About the Reading Project

We started the Reading Project at the beginning of 2017. bikerbuddy was interested to learn website design and has had a lifelong passion for books, so he encouraged it. We told friends we would be starting a website and invited anyone interested to contribute. Naturally, a stack of people opted in, knowing that none of us knew anything about websites, I suspect, and assuming that we would lose interest in a short time. When we didn't lose interest and started to get a few pages together, we found there was actually only three of us willing to review regularly.

We had read about reading challenges on social media that tried to encourage reading a wide variety of books in a year. We wanted this site to be more encouraging than competitive, so we called it a project, rather than a challenge. While most of our friends haven't written for the site, we still encourage them to look at it and engage in discussions about books, which was the site's original intention.

We all live in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, in a town called Springwood. The pictures scrolling below try to give a sense of where we live. We'll add some more as time goes on.

We will happily accept reviews from anyone interested enough to write one. For more information on how to submit reviews to us, click here.

The Turning Page Bookstore, Springwood

A Street Library, Springwood

Dr Baxter Gates, Springwood War Memorial

Springwood Presbyterian Church and main street of Springwood shops

Springwood Train Station

Braemar Gallery, home to Springwood art exhibitions and library, and The Hub, used for live entertainment

Main Reviewers

bikerbuddy

bikerbuddy

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 once received an email addressed to the "staff of the Reading Project". That amused me, since there is really only three of us and we make no money from this site. It's just a hobby.

REAL NAME: Mark

Toriaz

Toriaz

I enjoy reading and thought that reviewing for this website would encourage me to read more often. Bikerbuddy and I came up with the idea while we discussed reading challenges we were seeing on social media.

I studied physics and have taught physics at university. I have worked as a scientist, but in my later career I now work for the government.

I like a range of fiction and non-fiction books, and I think this shows in the books I have reviewed for this site so far.

However, my favourite genre is Crime Fiction. I have read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories and Agatha Christie novels. I prefer the cosy detective branch of Crime Fiction most.

My site tag is based upon my real name.

REAL NAME: Victoria

WaywardWoman

WaywardWoman

I am a retired teacher who taught Social Sciences in high school, with a focus on Geography and Asian Studies, initially, but Legal Studies and Business Studies later on. I still work a day a week in a Blue Mountains school.

Now, I like spending my time with family, friends and Lucy, our wonder dog, watching movies and TV series, traveling as much as possible and getting out geocaching (a worldwide treasure hunt using a GPS to find things).

When I get time (though I’m mostly retired, there often isn’t a lot of it) I like to read books that are funny, especially those aimed at women. I also like crime thrillers and more recently, biographies. I also keep my brain active with my daily dose of word games.

My site tag is abased on a joke name I was given years ago. It is based on my love of chocolate rather than anything nefarious.

REAL NAME: Jenny

Occasional Reviewers

Hasty

Hasty

I am an entity who enjoys reading and writing words, occasionally pictures. I used to pay a big organization to read and write words for four years. Later, I was paid to write words by a smaller organization. Now I have a strictly sexual relationship with words and the writing of them, no organizations allowed.

I was originally born as a Ford 3910 Tractor but thanks to hard work, the socioeconomic status of my family, and the gift of a multi-directional energy stone from a mysterious stranger who simply addressed himself as "M. Jordan," I was able to transmogrify into a mostly human looking male, though my features are distinctly more abstract and "alarming" than the current pinnacle of human male desirability, one Mr. John Stamos.

I'm hoping that reviewing books for this webterzone will be my ticket to strike it rich. I've packed up all my belongings into my wagon and set my compass westward, with nothing else but the dream of gold in my eyes and a song in my heart. Surely a book review at no more than one per month is a fool-proof way to become rich and famous, right?


Hasty is the designer and author of Strange Crust another website hosted here on Neocities. It includes essays and opinions, podcasts and fiction.


REAL NAME: Mike

NickoHeap

NickoHeap

I'm 21 years old and like reading, although music and video games take up most of my free time.

I'm a student at the University of Sydney. I am studying speech therapy.

I plan to write more, but other interests usually take up my time.

My site tag is based upon a character in a book I liked when I was a kid.

NickoHeap is the designer and author of Latest Spin, a music review website.

