▼ Recent Reviews
Big Blue Sky by Peter Garrett

25 November 2019

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

6 November 2019

The Cockroach by Ian McEwan

22 November 2019

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

13 November 2019

Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

10 November 2019

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

5 November 2019

Staying On by Paul Scott

31 October 2019

Flights by Olga Torarczuk

24 October 2019

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

12 October 2019

The Rúin by Dervla McTiernan

28 September 2019

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

28 September 2019

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

19 September 2019

Theodore Boone: The Accomplice by John Grisham

17 September 2019

Saville by David Storey

5 September 2019

Thief of Time

28 August 2019

The Reading Project is independantly run to provide reviews of books from a variety of genres, as well as engage in long-term projects of personal interest, including a reading of The Federalist Papers and all the Booker Prize winning novels since 1969. Contributions are welcome. More information can be found in our About/Blog page.

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▼ Books Currently Being Read

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

The Secret Comonwealth
Philip Pullman

Reviewer: Toriaz

The Book of Dust Volume 2...

The second volume of Sir Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.

Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost - a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

STATUS: Reading.

The History of Philosophy

The History of Philosophy

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

The first authoritative and accessible one-volume history of philosophy for decades...

The story of philosophy is an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic, Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history.

A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius, and Socrates, through Christianity's dominance of the European mind, to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too.

STATUS: Reading

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People
Sally Rooney

Reviewer: NickoHeap

A story of mutual fascination, friendship and love...

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege.

STATUS: Reading

Cujo by Stephen King

Stephen King

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

Classic horror...

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine . . . He was not a werewolf, vampire, ghoul, or unnameable creature from the enchanted forest or snow wastes; he was only a cop . . . Cujo is a huge Saint Bernard dog, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. Then one day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole. Except it isn't a rabbit warren any more. It is a cave inhabited by rabid bats.And Cujo falls sick. Very sick. And the gentle giant who once protected the family becomes a vortex of horror inexorably drawing in all the people around him . . . .

STATUS: Finished Reading. Review Pending.

▼ Special Reading Projects
The Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

Click the cover or title to follow the papers as I read them...

I have decided to read The Federalist Papers. They are a series of 85 newspaper articles published anonymously in 1787 and 1788 in New York by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay in defense of the new American Constitution.

Alexander Hamilton

Instead of reviewing them as a book, which seems pointless, given the documents' significance, I will summarise them and make notes, instead, and generally try to become familiar with them. Hopefully, they may make the papers more accessible to others, as well.

Apart from reading Ron Chernow's biography on Hamilton, this is an unfamiliar subject to me. I hope any misunderstandings or inaccuracies in my approach will therefore be understood by anyone who knows more than I do about this subject. Not hard ...

Notes for each paper will be posted as I read them. Keep track of my progress by the counter in the bottom corner.

The shortlist for the Booker Prize 2019:

  • Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments [WINNER]
  • Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport
  • Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other [WINNER]
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities
  • Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte
  • Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

The Booker Prize winners for 2019 were Margaret Atwood for The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo for her novel Girl, Woman, Other. I predicted Atwood’s win in a blog post, but did not predict a joint win which last happened in 1992 for The English Patient and Sacred Hunger. My review for The Testaments can be found here.

View the list of all Booker Prize Winners and those we have so far reviewed by clicking here.

In the long term, we hope to review all the Booker Prize winners.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexander Dumas

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

Click the cover or title to follow my summary as I read each chapter...

I am currently reading Alexander Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo as a long term reading project. I've chosen to make this a Special Project given the length of the novel. It has 118 chapter and over a thousand pages of close, small print.

The novel begins in the period just before Napoleon's escape from the island of Elba. Edmond Dantes is arrested and imprisoned after he is framed as a Napoleon conspirator. This is the story of his escape, how he finds his fortune and seeks revenge on those who betrayed him.

I am summarising each chapter as I read. When I eventually finish the novel I will also write it a review. In the meantime my progress can be checked by looking at the counter below, which indicates how many chapters are currently read and summarised.

Coming to the Reading Project in the future...

I read a few of The Famous Five books when I was a child, although only some of them and not in order. Since then they have been the subject of parody and criticism. Their homely tone has been used to satirise subjects such as Brexit and corporate training culture, while the books' subject matter has often been ridiculed for sexism, racism and worrying nationalistic ideology.

This Special Reading Project is dedicated to a reading of the complete series in order. We will provide a basic overview of each book, but apart from that we will not be providing traditional reviews. Instead, we will consider some of the issues that have been raised concerning the books, as well as consider character development across the series, aspects of the setting and Blyton's use of a floating timeline, as is relevant for each volume.

The first volume in the series, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942 and Blyton continued to publish additions in the series until 1963, taking the series tally to 21 for an average of one book per year.

At the moment we are still trying to decide how to present the series and are in the process of reading the books and writing material for the pages. We hope to start publishing the first pages as soon as possible.

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