▼ Recent Reviews
Much Obliged, Jeeves by P.G.Wodehouse

11 June 2019

The art of War by Sun-Tzu

9 June 2019

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

4 June 2019

The Clockmaker's Daughter

24 May 2019

Run Away by Harlan Coben

27 May 2019

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

25 May 2019

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

17 May 2019

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

12 May 2019

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury

14 May 2019

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

3 May 2019

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

6 May 2019

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

26 April 2019

Identity Crisis by Ben Elton

27 April 2019

The Pyramid by William Golding

16 April 2019

Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates

12 April 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 Overstory by Richard Power

THE OVERSTORY
Richard Powers

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

A novel about humanity's connection to the natural world...

An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. An Air Force crewmember in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan.

This is the story of these and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last stand to save it from catastrophe.

STATUS: Reading

I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim
Terry Hayes

Reviewer: WaywardWoman

About this book...

Can you commit the perfect crime?

Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn't exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation.

But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder - and Pilgrim wrote the book.

What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.

STATUS: Reading.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Hiro Arikawa

Reviewer: Toriaz

A feelgood story of a man's journey around Japan with a streetcat...

Nana is on a road trip, but he is not sure where he is going. All that matters is that he can sit beside his beloved owner Satoru in the front seat of his silver van. Satoru is keen to visit three old friends from his youth, though Nana doesn't know why and Satoru won't say.

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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