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

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Erin’s May Reading Wrap Up

Finished in May:
Winter Tide // Ruthanna Emrys
–Rating: 2/5 stars
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books // Azar Nafisi
–Rating: 3/5 stars
Gutshot // Amelia Gray
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show // Eric Scott Fischl
–Rating: 2/5 stars
This Beautiful Life // Helen Schulman
–Rating: 1/5 stars
The Devil and Webster // Jean Hanff Korelitz
–Rating: 3/5 stars
The Bridge of San Luis Rey // Thornton Wilder
–Rating: 3/5 stars

Currently Reading:
Penance // Kanae Minato

2017 Goodreads Challenge:
42/115 (added 7 books in May)

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:
I completed two tasks this month: Read a book published between 1900 and 1950 (The Bridge of San Luis Rey, 1927) and Read a book about books (Reading Lolita in Tehran). This brings my count up to 8 complete, with 16 more to go (yikes)…but I think I can still finish it!

Erin & Kirsten’s Year of Pulitzers, 2017:
We read The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder this month, and it was an interesting pick. Though the writing felt pretty formal, and kept the reader at a bit of a distance, Wilder wove the stories of Pepita, Esteban, Uncle Pio, and others into a tale of drama and emotion that kept us going. Wilder as an author captured both our attention, and both of us are going to read more Wilder! Our June book is A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, and I’ll let you know what we thought in my June wrap up.

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

Erin’s April Reading Wrap Up

Finished in April:
Girls in White Dresses // Jennifer Close
–Rating: 3/5 stars
American Pastoral // Philip Roth
–Rating: 2/5 stars
The Guineveres // Sarah Domet
–Rating: 3/5 stars
Lincoln in the Bardo // George Saunders
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Everybody Rise // Stephanie Clifford
–Rating: 2/5 stars
The Devil Crept In // Ania Ahlborn
–Rating: 4/5 stars
The Blue Fox // Sjòn
–Rating: 4/5 stars

Currently Reading:
Winter Tide // Ruthanna Emrys

2017 Goodreads Challenge:
35/115 (added 7 books in April)

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:
It’s another slow month on the Read Harder front. Remember how I said I was going to do better this year? Whoops. I did check off “Read a book you’ve read before” with Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, bringing my total completed up to six.

Erin & Kirsten’s Year of Pulitzers, 2017:
Oomph. American Pastoral was a whopper of a book and neither my mom nor I particularly enjoyed it. As Kirsten put it, “I can appreciate the writing and will agree it is probably an insightful description of mostly white men at a certain time … but I don’t particularly want to spend anymore time looking for other reviews/analysis about it.” We’re going with The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder as our next Pulitzer pick.

As always, I am a fairly active Goodreads user and you can find me at goodreads.com/emurch. 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 have videos on Youtube and 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

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: Wrap Up

And then it was over.

It is a gloomy Sunday morning and this spring’s Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has officially come to the end. I read for a good chunk of the readathon, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and tiki bar breaks peppered through the evening.

I completed three books and started a fourth, logging 920 pages. This April’s readathon books were:

  1. Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
  2. The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn
  3. The Blue Fox by Sjòn
  4. Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

I didn’t do much in the way of mini-challenges this time around…there just weren’t a ton that caught my eye. However, I spent more time on Twitter than I have in the past, and that was a ton of fun.

The next readathon will be October 21, 2017 so mark your calendars! We have a wedding to attend that day, but it’s in the evening so our goal is to devote as much of the morning/afternoon to the readathon as we can. If you want to keep up with us between readathons, check us out on YoutubeTwitter, and Instagram, and listen to the podcast!

That’s a wrap on this readathon. Until next time, happy reading!
–Erin

Erin’s March Reading Wrap Up

Somehow we are already into April…which is CRAZY. But it means warmer weather, which means reading outside! While Chicagoland is still a little chilly, I’ve wrapped up my reading from March.

Finished in March:
Batman: Arkham Asylum, A Serious House on Serious Earth // Grant Morrison
–Rating: 4/5 stars
The Queen of the Tearling // Erika Johansen
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Arkham Manor // Gerry Duggan
–Rating: 3/5 stars
The Boy Is Back // Meg Cabot
–Rating: 2/5 stars
The Hopefuls // Jennifer Close
–Rating: 5/5 stars
Arkham Asylum: Living Hell // Dan Slott
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Girls in the Moon // Janet McNally
–Rating: 2/5 stars
Day Four // Sarah Lotz
–Rating: 5/5 stars

Currently Reading:
American Pastoral // Phillip Roth

2017 Goodreads Challenge:
26/115

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:
Another disappointing Read Harder month…whoops. I did check off “Read a fantasy novel” with The Queen of the Tearling (which was fantastic).

Book of the Month Club Pick:
Alas, I am again skipping Book of the Month. Due to finances and a lack of gripping options, I am passing over April. I’ll keep checking in, and we’ll see if May brings any really exciting picks.

