Gone Reading - Product Review

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from the founder of Gone Reading asking if I'd like to review some products from their site like Coranne did last summer. And like Coranne, I asked Brad to surprise me. Not only did he surprise me, but somehow he managed to time things out perfectly with shipping and putting together a box of random stuff so that it arrived on my birthday. I'm sure it was a coincidence, but I'm just going to pretend it was intentional because it wouldn't surprise me if Brad's the kind of guy who plans out mail for his friends and family like that. I don't know him beyond that, but surprise book stuff on my birthday is definitely one of the ways to my heart.

There was a definite theme to the things in the box and that was that they were all better enjoyed with people. So, I strapped on my social boots, called up some friends and we had a night of it. It didn't go entirely as expected.

Lit Wit is a game that seems fun on the outside, like a nuanced Trivial Pursuit for book lovers. My friends and I were super excited to start playing it, but once we got started we realized that this was to trivia games what Monopoly seems to be to the rest of the board game community. That is: Not Fun. Don't play this game if you still want to be friends at the end of it. For one, it heavily focuses on the generally accepted canon of literature and doesn't seem to want to go beyond that. I'm not sure why. The answer is probably The Patriarchy. Limiting the subject matter to less contemporary authors meant that a lot of my friends and I had a hard time answering most of these questions. The game ended pretty quickly due to frustration, tears, and a certain human who shall not be named shouting, "Why are half these 'genre' category cards the bible??? Since when is the bible a genre?! Since when is Shakespeare a genre? Have I been using genre wrong my whole life? What's happening here?" Once we gave up on playing the game, one participant began attempting to build a fortress with the cards. It seems like there's a target audience here that none of the half dozen of us there fell into. If you've considered or have your MFA in Literature, you might enjoy this game. If you devour The Classics, you might enjoy this game. It's basically the kind of thing that just gives you a chance to be a pretentious person about all the books you've read. I dunno, guys. I'm totally happy being an adult who devours YA fiction and don't feel like anyone should be punished for choosing to read what they like instead of things they might find dry, dated, and a chore to finish but that they might not be a real human being who enjoys books if they don't. Dickens, I'm looking at you.


After the disaster of Lit Wit we decided to break out the Great Writers Finger Puppets. That kind of escape was exactly what needed to happen. The box says it can become a finger puppet stage, but we opted to do without a staging space. I'm not going to go into too many details about what happened. I think it suffices to say that there was wine involved, and Virginia Woolf may or may not have staged a coup with her imaginary friend Willy Shakes and Dickens and Tolstoy had conversations about their beards and may or may not have survived The Revolution. I can neither confirm nor deny anything. No, sir. Well, alright, the puppets themselves survived, and are about as aerodynamically sound as you'd expect. Like I said, we were kind of punchy after the game failure. Things have been mostly reclaimed safely save for Tolstoy. The cat really, really likes Tolstoy. Either way, we had a great deal of fun with these. They look super cute on the fridge. Everyone was happy. A++ would enjoy again.


The final item in the package I received was the "Book Lover" Word Magnets set. I'm not completely sure what to say about this one. It's a magnetic poetry kit. By this point, I think a good number of us have screwed around with one of these and generally knows what's up. The word variety's good and relevant. It's definitely a set that's best paried with one or more other versions of magnetic poetry. It's also not something that really lends itself to playing with for hours on end. With that in mind, I decided to take the whole set and put them on the green room fridge. Knowing my peers, the results will probably not be all that family friendly. No, there aren't any explicitly dirty words in the set, but since when has that ever stopped anyone from crafting poems rife with innuendo? We'll have fun with it, but slow burn fun.


All in all, the joy of the puppets more than made up for the trivia failure, and the magnets should probably last a good long while in their space before someone gets frustrated with their existence. Everything was shipped quickly and packaged well. The next time I'm gift hunting for certain people in my life, I'm absolutely going to make Gone Reading my first stop. Not only was their founder a joy to communicate with, but they have a philanthropic mission I can absolutely get behind.

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