The Reading Project is independently 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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▼ Recent Reviews
The Discomfort of Evening

27 September 2020

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

27 September 2020

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

26 September 2020

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

22 September 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

21 September 2020

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

13 September 2020

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

11 September 2020

City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer

3 September 2020

The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley

1 September 2020

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

30 August 2020

Contempt by Michael Cordell

21 August 2020

The Guilty Die Twice by Don Hartshorn

21 August 2020

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

16 August 2020

Come by Rita Therese

5 August 2020

Too Much and Never Enough

5 August 2020

How I Became the Fittest Woman on Earth

3 August 2020


▼ Books Currently Being Read

Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars.

Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars.
Joyce Carol Oates

Reviewer: bikerbudy

A novel about race, trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing...

The bonds of family are tested in the wake of a profound tragedy, providing a look at the darker side of our contemporary American society.

When a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all.

STATUS: Reading

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History
Donna Tartt

Reviewer: Toriaz

A college novel with murder and blackmail...

When Richard Papen joins an elite group of clever misfits at his New England college, it seems he can finally become the person he wants to be. Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, they discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

STATUS: Reading.

▼ Special Reading Project Complete
The Federalist Papers

Our first long-term Special Reading Project, now complete!

The Federalist Papers were written in 1787 to 1788 to defend the new American Constitution against its critics. They interpreted the Constitution and have provided future generations guidance as to how the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be interpreted.

The Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and America's fourth president, James Madison, cover issues of America's independence, including the need to ensure against foreign influence, as well as how the new Federal Government would operate. The Federalist Papers also deal with the separation of powers of the powers of each branch of government, including government oversight, which includes the power of Congress to impeach. For these reasons, The Federalist Papers are still important documents which have been referred to in debates about the presidency of Donald Trump.

You can now read summaries and commentaries of all 85 Federalist papers here on the Reading Project.

▼ Special Reading Projects

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has been announced as the winner of the International Booker Prize for 2020. Rijneveld becomes the youngest author to win the prize. Ted Hodgkinson, the chairman of the judges, said of the book:

We set ourselves an immense task in selecting a winner from our superb shortlist, filled with fiction bold enough to upend mythic foundations and burst the banks of the novel itself. From this exceptional field, and against an extraordinary backdrop, we were looking for a book that goes beyond echoing our dystopian present and possesses a timeless charge.

Combining a disarming new sensibility with a translation of singular sensitivity, The Discomfort of Evening is a tender and visceral evocation of a childhood caught between shame and salvation, and a deeply deserving winner of The 2020 International Booker Prize.

The Shortlist for this year's Booker Prize has been announced. Earlier this year I predicted a third win for Hilary Mantel for her concluding novel in her Thomas Cromwell series, The Mirror and the Light. Unfortunately, Hilary Mantel didn't make the cut for the 2020 Shortlist, so this year is my first since starting this site that I haven't correctly called the winner. Those making the cut are:

  • The New Wilderness (Oneworld Publications) – Diane Cook (USA)
  • This Mournable Body (Faber & Faber) – Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe)
  • Burnt Sugar (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House) – Avni Doshi (USA)
  • The Shadow King (Canongate Books) – Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia/USA)
  • Real Life (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing) – Brandon Taylor (USA)
  • Shuggie Bain (Picador, Pan Macmillan) – Douglas Stuart (Scotland/USA)

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.

Quote of the Week

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, London, Allen & Unwin, 1954

View an archive of Quotes of the Week

The pictures below represent places we have travelled or enjoy. In each picture there is someone who is reading. The photos represent the portability of books and the idea that they might be enjoyed almost anywhere.

Hancock House, Springwood, Australia

Hancock House, home to the Reading Project

Springwood Golf Course

Near the Country Club entrance where meals are served and a local trivia night is run each Thursday night.

Views of Parramatta, Australia

Parramatta was the site of Australia's first successful colonial farms. Now it is a growing metropolis.

The Parthenon, Athens, Greece

The Parthenon was built as part of the Athenian reconstruction after the Persian Wars 2500 years ago and was completed shortly before Athens' war with Sparta, which saw the end of Athenian military dominance.

Bondi Beach, Australia

Bondi Beach is famous for its white sands and the Bondi Baths at the Southern end of the Beach. Each year, Bondi hosts Sculptures by the Sea.

Book Nook, Innsbruck, Austria

An outdoor book exchange in a suburban neighbourhood in Austria.

Fitzgeralds Valley, NSW, Australia

The scenic Fitzgerald's Valley is located only two hours from Sydney.

Moorilda, NSW, Australia

Moorilda is typical of many rural New South Wales across the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Mt Pilatus, Switzerland

Reached by cable car, Mt Pilatus offers magnificent views across the Alps in the middle of winter.


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