Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Reader Round Up: October

Some lovely late autumn days provided moments of sitting in the sun to enjoy my remaining days of reading outside for the season. Reluctantly the hammocks are packed away and I am now reading books in the garage protected from the chill breeze of fall, where just enough sun lands to keep me mollified, provided I bundle up. I have been known to read cocooned in winter clothing and a thick blanket in my quest of al fresco reading time.

During October I read a bit of everything from historical fiction to romance adventure (reading for the adventure aspect), to murder mysteries and children’s fare. Out of sixteen books only three rated a five star read and that would be:

Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen

Brian’s Hunt, the fifth and last installment of the Brian books, is Gary Paulsen’s tribute to both Brian of Hatchet fame and Paulsen’s love and respect for the ebb and flow of the wilderness. While two thirds of the book is deceptively calm, almost transcendental in describing Brian’s canoe sojourn on the river, the last third Paulsen kicks into “Hatchet Mode” and beguiles the reader by creating a memorable adventure tale.
Thoroughly detailed and thought-provoking, Brian’s Hunt is a complement to the Hatchet series, yet it can very much be read as a standalone.

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

A Newberry Honor Award that is an older read, one that falls in with Narnia with its medieval world setting and threads of magical realism. A story that starts with Queen Mary on the throne, it centers on young Kate Sutton who is sent away to live at a remote, mysterious castle due to displeasing the queen. Kate is a spunky heroine and she is out to find the truth about the supposed Fairy Folk who reside in the hills. For those who enjoy Mary Stewart’s King Arthur series, this is a consideration, even if it found in the juvenile section.

SIDE NOTE: some of my favorite reads are found in the kids section–have you noticed that as well?

Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld

An unexpected fun read that is also from long ago. Translated from German, this tale transfers well the humor of how a group of Roman schoolboys attempt to solve the mystery of the painted words Caius Adonis Est or loosely translated Caius is a dumbbell. These words get one of the boys thrown into prison (Roman was a tough place, even on kids). His buddies try to get his name cleared in order to free him from the fate of wasting away in the dungeons. An entertaining story that combines laughs and Roman history, an unlikely combination. Some violence, such as cruel imprisonment and a man falling to his death might be a consideration for younger readers. Having taught Julius Caesar for a number of years it’s with regret I found this gem after I retired from teaching sophomore English.

Stay tuned for my post on what makes a book a five star read. Otherwise you might think me a finicky reader.

Any reads that you care to share? Please leave in the comments, as I’m always willing to add to my TBR list.

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4 thoughts on “Reader Round Up: October

  1. Detectives in Togas sounds particularly interesting. I’ll have to look for it.

  2. petespringerauthor on said:

    I used to read Brian’s Hunt and Hatchet to most of my classes. I typically like books with lots of dialogue; one doesn’t get that with Gary Paulson’s books.

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