Surznick Reads: June 2015 - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Surznick Reads: June 2015

We are half way through 2015. HALF WAY! Can you believe it?! Even though the year is flying by, I'm happy that we've both kept up with our reading goals so far!

This month I want to start off with something other than our monthly reads. At the end of May we attended a Chuck Palahniuk lecture and it was SO AWESOME that I just wanted to share!

I'm sure you're already familiar with Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club, Survivor, Choke, Invisible Monsters, and many, many others). I think I read my first Chuck book (Fight Club, obviously) when I was in 9th grade and I've been a fan ever since. His lecture, held at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland, was unlike any other book lecture we've ever attended. Each attendee received a signed first edition of his new book, Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread, and a signed copy of Fight Club 2, Issue 1, the first in the series of the comic book sequel. All these presents! Just for attending! We were lucky enough to snag seats in the very front row and Chuck walked around (in a robe and slippers, I might add), to introduce himself to fans before the start of the lecture - something I haven't really seen before.

Chuck also gave everyone in the crowd a light-up beach ball that we used throughout the night for dodgeball dance parties! He threw out bags of candy! He gave away more signed book copies (even leather-bound gilt-edged copies!) The guy really knows how to please a crowd.

After reading several short stories from his new book and answering questions from the audience, he closed out the night by having us give a hand to everyone that helped put together the event. In return, he "gave us a hand", literally, in the form of these autographed limbs. I would expect nothing less from Mr. Palahniuk.

If you ever have the chance to attend a lecture from Chuck Palahniuk, I highly recommend it - we had so much fun! Also, if you haven't read any of his books before, you should do yourself a favor and get on that too (start with the classics!)

Okay, now on to the reads! Just me this month, you guys. Someone *cough, Nick, cough* will be back to share next month!

Bossypants by Tina Fey
From "Before Liz Lemon, before 'Weekend Update,' before 'Sarah Palin,' Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon - from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy."

Tina Fey is the best, isn't she? I can't believe it took me so long to read this book. My friend gifted it to me for Christmas and I finally read it this month to help ease some "bored with books" struggles as of late. I read this in two evenings. Just so dang good. If you love Tina Fey's humor, you're going to love this book. Her stories are hilarious and heartwarming, and I love getting a deeper look into the life of someone I can admire so much. If you haven't read Bossypants yet, I highly, highly recommend it.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
From "In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that’s before the players even take the field. Nick Hornby has been a football fan since the moment he was conceived. Call it predestiny. Or call it preschool. Fever Pitch is his tribute to a lifelong obsession. Part autobiography, part comedy, part incisive analysis of insanity, Hornby’s award-winning memoir captures the fever pitch of fandom - its agony and ecstasy, its community, its defining role in thousands of young men’s coming-of-age stories. Fever Pitch is one for the home team. But above all, it is one for everyone who knows what it really means to have a losing season."

These are the only things I knew about this book prior to reading it: 1) It was made into a movie starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, and 2) The movie was about baseball. That's it. I picked up this book from Goodwill last year and was really looking forward to reading it. The first Nick Hornby book I read (A Long Way Down) was sooooo good that I wanted to read more from him ASAP. You can imagine my surprise when I started reading this book and discovered it is Hornby's memoir about football (or soccer to us Americans). And it is only. about. soccer. Just accounts of different soccer games, over and over. All in all, I surprisingly didn't hate it. I love Nick Hornby's writing style, and he actually made soccer seem a bit interesting to me, but I can't say I'd read it again.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Sarah & Nick


  1. The executive chef here was a genuinely nice person and never made us feel like we were just "business" for him. He was extremely competent and organized. Because of the natural beauty of the party venues, we were able to get away with very minimal decorations.