#FridayReads: July 14

Welcome to another week of Friday Reads! We’ve got a pretty packed Saturday, but I’m determined to get some reading time. Peter works Saturday morning, so I’m planning to spend those hours with a book.

31702777 Last week, I was just starting Queen of Swords by R.S. Belcher. I finished it this week and Oh. My. God. This is my absolute favorite of the three books in the Golgotha series, and may be my favorite Belcher yet. Maude is such a fantastic character, and Belcher does such a good job of writing complexity into his characters. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, since it is tied to the previous Golgotha books, but I will say that the cast of characters is filled with amazing bad ass women (which I always love) and the perfect amount of otherworldly drama and adventure. If you are up for a dark, occasionally violent, weird western plus some, I can’t recommend this series, and this book in particular, highly enough.

Now that I’ve finished Queen of Swords, and am getting close to the end of Ancillary Justice, I get to pick a new book to start my weekend! As of this post, I actually haven’t decided what I’m going to turn to next. I think I’ll pick up a mystery/thriller/murder novel…it’s been a while since I’ve read a good murder story. If you’re interested in what I picked up, go check us out on Twitter or Instagram! I’ll be posting about my current Friday read there.

If you want more Game & Read, follow us on social media and keep up with all of our shenanigans by listening to the Game & Read podcast.

Until next time, happy reading!

–Erin

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#FridayReads: July 7

Happy Friday!

After a few weeks of being in a reading slump, I feel like I’m finally back into my regular pace of reading. I’ve read some books that, while not amazing, were interesting enough to keep me going, and things have also calmed down a little at work, which leaves me with more energy to read when I get home in the evenings. Now that I am back in the game, let me tell you what I’m up to this weekend!

31752345Well, I finished Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman…it was an incredibly strange reading experience. One of the reasons Bird Box was so great was that the writing style created a profound sense of unease in the reader. What worked so well in Bird Box felt odd and out of place in Black Mad Wheel. Malerman kept moving back and forth in time, using present tense regardless of when events were happening in the chronology of the story, and I was confused for a good chunk of the book. Yet for all the confusion, I was pulled into the world of The Danes and the mystery sound, and it kept me reading, wanting to know what exactly was going on (which I never really figured out…).

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My main read this weekend is Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This is our book for our July pairing of Ancillary Justice and “Nier: Automata,” and it starts with a bang. It’s the first in a series, and deals with artificial intelligence and space craziness. I’m not going to share too much here, since I’ll be talking about this book plenty in the next three weeks, but suffice to say I am transported to another world…

31702777In other weekend reading news, Jordan brought me Queen of Swords by R.S. Belcher and I will be picking this up between weird space chapters of Ancillary Justice. I love the Golgotha series from Belcher, and I’ve been looking forward to Maude’s book for a VERY long time. This is a fantastic series with some seriously bad ass ladies, and Belcher has such weird ideas, which work perfectly in his weird western world.

I’m having a weird book moment, with AI and space and weird westerns and mortal sounds, and I’d love to know what you think of any of these books! If you’ve got thoughts or more recommendations, let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.

If you want more Game & Read, you can find us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and keep up with all of our shenanigans by listening to the Game & Read podcast.

Until next time, happy reading!

–Erin

Erin’s June Reading Wrap Up

In the normal disbelief at the start of a new month, I can’t believe it is already July and we are HALFWAY through 2017. I continue to set a 6-8 books per month reading pace, and here’s what I read in June!

Finished in June:
Penance // Kanae Minato
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Then We Came to the End // Joshua Ferris
–Rating: 2/5 stars
A Doll’s House // Henrik Ibsen
–Rating: 4/5 stars
A Thousand Acres // Jane Smiley
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Universal Harvester // John Darnielle
–Rating: 3/5 stars
Down Among the Sticks and Bones // Seanan McGuire
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Black Mad Wheel // Josh Malerman
–Rating: 3/5 stars

Currently Reading:
Borne // Jeff VanderMeer

2017 Goodreads Challenge:
49/115 (added 7 books in June) – Goodreads tells me I am 8 books behind schedule in order to meet my 115 book goal, but I think I can make that up. I always read a ton during the summer readathons and the holidays…and I have hope that I’ll hit that magic number 115 before the end of 2017.

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:
I checked off “Read a book set more than 5,000 miles from you” with Penance, which is set in Japan. In keeping with the common theme this year, I am still far behind on my Read Harder tasks. I just haven’t had the motivation to seek out books that fit the different tasks, so I don’t know if I’ll get it all done. I think the bigger issue is that I forget the Read Harder Challenge is happening until I write these monthly wrap ups and I realize I haven’t looked at the task list since the previous month…perhaps I’ll print it out and it will be a bit more in my face.

Erin & Kirsten’s Year of Pulitzers, 2017:
We picked A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley for the month of June, and it was a bit of a roller coaster. My mom and I agreed that the pacing of the story was off, and none of the characters were particularly agreeable. As I talked about in a recent podcast episode, I felt like the last third of the book was a shit show of trauma, and totally unnecessary. Smiley tried to cram a bit too much into the family in a way that did not feel realistic at all. Overall, we seem to be a bit hit or miss with these Pulitzer picks. Our July book is Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson. Elbow Room won the Pulitzer in 1978 and is a collection of short stories.

As always, I am a fairly active Goodreads user and you can find me at goodreads.com/emurch (though I will admit I’ve fallen a little behind on reviews). If you have any thoughts about any of the books I’ve read this month leave a comment or tweet me @GameandRead.

If you want more Game & Read, we post pictures on Instagram, you can find us on Facebook, and listen to our weekly podcast available here on the blog and on iTunes and Stitcher.

Until next time, happy reading!

–Erin

#FridayReads: June 30

Happy Friday!

It’s the beginning of an almost four day weekend and I’m here to talk about what I’m reading over the next few days.

5191ee8mmll-_sy344_bo1204203200_I successfully finished A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, and was underwhelmed by the end. I enjoyed the book up until the last third or so, when it felt like Smiley threw a shit storm of trauma onto the reader. It was far too much for me, and took away from the realness of the family (a realness which was already teetering on the brink of reality). I think I will read another novel by Smiley – I have Moo sitting on the shelf from many used book trips ago – though I’m going to give it some time before diving in.

31752345As I talked about on this week’s podcast, Jordan brought me new books last weekend and they have moved up on my reading list. I finished Down Among the Sticks and Stones by Seanan McGuire, and am just a handful of pages into Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman. I absolutely LOVE Bird Box, which you should all read but be warned it will give you chills, and I was excited to pick up Malerman’s freshly published new novel. It starts with a bang – a man lies in a hospital bed and ALL HIS BONES ARE BROKEN – and I’ve only gotten a little bit of context thus far. I’m really excited to read it this weekend, and especially tonight (Friday) because it’s supposed to be rainy and stormy, and that’s always good reading weather.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week! I’d love to know what you’re reading, if you have thoughts on these books, or if you’ve got recommendations for what I should read next, so let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.

If you want more Game & Read, you can find us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and keep up with all of our shenanigans by listening to the Game & Read podcast.

Until next time, happy reading!

–Erin

#FridayReads: June 23

Hello friends!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a Friday Reads…it’s due to a combination of a reading slump and a crazy busy few weeks at work. HOWEVER, my monster fundraising event is over, I’m reading a book I’m enjoying, and I am ready for all the Friday reading!

73ef4de831439bf11642336a79b88364Last time I posted, I was reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. If you listen to our podcast, you heard me RAIL against this book. It was like “The Office” but more depressing and intense, and not as funny. It got good blurbs and reviews, but it totally missed the mark for me. It was written in the mid 2000s and focuses on a professional office, a time and experience I cannot relate to on pretty much any level except that I was alive in the mid 2000s, and I think that was a big part of the disconnect for me.

5191ee8mmll-_sy344_bo1204203200_Right now, I’m reading A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. This is my mom and I’s June Pulitzer pick, and I’m a little over half way through. The story follows a family living on, literally, a thousand acre farm in Iowa, and the book is narrated by the oldest daughter. I am really enjoying it so far, and it feels like a mix between the quiet daily life of Willa Cather and the family saga of Shirley Ann Grau. I’m hoping to finish it this weekend, and will have an update and brief review next week.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week! I’d love to know what you’re reading, if you have thoughts on these books, or if you’ve got recommendations for what I should read next, so let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.

If you want more Game & Read, you can find us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and keep up with all of our shenanigans by listening to the Game & Read podcast.

Until next time, happy reading!

–Erin

The Game & Read Podcast: Tropes with Lessons

Summer starts tomorrow and we’re back with another episode of the Game & Read podcast! This week we are joined by our good friend Julia to discuss June’s pairing of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and “Gone Home” from the Fullbright Company.

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-Erin & Peter