Harry Potter Binge: A Free Range Readalong


All good things are born on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. This event came to light via Facebook Messenger when Heather mentioned wanting to re-read the Harry Potter books. Like, all of them. I think for many of us these books especially attractive during the holiday season, and as we all know, those are right around the corner. Amanda and I (this is Andi!) were quickly onboard, and the Harry Potter Binge: A Free Range Readalong was born.

Why free range you ask? Because we know that putting deadlines on things during the holidays just doesn’t work. We’re going to be reading the books sometime between November 1 and January 31. Amanda has re-read the books fairly often, so she was really only Jonesing for the sixth and seventh books, and that’s fine, too. This is YOUR READALONG, so make of it what you will.

All we ask is that you link up whenever you feel like it by checking in right down below. Also, use the hashtag (#potterbinge) when you’re chatting about it so we can find you!

RIPX: The Quick Readalong


The time has come! Were you able to read The Quick by Lauren Owen? Here are a few discussion questions and a link-up so you can check out other readers’ impressions.

1. What genre (or genres) would you say THE QUICK falls into? What genre or author influences do you see in this book?

2. Emily Richter figures into many of the book’s most pivotal early scenes. How much do you think she knows or doesn’t know about James and Christopher, and about Eustace’s change?

3. Did you notice the repetition of owls? What’s up with that?

4. Characters agree to the Exchange for different reasons. Are there any reasons that would tempt you to join the Aegolius Club?

5. Why do you think Mrs. Price turns children? How does their group compare to other family units in the book?

6. Why do the Club members refer to the living as the “Quick”?

7. How does Mould change over the course of the book? Do you think he remains a man of science to the end?

8. Charlotte’s quiet life is altered drastically by the book’s events. In what ways does it change for the better?

9. Had you heard of a priest hole before reading THE QUICK? Why do you think Owen chose to begin and end the book there?

10. The ending of THE QUICK seems to beg for a sequel. What do you think about it?

If you don’t feel like tackling the questions, we understand! Feel free to link up and share that way or chat in the comments.

100 Chapter Books Project: Hatchet


So many of the books on the Top 100 Chapter Books list would be considered “girl” books (if we believed in such things, right?). Hatchet (1989) by Gary Paulsen is an exception as it is a book that is frequently put into boy hands. It was a Newbery Honor book and ended up having a few sequels.

What it’s about: Brian is a thirteen-year-old boy whose parents have recently divorced. His dad has moved to northern Canada for work and Brian is on his way in a small plane when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian brings the plane down on a lake, in a forest, far off course from where he was supposed to be. Can he survive until help arrives? Will help ever arrive?

Age level: Grades 5-6

Best part: The descriptions of the Canadian wilderness and wildlife.

Worst part: There was a subplot about Brian catching his mom cheating on his dad before the divorce. The book literally ends by bringing it back up when, after this huge ordeal, you would think it wouldn’t matter so much anymore.

Verdict: Borrow

It was really interesting to read this one after having read My Side of the Mountain this summer. While that book is about a boy who willingly goes into the woods, prepared and successful in almost all of his ventures, Hatchet is the exact opposite. And the moment that Brian becomes competent, he is rescued. I have to say that I enjoyed MSotM more — both in Sam’s respect for nature and wildlife and for his ability to solve problems. I know that Brian wasn’t planning on having to survive in the wild but he didn’t solve problems so much as stumble across solutions. I didn’t really like him as a kid either so it made it hard to root for him. The book was fine but I just didn’t connect with it.

Anyway, next up is The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which I’ve heard good things about!

Schedule – October through January
October 31 – #36 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958)
November 15 – #88 The BFG by Roald Dahl (1982)
November 30 – #64 The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (1947)
December 15 – #13 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1997)
December 31 – Winter Break
January 15 – #26 Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926)