I had the idea to start this website because I wanted to learn a bit about website design. I suggested reviews because I've been an avid reader all my life and I knew that reviewing would give us an endless source of new material to post.

I studied English literature and Communications many years ago, now. I worked as an English teacher for 25 years.

I prefer 'literature' rather than genre fiction, and I enjoy reading non-fiction, too. However, I try to read a variety of books. My reviews tend to be favourable since I choose which books I wish to read and review, unlike a professional reviewer.

My site tag is taken from my love of mountain biking. The Blue Mountains west of Sydney is a great place to do this. Unfortunately, as I get older, I've become unfit. I tend to work on this site and read books more these days.

I hope to improve the functionality of this site over time as my skills improve ... very, very slowly ...

▼ Reviews


On Reading...

I’m going to take it as an axiom that the act of reading plays a vital role in the forming and conditioning of sensibility in the life of the committed reader. What interests me is to try to puzzle out the nature of that role. But before I do, I feel that I should pause over the word sensibility. It is, I realize, a humanist term that is slipping from usage; in our age of hard-edged critical terminology it suggests a fin-de-siècle precocity. What is sensibility, besides being the counterpart to sense? It is neither self nor ego; neither identity or personality. While these are designations for something one either has or is, sensibility is more of a construct. The old sense of the word is of a refinement or cultivation of presence; it refers to the part of the inner life that is not given but fashioned: a defining, if cloudy, complex of attitudes, predilections and honed responses. And for this very reason I want to have the term available. For while it can be many things, serious reading is above all an agency of self-making. When undertaken freely, the effort of engaging a book shows a desire to actualize and augment certain inner powers. The reader assumes the possibility of deepened self-understanding, and therefore recognizes the self as malleable. Reading is the intimate, perhaps secret, part of a larger project, one that finally has little to do with the more societally oriented conceptions of the individual.

Sven Birkets, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in the Electronic Age, Faber and Faber, (1994), page 87

To Be Read Lists

My See-Out-2020 Reading List

I have a few newish books that I want to read before the end of the year. So that I stick to the plan, I decided to create a list in the order I am to read them, just so I don't keep passing over any book. Here's the list:

My Far-From-Complete General Reading List

Over the years I have found it difficult to resist new books. In the past couple of years, I have bought far fewer books as I began to realise I would never have the chance to read all that I own, otherwise. Nevertheless, there is always the occasional new release that will attract my attention. I have two bookshelves at the front of our house that house volumes hopeful of my attention. This is a selection of books I hope to get reviewed in the coming months or years for the Reading Project: