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 Slow Ruin

22 January 2022

The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne

21 January 2022

Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

16 January 2022

The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr

15 January 2022

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards

8 January 2021

The Problem with Murder by Michael Duffy

6 January 2021

Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler

1 January 2022

The Blow-and-Grow Year by Margaret Potter

30 December 2021

Killing Time by Jimmy Barnes

30 December 2021

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

28 December 2021

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

22 December 2021

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

19 December 2021

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

13 December 2021

Dead Simple by Peter James

30 November 2021

The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

26 November 2021

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy

23 November 2021

▼ Featured Author - Michael Duffy - Interview

Michael Duffy is a former journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald and the author of The Problem with Murder, set in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney where we live. It is available only from the Blue Mountains bookstores featured in the book (and online).

Michael Duffy contacted the Reading Project after we showed an interest in his book. Since then we have reviewed it and made a short video, featured on YouTube. Michael agreed to answer some questions for this website.

The Problem with Murder is available over the counter only in the Blue Mountains, but you can order it online:

▼ Books Currently Being Read
Power Without Glory by Frank Hardy

Power Without Glory
Frank Hardy

Reviewer: bikerbuddy

“The book that tore Australia apart . . .”

This is a tale of corruption stretching from street corner SP bookmaking to the most influential men in the land - and the terrible personal cost of the power such corruption brings. John West rose from a Melbourne slum to dominate Australian politics with bribery, brutality and fear. His attractive wife and their children turned away from him in horror. Friends dropped away. At the peak of his power, surrounded by bootlickers, West faced a hate-filled nation - and the terrible loneliness of his life.

Was John West a real figure? For months during the post-war years, an Australian court heard evidence in a sensational libel action brought by businessman John Wren's wife. After a national uproar which rocked the very foundations of the Commonwealth, Frank Hardy was acquitted. This is the novel which provoked such intense uproar and debate across the nation.

Reading Progress
37% Complete
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.

Reading Progress
Finished Reading. Review Pending after Second 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.

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

There is no liberty, then, without laws, or where any man is above the laws.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letters from the Mountain, Letter 8, vol 3, pp.841-2

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.

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.

Corridor of Oaks, Faulconbridge

Otherwise known as Jackson Park, this is where all Australian Prime Ministers have planted a memorial oak since Federation in 1901

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.

Other recommended websites on Neocities!

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