Erin & Kirsten’s Year of Pulitzers, 2017:
We have extended our March pick of American Pastoral into April, as we have found Roth a little more intense than we anticipated. We’ll be talking about it at the end of the month, and I’ll share our thoughts in next month’s wrap up!

As always, I am a fairly active Goodreads user and you can find me at goodreads.com/emurch. 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 have videos on Youtube and 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

Erin’s February Reading Wrap Up

Happy March! It’s the birthday month here at Game & Read, as both of us are born in March. But before we get too far into the best month of the year, check out my February reading wrap up.

Finished in February:
Misery // Stephen King
–Rating: 4/5 stars
The Animators // Kayla Rae Whitaker
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Wilde Lake // Laura Lippman
-Rating: 3/5 stars
Perfect Little World // Kevin Wison
-Rating: 5/5 stars
The Possessions // Sara Murphy Flannery
-Rating: 3/5 stars
The Keepers of the House // Shirley Ann Grau
-Rating: 4/5 stars

Currently Reading:
The Queen of the Tearling // Erika Johansen

2017 Goodreads Challenge:
18/115

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:
I did not add to my Read Harder challenge in February, but I’m going to make a conscious effort this month to cross off at least two more tasks.

Book of the Month Club Pick:
I am actually passing on this month’s Book of the Month box. While some of the books look interesting, none caught my eye enough that I needed the book in hardcover. Tune in next month for my April pick!

Erin & Kirsten’s Year of Pulitzers, 2017:
Last month we read The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau. It was a really intense and powerful book, and definitely deserving of the Pulitzer prize. While the phrasing and writing style was a bit awkward and stilted at times, the message is a powerful one and is (unfortunately) relevant to today’s society, though the book was written in the 1960s. Our March pick is American Pastoral by Philip Roth.

February was not too shabby of a short month! I finished 6 books, which is right what I was aiming for, and I read some really good novels. I am looking forward to being more Read Harder focused this month, and will hopefully have a nice big wrap up list in a month’s time!

As always, I am a fairly active Goodreads user and you can find me at goodreads.com/emurch. 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 have videos on Youtube, we post pictures on Instagram, and update our reading lists on Litsy (@GameandRead). 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

Erin’s January Reading Wrap Up

Y’all. It is already February and I CAN’T HANDLE IT. I mean, I can totally handle it and warmer weather is on the way, but it is a little nutty that we’re already a month into this year. And while this year hasn’t been the best already because of He Who Will Not Be Named, give in to a little distraction and check out my January reading wrap up.

Finished in January:
Pull Me Under // Kelly Luce
–Rating: 4/5 stars
Don’t You Cry // Mary Kubica
–Rating: 3/5 stars
The Wonder // Emma Donoghue
-Rating: 4/5 stars
Olive Kitteridge // Elizabeth Strout
-Rating: 4/5 stars
Lucky You // Erika Carter
-Rating: 5/5 stars
Charlotte, Wander On // Matt Cubberly
-Rating: 3/5 stars
The House on Mango Street // Sandra Cisneros
-Rating: 4/5 stars
The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) // Tana French
-Rating: 4/5 stars
Problems // Jade Sharma
-Rating: 2/5 stars
The Princess Bride // William Goldman
-Rating: 3/5 stars
The Wangs vs. the World // Jade Chang
-Rating: 4/5 stars

Currently Reading:
The White City // Karolina Ramqvist
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu // Joshua Hammer

2017 Goodreads Challenge:
12/115

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:
I am doing really well on this so far! I’ve got 4 tasks completed:

  1. Read a debut novel (Lucky You by Erika Carter)
  2. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location (Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica)
  3. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country (The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros)
  4. Read a collection of stories by a woman (Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout)

I am hoping to do better this year in regularly completing tasks…hopefully not 2016 repeats and end of year scrambling!

Book of the Month Club Pick: January 2017
I just about died with this month’s picks…I want ALL OF THEM. Thankfully, I got The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker in my Quarterly Literary box but that still means I have to narrow my pick down. I think I’m going to pick Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson (I literally cannot pass on anything involving communes) and I’ll be splurging to also get The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy.

Erin & Kirsten’s Year of Pulitzers, 2017:
Last month we read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. We both agreed that while it was an enjoyable read, it was a bit underwhelming for a Pulitzer prize. Our February book is The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau, which won the 1965 prize.

January was a strong start to this year – I read 12 books, completed 4 Read Harder tasks, and am ready to take on February. This will be a lighter reading month, not only because its shorter but also because I have a major work event at the end of the month, but I am hoping to knock out at least 5 or 6 books.

As always, I am a diligent Goodreads user so you can read detailed reviews of all the books I read at goodreads.com/emurch. 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 have videos on Youtube, we post pictures on Instagram, and update our reading lists on Litsy (@GameandRead). 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