Surznick Reads: December 2015 - The Surznick Common Room

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Surznick Reads: December 2015

Another year come and gone! Can you believe it? We're both ready to dive into 2016, but first we need to share our December reads and recap our reading year with you!

You can catch up on all of our monthly Surznick Reads posts here. If you'll remember all the way back to January, we each shared our reading goals for 2015. Here's how we did:

Sarah's Goal: 24 books (12 my choice + 12 book club selections)
Unfortunately, I didn't reach my goal :( I finished the year with 21 books but hey... 88% ain't bad. My favorite book of the year is either The Fault in our Stars or The Boston Girl. I highly recommend both - you can read my reviews here and here.

Nick's Goal: 15 books
It is no surprise at all that I didn't meet my book goal. I used to NEVER read, then I really started to enjoy it, then I started blogging and that was just about the end of that! There are so many awesome things in this world, it's hard to experience them all! That being said, 9 books is not a failure! I still enjoy reading, and like to squeeze it in when I can! My favorite book of the year was probably Born Standing Up. Steve Martin is a big hero of mine, and this book was an excellent dose of creative inspiration. You can read my review of the book here.

Sarah's Reads!

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
From "In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you... Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper."

I love Mindy Kaling, so naturally I loved this book. I didn't read her first book (but definitely want to.) Mindy is hilarious, witty, and I love her writing style - which is probably why I'm obsessed with her show, The Mindy Project. When you're reading the book, you can hear it in Mindy's voice, so it's almost like she's your best friend telling you these stories first hand. So many aspects of this book are completely relatable - everything from figuring out what to do in life to body image to making friends as an adult. I especially enjoyed the parts of the book where she talks about her relationship with BJ Novak and how The Mindy Project came to be. Mindy's writing is full of quotes that I wanted to remember (i.e. "But my secret is: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don't wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things." If you're looking for a funny, quick memoir give Why Not Me? a try. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for review. All thoughts and girl crushes on Mindy are my own.

My Rating: 5 Stars

In the Woods by Tana French
From "As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox - his partner and closest friend - find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past."

I heard mixed reviews prior to reading this book, but I personally really enjoyed it. I did find it a bit long and drug out at times, but overall I was super captivated by the story and eager to solve the mystery. I will say that I anticipated the ending early on in the book and typically I can never see the twist. So if you're someone that easily sees through a twist, this book may not be for you. I will also add that this book will not leave you feeling settled or warm and fuzzy. I finished the book on the same day Nick and I binge watched all 10 hours of 'Making a Murderer' and I had similar feelings about each. I think this book is really well written and you care about the characters so deeply that the ending is really less than satisfying. It's not a quick read at 400+ pages, but it's definitely a unique murder mystery that I would recommend.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman
From "Coming off the breakthrough success of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Killing Yourself to Live, bestselling pop culture guru Chuck Klosterman assembles his best work previously unavailable in book form - including the ground-breaking 1996 piece about his chicken McNuggets experiment, his uncensored profile of Britney Spears, and a previously unpublished short story - all recontextualized in Chuck’s unique voice with new intros, outros, segues, and masterful footnotes."

Over the past couple of years, I've grown to really love Klosterman's books. For a while there, I was beginning to think he was one of my favorite authors. I still really like him, and I enjoy reading his very funny writing style, but it's starting to wear on me. Being an incredible pop culture genius-guru seems to limit Klosterman's writing scope. With the exception of one of his books ("The Visible Man") everything I've ever read of his revolved around rock n' roll and pop culture. This collection of essays and short stories is fun to read, but it's just that: fun. It's by no means a real page-turner, and it was honestly a struggle for me to read it quickly because of the lack of interest. Each story is interesting, thought provoking, and funny... and that's about it. An enjoyable book from a good author that, whom is starting to feel a bit one-dimensional.

My Rating: 3 stars

Thank you for reading and we hope you have a happy new year!

Sarah & Nick


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