Surznick Reads: July 2016 - The Surznick Common Room

Friday, July 29, 2016

Surznick Reads: July 2016


Here we are again, the last Friday of the month. Wow. Needless to say, moving has put quite a damper on our reading habits, but I'm happy to report that for the first time in the past few months, Nick has actually finished a book! (admittedly, it was a super easy young adult book... with pictures. But still, a book!) Here's what we read this month. Hope you had a great July, and are getting ready for an even better August!

Sarah's Reads!


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
From Amazon.com: "This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death. It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life. Fiercely funny, honest, heart-breaking - this is an unforgettable novel from a bright talent, now also a film that critics are calling 'a touchstone for its generation' and 'an instant classic.'"

We saw this movie in theaters when it came out last year, but watched it again recently when my mom was visiting. I love the movie so much that I was really inspired to read the novel it's based on. The book veers a little young adult, but it's super quick and enjoyable. If you're someone that lives in or is interested in Pittsburgh, you might like it even more for all of the local references (the movie is SO Pittsburgh and I LOVE IT.) My biggest complaint of the book is that the characters weren't developed very well. Rachel (the Dying Girl) and her mom are two of the funniest/saddest/most interesting characters in the movie, however, the book focuses more on Greg and Earl. Actually, I really like everything about the movie more than the book - the character development, the humor, the conflict, the resolution. I think it's common to enjoy a book more than a movie because the movie has to cut so much to make time, but in this case I thought the movie was better structured and way more interesting than the novel. So I guess if you were going to partake in one or the other, I say movie all the way.

My Rating: 4 Stars


Nick's Reads!


Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
From Amazon.com: "A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom. The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children. They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience."

When I first started reading this series, I really loved it. Ransom Riggs did something incredible here, creating unique characters, an incredible world bound by well thought out rules, with interesting villains and story lines. Dotting the book with genuine antique photos to help build the story was the major draw for me with this three-part series. All along, it was a pretty cheese ball read. It's evident that it is intended for a younger audience, but by book three, I was really feeling that. What started out as interesting and fun has turned into something a bit boring, easy, and obvious. By the end of book three, I was no longer hooked into the world Riggs had created, and the patterns with which he writes became so obvious that all hope of suspense was sucked out for me. All in all, this series has been fun to read, but book three just didn't stack up for me.

My Rating: 3 Stars

P.S. Don't forget to enter our Nordstrom gift card giveaway!

Sarah & Nick

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