REAL NAME: Layton

One-time Reviewers

Gigzymandias

Gigzymandias

I'm 23 years old with a degree in Graphic Arts. I spend most of my free time on the Net playing video games.

I've taken my reviewer name from the username I use on gaming sites.

‘Gigzymandias’ is a combination of computer terminology (eg ‘gigabytes’) and ‘Ozymandias’, the title of the poem by Percy Shelley, which was a large inspiration for my final year art major work in high school.

REAL NAME: Lachlan

Raven

Raven

I live in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and attend high school.

My passion is dancing. I have been attending a dance school since I was little, learning both contemporary and classical dance, including ballet. I have only recently gone en pointe.

I have only written one short review for this website. I might write more sometime in the future.

REAL NAME: Niamh (pronounced Neev (an Irish name))

Seppy

Seppy

No one has seen the mysterious Seppy since he posted his one review and then went into hiding from the government.

REAL NAME: Seppy

Blog

14 May 2021

Me, last night outside the former site of Dymocks, Penrith

- bikerbuddy

9 May 2021

Seven Little Australians

Whenever I’ve finished a book and am looking for another to read I normally faff about, reading this opening, reading that, and trying to decide what I’m in the mood for. I have a large backlog of books to be read, so it’s easy to spend time doing this.

Today, instead of doing this, I decided that the universe had made the decision for me. Back in January I wrote a blog post about a 19th century Australian author, Ethel Turner, who lived in Leura for a time. We visited a street library outside her old house in Leura. But she didn’t write her most famous book, Seven Little Australians, there. She wrote that in her home at Killara, and this morning as I was perusing the newspaper I found an article about Turner and her Killara home. If you want, you can check out the article here.

So, that’s how I decided which book to read next. The universe told me. Next time I might invest in a Ouija board!

- bikerbuddy

7 May 2021

If you read our blog last month you will know that a local bookstore, Dymocks in Penrith, was in danger of closing since its owners are retiring. They held hope that a buyer could come to an agreement with the shopping centre’s landlord. Unfortunately for us, the hero did not rescue the damsel, the captain did not turn the ship in time, and the iceberg did not melt. Dymocks will be closing this Sunday.

- bikerbuddy

3 May 2021

I recently wrote in this blog that I had bought a cart from IKEA which I called Mr Anderson (after a favourite book vlogger with a nod to the Matrix films). The idea of Mr Anderson was that I would keep all the books I hoped to soon read in him and try to cycle through the books so that I didn’t leave some unread for years. Unfortunately, I’m not very disciplined when it comes to selecting books to read, and since I’ve had Mr Anderson I haven’t selected one book from him (sorry if anthropomorphising my book cart is weird).

What’s worse, I went to Sydney yesterday and bought four more books. I had intended to buy Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019 and isn’t available anywhere close to where I live. At the time I was relieved it didn’t win. What I had heard about the book was that it was a thousand pages of one sentence (not entirely accurate, but only pedantically so). But I heard several good things about the book and my curiosity was piqued, and eventually I felt compelled to get it so I could – at some stage – read it. A second purchase was Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde, a novel based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. I’ve read three of her books (all reviewed on this website) and the general opinion seems to be that Blonde is one of her best books, of the many, many books she has written. I also purchased a nice hardcover edition of David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black, currently shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, which is announced next month. Eric Karl Anderson (the vlogger from YouTube, who has a very calming voice) recommends it as one of the best books he’s read this year. Hopefully it will win and I will already have read it for our Booker Project. Finally, I bought a copy of Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers. I read a lot of Dickens when I was quite young, but I never read this, Dickens’s first novel. So, that’s my book haul for the moment. Not sure when I will get to these books, but I’m always hopeful.

And talking about prizes, the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist has also been also announced:

  • The Vanishing Half Brit Bennett
  • Piranesi Susanna Clarke
  • Unsettled Ground Clare Fuller
  • Transcendent Kingdom Yaa Gyasi
  • How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House Cherie Jones
  • No One is Talking About This Patricia Lockwood

I have purchased two books on this list – The Vanishing Half and Piranesi – currently sitting with Mr Anderson, waiting to be read. As for the International Booker, the shortlist is currently on our front page.

- bikerbuddy

Archive