Surznick Reads: July 2015 - The Surznick Common Room

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Surznick Reads: July 2015

Happy Friday and happy end of July! Even though our July was absolutely spectacular, I love August because it means we're one step closer to September and FALL! (You know we love our Fall!)

Not too many books from us this month - we read way less on vacation than I thought we would. But here you go, our July reads!

Sarah's Reads!

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
From "When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments - the ones we want to pretend never happened - are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives."

This book was absolutely hilarious. After reading Fever Pitch last month, I really wanted something quick, easy, and funny and this book did not disappoint. The book starts with stories from Lawson's childhood and progresses throughout her life. For not knowing anything about her prior to reading this book, I feel like we're practically friends now (but I guess that's how memoirs work, right?) Her stories are so crazy that at times it's hard to believe they're true, but then she provides the photos as proof. I loved reading about everything in her life from extremely happy to severely tragic because even in the worst of times, she still expressed her stories with such hilarity. I'd highly recommend!

My Rating: 4 Stars

The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter
From "Deep in the woods of northern England, somewhere between a dilapidated estate and an abandoned Victorian asylum, fifteen-year-old Jane Standen lived through a nightmare. She was babysitting a sweet young girl named Lily, and in one fleeting moment, lost her. The little girl was never found, leaving her family and Jane devastated. Twenty years later, Jane is an archivist at a small London museum that is about to close for lack of funding. As a final research project - an endeavor inspired in part by her painful past - Jane surveys the archives for information related to another missing person: a woman who disappeared over one hundred years ago in the same woods where Lily was lost. As Jane pieces moments in history together, a portrait of a fascinating group of people starts to unfurl. Inexplicably tied to the mysterious disappearance of long ago, Jane finds tender details of their lives at the country estate and in the asylum that are linked to her own heartbroken world, and their story from all those years ago may now help Jane find a way to move on."

It took me a little while to get into this book, but towards the middle it really started to pick up for me. The story bounces back and forth between present day and 1800's. The flashback chapters I found rather boring and raced through them to get back to the present day plot. I was most intrigued by the relationship that Jane strikes up with Blake as opposed to her piecing together the pieces of history. By the end of the book, I didn't feel like the conflict was ever resolved. There are definitely parts of the plot that could have been expanded on, but maybe the author's goal all along was just to bring her character closure and not really solve the mystery that's presented in the book summary. Overall, a quick and easy read once you get into it!

I received this book for review from Blogging for Books. Click to learn more about this book or the author!

My Rating: 3 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Moneyball by Michael Lewis
From "Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams, and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities - his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission - but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers - numbers! - collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and physics professors ... In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to can we not cheer for David?"

Phew, finally! I've been reading this book for what feels like forever. I originally chose it because I really enjoyed the movie, and I assumed I'd like the book, too. Well, needless to say, I went in with high hopes and was pretty disappointed. The book is essentially a statistical history of baseball. I'm talking choked out with incredibly detailed stats and play by play recounts of games and player careers. For 300 pages my brain hurt with numbers and math and history. That being said, I was able to hold on the the general "plot" of the book, (if you could say it even had one) so it wasn't a complete loss. The other redeeming factors were the epilogue and the afterward. I enjoyed those two segments so much that it almost made me reconsider all the judgements I had previously made about the book... almost. All in all, if you're a baseball fan, give this a try. If you're a baseball statistics freak, it's a must.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Have a great weekend!

Sarah & Nick


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