Surznick Reads: May 2015 - The Surznick Common Room

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Surznick Reads: May 2015

Happy Sunday! Here are our May books!

Sarah's Reads!

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
From "Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from 'a writer worth treasuring' (Seattle Times)."

So this was the sixth David Sedaris book that I've read, and unfortunately I think it was my least favorite. I just found it really hard to get into each essay, and they weren't as funny to me as the essays in the other books I've read. It actually took me several months to read this entire book because it was so easy to put down after a chapter/essay. But don't get me wrong - I still absolutely love David Sedaris. Nick and I saw him lecture last fall and he was completely hilarious. I loved getting to hear him read his stories aloud, so maybe the stories in this book just weren't as good? Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for short essays? I'm not really sure, but I have no plans to give up on Mr. Sedaris yet.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
From "The author writes: FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955, and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill."

Did you read the blurb above? That's pretty much how this entire book is written. I was able to follow along, and understand the plot just fine, (though, there really isn't one) but the writing is very cumbersome. Salinger has a very distinct writing style, and this book is certainly no exception. I know this is a very shallow review on my part, but seeing as I wasn't really able to get past the words on the page and start to dive deeper into the characters and their thoughts, it's really all I can give you. Overall, I didn't enjoy reading this book, and I got pretty bored at parts. Though I did enjoy a few of the witty one-liners that Zooey has here and there.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and we hope that June treats you well!

Sarah & Nick


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