Surznick Reads: November 2016 - The Surznick Common Room

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Surznick Reads: November 2016

Here we are again! Another month, another blur of existence, and another two books for the Surznick library. Despite being super busy, completing start to finish one of our biggest projects to date (more to come soon!), and traveling out of town for Thanksgiving, we somehow managed to squeeze in a couple of books.

Sarah's Reads!

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
From "A brutally truthful, compassionate novel about the heart, mind, and soul of a woman who, confronted by her husband’s sudden and extreme spiritual conversion, is forced to learn 'how to be good' - whatever that means, and for better or worse… Katie Carr is a good person... sort of. For years her husband’s been selfish, sarcastic, and underemployed. But now David’s changed. He’s become a good person, too - really good. He’s found a spiritual leader. He has become kind, soft-spoken, and earnest. Katie isn’t sure if this is deeply felt conversion, a brain tumor - or David’s most brilliantly vicious manipulation yet. Because she’s finding it more and more difficult to live with David - and with herself."

In general I'd say this book was average (hence the three stars.) Not my favorite Hornby book (A Long Way Down) but also not my least favorite (Fever Pitch.) The story itself is a little quirky and interesting, but doesn't really seem to go anywhere. The resolution (or lack thereof) just falls a little short for me. I can't even say if I liked any of the characters - none of them stood out to me as favorites and I think each could have been developed a little more. All in all, not terrible but I'd pass on reading it again.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
From "Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them. Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer 'at the table with our greatest philosophers.'"

To say this book is life-changing is an understatement. I don't want to over sell it, which is something I often do, but I truly wish everyone in the world would read this book. It is so much more than an argument for vegetarianism (though, be prepared to question EVERYTHING if you aren't one already.) With every turn of the page, I was further emboldened, inspired, and excited to change my eating habits, not to mention glad to already be a vegetarian! Though documentaries were what first pushed me to consider vegetarianism a few years ago, this book is far and away the most powerful tool I've encountered in educating myself on my food choices. As an exploration into tradition, history, farming practices, globalization, global and local economics, social implications, climate impact, and so much more, this book is worth its weight in gold.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Sarah & Nick


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