Surznick Reads: October 2016 - The Surznick Common Room

Monday, October 31, 2016

Surznick Reads: October 2016

Hello and Happy Halloween! We hope you had a great weekend celebrating (we did!) In case you didn't notice, today's Monday AND there's a new post from us! That's right - starting today we are back to three posts a week here on the Common Room (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.) This was our schedule before we bought our house and switched to a modified schedule for a few months. Hope you're ready to have us back on Monday mornings!

We're starting to enter the busiest season of the year between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but we're hoping to squeeze in some books too. Here's what we read this month!

Sarah's Reads!

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
From "Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive–one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners. Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt’s charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them–and spurs them into surprising actions. Before honoring Joanie’s living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn’t been told..."

I picked up this book at a thrift store years ago after seeing (and loving) the movie starting George Clooney and Shailene Woodley. I totally forgot we had it until I was searching for a book that was thin (read: quick) and highly recommended on Goodreads - this was my pick. I flew through The Descendants SO quickly. Faster than I have read a book in a long time. I absolutely loved it. This story is real and raw, but hilarious and heartwarming at the same time. Each character has such a distinct personality, but you can see a little bit of yourself in everyone too. I even find myself thinking about it a lot since finishing it a few weeks ago. Overall, I highly recommend and want to read more from Hemmings soon.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Nick's Reads!

The Girls by Emma Cline
From "Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged - a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence."

I'm really into the Manson-type summer of '69 style vibe when it comes to storytelling. And let's be real, this book is about the Manson murders though it uses different names. I enjoyed reading this book. I got super into it and read through it quickly, though at the end, I was left feeling a little cheated. About two-thirds of the way through the book, I thought to myself, "I hope this entire book isn't just a simmering, slow account of this girl's summer and then nothing even happens." Well, spoiler alert, that's exactly what it was. For as interesting as the book was, and as good as the storytelling was, nothing happened. I closed the book after the final page and literally had no thoughts in my brain. I'm giving the book 3 stars since it was enjoyable to read, but that's it's only merit for me. 

My Rating: 3 Stars

Sarah & Nick


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