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
A Promised Land by Barack Obama

26 July 2021

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

18 July 2021

Veniss Underground

12 July 2021

News of the World

6 July 2021

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

3 July 2021

Midsummer Madness

24 June 2021

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

19 June 2021

Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge

15 June 2021

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J.Klune

12 June 2021

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

8 June 2021

An Oral History of the Portuguese Colonial War: Conscripted Generation by Angela Campos

7 June 2021

Win by Harlan Coben

4 June 2021

Ginger, You're Barmy by David Lodge

31 May 2021

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

23 May 2021

The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis

21 May 2021

The Devil's Defender by John Henry Browne

8 May 2021


▼ Books Currently Being Read

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites
Terry Pratchett

Reviewer: Toriaz

The Third Discworld Novel...

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check that the baby in question was a son. Everybody knows that there's no such thing as a female wizard. But now it's gone and happened, there's nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the battle of the sexes begin...

STATUS: Reading.

The Way by Swanns by Marcel Proust

The Way by Swann's
Marcel Proust

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

The first volume of In Search of Lost Time...

The Way by Swann's is the most frequently read part of Proust's epic novel, In Search of Lost Time. It introduces subjects that resonate throughout the entire work, including the narrator's love for Swann's daughter Gilberte, Swann's jealous passion for Odette, and the rise of the nouveaux-riches Verdurins. Proust's narrator vividly recalls his childhood in Paris and Combray, most famously in a fraught evocation of his mother's good-night kiss and in the iconic scene where the taste of a madeleine dipped in tea brings back a flood of memory.

STATUS: Finished Reading. Review Pending after second reading.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

The Pickwick Papers
Charles Dickens

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

Dickens' first novel...

Mr. Samuel Pickwick, retired business man and confirmed bachelor, is determined that after a quiet life of enterprise the time has come to go out into the world. Together with the other members of the Pickwick Club - Tracy Tupman, Augustus Snodgrass and Nathaniel Winkle - the portly innocent embarks on a series of comic adventures. The story recounts the adventures of the members of the Pickwick Club as they travel about England getting into all sorts of mischief. But can Pickwick retain his good will towards his fellow humans once he discovers the evils of the world? The book also reveals Dickens's burgeoning interest in the parliamentary system, lawyers, the Poor Laws, and the ills of debtors' prisons.

STATUS: Reading.

▼ Special Reading Projects Complete
The Count of Monte Cristo

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

The Count of Monte Cristo

I read Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo as a long term reading project. The book is long, over 1000 pages of small print and 118 chapters. I decided as I read, since I would not always have time to read it consistently, that I would make a chapter by chapter summary.

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.

For those interested in reading the book, or simply curious to find out more, click on the cover of the book or click here. You will have access to the full summary I wrote, character notes on the major characters, a downloadable character map I produced, as well as a quick access to my review of the book and a link to the Gutenberg Project, where you can download the book for free.




The Federalist Papers

Our first long-term Special Reading Project

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 International Booker Prize winner for 2021 is At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop. Luc Hughes-Hallett, the chair for the 2021 judges, said of the book:

This story of warfare and love and madness has a terrifying power. The protagonist is accused of sorcery, and there is something uncanny about the way the narrative works on the reader. We judges agreed that its incantatory prose and dark, brilliant vision had jangled our emotions and blown our minds. That it had cast a spell on us.

- Lucy Hughes-Hallett

The Booker Prize winner for 2020 is Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. Margaret Busby, the chair for the 2020 judges, said of the book:

The heart-wrenching story tells of the unconditional love between Agnes Bain — set on a descent into alcoholism by the tough circumstances life has dealt her — and her youngest son. ... Gracefully and powerfully written, this is a novel that has impact because of its many emotional registers and its compassionately [realized] characters. The poetry in Douglas Stuart's descriptions and the precision of his observations stand out: nothing is wasted.

- Margaret Busby

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.

Quote of the Week

But even with respect to the most insignificant things in life, none of us constitutes a material whole, identical for everyone, which a person has only to go to look up as though we were a book of specifications or a last testament; our social personality is a creation of the minds of others.

Marcel Proust (2002), In Search of Lost Time: The Way by Swanns, Translated by Lydia Davis, London, Penguin, Page 22


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

Nepean River, Penrith, Australia

The Railway Bridge and Victoria Bridge sit side by side across the Nepean River with the new orange walking bridge behind.

Lily Pond, Faulconbridge, Australia

Now a rest spot, this lily pond was once the site of a quarry

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.

Mt Pilatus, Switzerland

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


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