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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Ear Rat Magazine Volume 5
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▼ Recent Reviews
American Notes by Charles Dickens

15 August 2022

Cobalt Blue by Matthew Reilly

13 August 2022

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

11 August 2022

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

3 August 2022

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

28 July 2022

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree

19 July 2022

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

6 July 2022

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

2 July 2022

Master Humphrey's Clock by Charles Dickens

16 June 2022

Murder at Monk's Barn by Cecil Waye

13 June 2022

Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes

10 June 2022

Here Goes Nothing by Steve Toltz

5 June 2022

Moominvalley in November

28 May 2022

The Match by Harlan Coben

26 May 2022

Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman

25 May 2022

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

22 May 2022

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

12 May 2022

▼ Books Currently Being Read
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

Pynchon's classic novel...

Tyrone Slothrop, a GI in London in 1944, has a big problem. Whenever he gets an erection, a Blitz bomb hits. Slothrop gets excited, and then 'a screaming comes across the sky,' heralding an angel of death, a V-2 rocket.

Soon Tyrone is on the run from legions of bizarre enemies through the phantasmagoric horrors of Germany. Gravity's Rainbow, however, doesn't follow such a standard plot; one must have faith that each manic episode is connected with the great plot to blow up the world with the ultimate rocket. There is not one story, but a proliferation of characters and events that tantalize the reader with suggestions of vast patterns only just beyond our comprehension.

Reading Progress
5% complete

Nat Reeve

Reviewer: Toriaz

A book about finding your place in the world...

"To be blunt: I must escape." 1893. Henry Nettleblack has to act fast or she'll be married off by her elder sister. But leaving the safety of her wealthy life isn't as simple as she thought. Ambushed, robbed, and then saved by a mysterious organisation - part detective agency, part neighbourhood watch - a desperate Henry disguises herself and enlists. Sent out to investigate a string of crimes, she soon realises that she is living in a small rural town with surprisingly big problems. When the net starts to close around Henry, and sinister forces threaten to expose her as the missing Nettleblack sister, the new people in her life seem to offer her a way out, and a way forward. Is the world she's lost in also a place she can find herself? Told through journal entries and letters, Nettleblack is a subversive and playful ride through the perils and joys of finding your place in the world, challenging myths about queerness - particularly transness - as a modern phenomenon, while exploring the practicalities of articulating queer perspectives when you're struggling for words.

Reading Progress
33% 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
Finished Reading - Review Pending
▼ Special Reading Projects

Last year the Booker Prize winner was The Promise by Damon Galgut.

The 2022 Longlist for the Booker Prize has been announced:

  • Glory, NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwean)
  • Trust, Hernan Diaz (American)
  • The Trees, Percival Everett (American)
  • Booth, Karen Joy Fowler (American)
  • Treacle Walker, Alan Garner (British)
  • The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lankan)
  • Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan (Irish)
  • Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet (British)
  • The Colony, Audrey Magee (Irish)
  • Maps of our Spectacular Bodies, Maddie Mortimer (British)
  • Nightcrawling, Leila Mottley (American)
  • After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz (American)
  • Oh William!, Elizabeth Strout (American)

The Booker Shortlist for 2022 will be announced 6 September. The Booker Prize winner for 2022 will be announced 17 October

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 International Booker Prize winner for 2022 is Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree. It is the first book originally written in any Indian language to win the International Booker Prize, and the first novel translated from Hindi to be recognised by the award.

Set in northern India, the novel follows the adventures of an 80-year-old woman who unexpectedly gains a new, and highly unconventional, lease of life. The result is a book that is engaging, funny and utterly original, at the same time as being an urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries - whether between religions, countries or genders.


The 2022 Shortlist also included:

  • Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd from Japanese
  • Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro, translated by Frances Riddle from Spanish
  • A New Name by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls from Norwegian
  • The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish
  • Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur from Korean
▼ Special Reading Projects Complete
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
Our second long-term Special Reading Project, now complete!

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 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.

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

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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