Surznick Reads: March 2017 - The Surznick Common Room

Friday, March 31, 2017

Surznick Reads: March 2017

Another month come and gone already. I know we've been pretty quiet lately, but next week we'll give you an update on some of the wedding plans we've been making! In the mean time, here's what we read this month!

Sarah's Reads!

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists)
From "Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life's most important things - which actually aren't things at all. At age 30, best friends Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus walked away from their six-figure corporate careers, jettisoned most of their material possessions, and started focusing on what's truly important. In their debut book, Joshua & Ryan, authors of the popular website, explore their troubled pasts and descent into depression. Though they had achieved the American Dream, they worked ridiculous hours, wastefully spent money, and lived paycheck to paycheck. Instead of discovering their passions, they pacified themselves with ephemeral indulgences - which only led to more debt, depression, and discontent. After a pair of life-changing events, Joshua & Ryan discovered minimalism, allowing them to eliminate their excess material things so they could focus on life's most important 'things': health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution."

Nick bought this book a couple months ago after we watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix. I liked the documentary okay, but was not the biggest fan of Joshua and Ryan - two guys who left fancy, six-figure jobs to tour the country talking about becoming minimalists... not exactly relatable. Yet, I decided to read their book on a whim since it was short and would be a quick read. The book made me like them less. It felt very, "Me, me, me! Us, us, us! Listen to OUR story!" On nearly every page of the book was a URL directing readers to something on their blog - literally endless self-promotion. It felt like they just wrote a book about their own lives and tried to disguise it as a guide to help others. I already feel like I'm in a place where I'm living more minimally (see my closet clean-out post here), so maybe if I was hearing about all this stuff for the first time I would have found it more beneficial to read. If you had to pick one of the two, watch the documentary instead.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Surznick's Reads!

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris
From "Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable. Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows. Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed."

Pretty much everyone in our book club gave this book a terrible rating. Sarah and I are no exception (except Sarah is a little less harsh than I.) This book was basically a PG version of what could have been a good book. Imagine a really dark thriller with an evil main character and sick, twisted plans. Now imagine that that book falls short of delivering on every single aspect of the story. The main character "feeds off of fear" like some mundane Disney villain. The worst, twisted plots of terror involve nothing more than paining a room ENTIRELY RED. (Gasp?) Basically, this book was a complete breeze to read. Reading 300 pages in a couple of days is not something I can usually do, but this book was a piece of cake. With that in mind, some part of me must have enjoyed the actual act of reading it, but the story overall was pretty garbage-esque. (As a side note, please don't tell B.A. Paris about this review. I feel kind of bad.)

Sarah's Rating: 2 Stars
Nick's Rating: 1 Star

Have a lovely last day in March!

Sarah & Nick


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