this monthly series to share the books we've read. We're both really passionate about reading, so it's been a lot of fun to reflect each month and be able to provide small book reviews that will hopefully inspire some book choices for TSCR readers too! So before we get started with December's books, here's a little recap of our 2014 goals!

Sarah's Book Goal = 36 books
Sarah's 2014 Book Count = 36 books (I just made it!)

I was hoping I'd beat last year's count of 40 books, but life just gets in the way sometimes. Oh well! 2014 reading goals = accomplished!

Nick's Book Goal = 12 books
Nick's 2014 Book Count = 17 books

I seriously can't believe I did this. I know it may not seem like much for some people, but I feel really happy about reaching this goal and then some! As I may have mentioned before, reading is a very recent hobby of mine, (I'd say about 4 years or so) so to read 17 books in a year is a HUGE accomplishment for me!

Remember, you can find all this year's reads right here! Now for our December reads...

Sarah's Reads!


The Quick by Lauren Owen
From Amazon.com: "1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling 'Doctor Knife.' But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England."

The Quick was my book club selection for the month and my overall feelings about it are... meh. Not that great. After reading that Amazon.com summary, I thought, "This book sounds cool!" but in actuality I just didn't think that was so. The book was boring. I'm over the whole vampire thing right now and *spoiler alert* that's what this book is about. In my opinion, it was just 500 pages of nothing happening. This book does have pretty decent reviews, but it just wasn't for me I guess.

My Rating: 2 Stars


Refinery29: Style Stalking by Piera Gelardi and Christine Barberich
From Amazon.com: "Get set to build your best ever wardrobe featuring the hardest-working looks from around the globe with Refinery29—the world’s leading style destination—as their editors break down the essentials of the everyday chic, straight from the street. What transforms a look from on-trend to trendsetting? Editor-in-Chief Christene Barberich and Executive Creative Director Piera Gelardi deconstruct their favorite outfits to reveal what trailblazing looks like on the real-life fashion front, including: How to wear modern metallics, mixed prints, everyday ladylike, tomboy chic, lots of layers, and more. Clever tips such as wearing one piece in three fresh ways, building blocks for discovering your own signature style, and updating your closet each season. And a zoom lens on all the details and accessories that totally make the look. Featuring the fashion world’s coolest tastemakers, designers, stylists, and editors, these fearless iconoclasts challenge conventions and inspire a whole new generation of women to dress for themselves and discover their true inner style stars... just like YOU."

I received this book from Blogging For Books for review. As I mentioned in this post, last month I started a new job and really wanted to get out of this work-wardrobe funk that I felt like I was in. I requested this book to read and review in hopes that it would provide me with a little inspiration to kick-start my closet. Style Stalking is full of fashion tips, from mixing prints to wearing layers to shopping for good vintage styles. There are a lot of outfits in the book that aren't exactly business casual/work appropriate and others that are a little bold for my personal style, but what's nice is that they kind of show you how to adjust these items to work for you. The photos in this book are also incredibly beautiful and full of color. Even if you don't want to read this cover to cover, it would still make a great coffee table book just to flip through and look at the lovely photos. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely use some of the tips to help enhance my personal style.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Surznick's Reads!


Dry by Augusten Burroughs
From Amazon.com: "You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twentysomething guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power."

Sarah and I have both read a few books by Burroughs by now. His books are incredible, unbelievable, entertaining, frightening, and above all, hilarious. Though Dry contains all of those elements, the proportions are different. This book packs an incredibly real punch, with very dark and sad periods. The hilarious moments are still there, but you have to search for them. Dry was serious when it needed to be, and it delivered a message about sobriety and substance abuse that could not be ignored. We thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and though it was scary and eye opening, it gave us a more complete picture of the author. Burroughs has lived an incredible struggle, and his writing shows us just how he managed to live it, sparing no uncomfortable details.

Our Rating: 4 Stars

We hope that you all have a fabulous and safe NYE! See ya in 2015!

Sarah & Nick

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