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
Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

12 May 2022

Tragedy at Law by Cyril Hare

10 March 2022

The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo

8 May 2022

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

30 April 2022

Talesfrom Moominvalley by Tove Jansson

28 April 2022

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

26 April 2022

The red Thumb Mark by R.Austin Freeman

23 April 2022

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

19 April 2022

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

18 April 2022

The Three Taps by Ronald Knox

12 April 2022

Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor

7 April 2022

The Stranger Times by C.K.McDonnell

4 April 2022

Death in Fancy Dress

29 March 2022

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot

26 March 2022

Inspector French's Greatest Case by Freeman Wills Croft

14 March 2022

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

15 March 2022

Ice Planet Barbarians #1 by Ruby Dixon

1 March 2022

▼ Books Currently Being Read
The Match by Harlan Coben

The Match
Harlan Coben

Reviewer: WaywardWoman

Coben's New Thriller...

As a young child, Wilde was found living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey. He has grown up knowing nothing of his family, and even less about his own identity. He is known simply as Wilde, the boy from the woods.

But when a match at an online ancestry database puts him on the trail of a close relative - the first family member he has ever known - he thinks he might be about to solve the mystery of who he really is. Only this relation disappears as quickly as he's resurfaced, having experienced an epic fall from grace that can only be described as a waking nightmare.

Undaunted, Wilde continues his research on DNA websites where he becomes caught up in a community of doxxers, a secret group committed to exposing anonymous online trolls. Then one by one these doxxers start to die, and it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting this secret community - and that his next victim might be Wilde himself...

Reading Progress
49% Complete
The Finishers: The Barkley Marathons by Alexis Berg and Aurelien Delfosse

The Finishers: The Barkley Marathons
Alexis Berg & Aurélien Delfosse

Reviewer: Hasty

A book about one of the most mythical running races on Earth...

It is a race like no other: there is no website to take entries; participants are selected from those who find a way to submit written applications and the $1.60 entry fee; only around 40 people are chosen to run, with condolences from the race director. The course, based in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, was inspired by the failed escape of James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Jr's assassin, amid the unforgiving landscape and vegetation where Ray's prison was based. Runners must complete five roughly 20-mile loops - those who manage to complete only three laps are deemed to have achieved the 'fun run' - with a total elevation climb equal to two ascents of Mount Everest. Since 1986, only 15 people have ever finished. This publication celebrates their achievements.

Reading Progress
47% Complete
Stalinggrad by Vasily Grossman

Vasily Grossman

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

The prequel to Life and Fate...

In April 1942, Hitler and Mussolini plan the huge offensive on the Eastern Front that will culminate in the greatest battle in human history.

Hundreds of miles away, Pyotr Vavilov receives his call-up papers and spends a final night with his wife and children in the hut that is his home. As war approaches, the Shaposhnikov family gathers for a meal: despite her age, Alexandra will soon become a refugee; Tolya will enlist in the reserves; Vera, a nurse, will fall in love with a wounded pilot; and Viktor Shtrum will receive a letter from his doomed mother which will haunt him forever.

For months, Soviet forces are driven back inexorably by the German advance eastward and eventually Stalingrad is all that remains between the invaders and victory. The city stands on a cliff top by the Volga River. The battle for Stalingrad – a maelstrom of violence and firepower – will reduce it to ruins. But it will also be the cradle of a new sense of hope.

Reading Progress
56% Complete
▼ 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.

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 explained 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 the powers of each branch of government, as well as 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 2021 Booker Prize winner is The Promise by Damon Galgut. The 2021 shortlist also included:

This year I read four of the six shortlisted books - The Promise, The Fortune Men, Bewilderment and Great Circle - and managed to predict the winner.

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

. . . absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans.

John Jay, Federalist Papers No.4

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. Click on the Google Earth Symbol to view where each photgraph was taken.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The Royal Botanic Gardens are the site of the first European farming attempts in Australia

Berkelouw Book Barn, Berrima

Set in the rural landscape, the Berkelouw Book Barn has been trading since 1812

Hawkesbury Lookout

Views across the Sydney Basin, with views of the Penrith Lakes Project in the foreground

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

Parramatta Park Rose Garden

Parramatta Park is the site of Australia's first Government House and successful European agriculture

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.

Book Nook, Innsbruck, Austria

An outdoor book exchange in a suburban neighbourhood in Austria.

Mt Pilatus, Switzerland

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

Other recommended websites on Neocities!

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