▼ Recent Reviews
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

18 August 2019

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

6 August 2019

Apollo by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Fox

9 August 2019

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

8 August 2019

Every Tool's a Hammer by Adam Savage

30 July 2019

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore

25 July 2019

The Late Scholar by Jill Paton Walsh

16 July 2019

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

8 July 2019

The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey

24 June 2019

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle

3 July 2019

The Overstory by Richard Powers

23 June 2019

The Travelling Cat Chronicles

17 June 2019

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

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▼ Books Currently Being Read

Saville by David Storey

David Storey

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

Winner of the Booker Prize, 1976...

In spite of his brilliance, Colin Saville doesn't fit in easily at the grammar school in town. 1940s middle-class society is so different from the mining village of his childhood. He makes tentative friendships and meets girls over long, empty summers but feels like an outsider with them and, increasingly, at home.

Following the pattern of David Storey's own early years, Saville is a portrait of the tensions between parents and children, the difficulties of making one's own way in life, and the social divisions that persist still.

STATUS: Reading

Foucault's Pendulum

Foucault's Pendulum
Umberto Eco

Reviewer: NickoHeap

A literary thriller...

Three book editors, jaded by reading far too many crackpot manuscripts on the mystic and the occult, are inspired by an extraordinary conspiracy story told to them by a strange colonel to have some fun. They start feeding random bits of information into a powerful computer capable of inventing connections between the entries, thinking they are creating nothing more than an amusing game, but then their game starts to take over, the deaths start mounting, and they are forced into a frantic search for the truth.

STATUS: Reading

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Thief of Time
Terry Pratchett

Reviewer: Toriaz

The 26th book in the Discworld series...

Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. And on the Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it's wasted (like the underwater - how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there's never enough time. But the construction of the world's first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone's problems. THIEF OF TIME comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes, villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronnie, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous).

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 longlist for the Booker Prize for 2019 is:

  • Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments
  • Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier
  • Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer
  • Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport
  • Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other
  • John Lanchester (UK), The Wall
  • Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything
  • Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities
  • Max Porter (UK), Lanny
  • Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte
  • Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
  • Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein

The winner for 2018 was Anna Burns' for her novel Milkman which I predicted in our blog on 11 October last year. 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 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.

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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