▼ Recent Reviews
The Pyramid by William Golding

16 April 2019

Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates

12 April 2019

Holiday by Stanley Middleton

31 March 2019

Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie

28 March 2019

Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald

25 March 2019

On Fairness by Sally McManus

23 March 2019

Ina House of Lies by Ian Rankin

21 March 2019

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

21 March 2019

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

4 March 2019

Great Apes by Will Self

2 March 2019

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by J.R.Rowling

1 March 2019

Whose Body? by Dorothy L.Sayers

23 February 2019

Arion and the Dolphin

21 February 2019

Mythos by Stephen Fry

19 February 2019

The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion

19 February 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 Man Booker Prize winning books since 1969. Contributions are welcome. More information can be found in our About/Blog page.

▼ Books Currently Being Read

The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury: Bohemian Rhapsody

The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury: Bohemian Rhapsody
Lesley-Ann Jones

Reviewer: WaywardWoman

The Life of Freddie Mercury...

This biography of Freddie Mercury was written by rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones, who toured widely with Queen and formed lasting friendships with the band. Jones has written her biography with access to the remaining band members and those who were closest to Mercury from childhood to death. The book focuses on the period in the 1980s when Queen began to fragment, before their Live Aid performance put them back in the frame.

STATUS: Reading

Identity Crisis by Ben Elton

Identity Crisis
Ben Elton

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

From the back cover ...

Why are we all so hostile? So quick to take offence? Truly we are living in the age of outrage.

A series of apparently random murders draws amiable, old-school Detective Mick Matlock into a world of sex, politics, reality TV and a bewildering kaleidoscope of opposing identity groups. Lost in a blizzard of hashtags, his already complex investigation is further impeded by the fact that he simply doesn't 'get' a single thing about anything anymore.

Meanwhile, each day another public figure confesses to having 'misspoken' and prostrates themselves before the judgement of Twitter. Begging for forgiveness, assuring the public "that is not who I am".

But if nobody is who they are anymore - then who the f**k are we?

STATUS: Reading

Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga by Todd Alexander

Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga
Todd Alexander

Reviewer: Toriaz

About this book...

Todd and Jeff have had enough of the city. Sick of the daily grind and workaday corporate shenanigans, they throw caution to the wind and buy 100 acres in the renowned Hunter Valley wine region, intent on living a golden bucolic life and building a fabulous B&B, where they can offer the joys of country life to heart-weary souls.

Todd will cook, Jeff will renovate. They have a vineyard, they can make wine. They have space, they can grow their own food. They have everything they need to make their dreams come true.

How hard can it be?

STATUS: Reading

▼ 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 Man Booker Prize for 2018 was:

  • Anna Burns (UK) - Milkman (Faber & Faber)
  • Esi Edugyan (Canada) - Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Daisy Johnson (UK) - Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)
  • Rachel Kushner (USA) - The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)
  • Richard Powers (USA) - The Overstory (William Heinemann)
  • Robin Robertson (UK) - The Long Take (Picador)

The winner for 2018 was announced on 16 October. Anna Burns won for her novel Milkman which I predicted in our blog on 11 October. It was a guess. I hadn't read it at that time. I since have. My review for Milkman can be found here.

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

In the long term, we hope to review all the Man 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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