The Reading List (2021) by Sara Nisha Adam. Of course, I had to read this book based entirely on the title! I jumped right into it and was caught up right away.
You will meet two completely different characters, Mukesh and Aleisha, both of whom you would expect to have absolutely nothing in common. And they do not…except for loneliness.
Mukesh is the first you will get to know. 80 years old and grieving the loss of his wife, Naina. He does not know how to fill his time since she is gone and does not hear much from his family. Naina was the center of his life and filled him with Happiness. She was also an avid reader. He was not.
With his new life Mukesh is trying to find a way to connect with his family, especially his granddaughter Priya who loves to read just as much as his wife did. On a whim He decides to go to the library and find a way to get closer to her.
Just getting to the library turned out to be a task for Mukesh. And it all became a little more confusing when he arrived at the library. It is there he meets teenager Aleisha. It becomes quite apparent that Aleisha is not thrilled that her summer job is working at a library. She wanted a job with more energy, friends, sounds. The library is just not her idea of a fun summer job before she heads off to school.
Mukesh and Aleisha’s first meeting was less than perfect. She was not in the mood to help a confused old man find a book. She just pulls one from the shelf and signs him out. Mukesh is confused by the whole ordeal, walks out with the book thinking he has stolen it.
Aleisha does realize her attitude towards the job and especially Mukesh was just about unforgiveable. Part of what changes her mind is a list of books someone has left on a table. She decides, if and when, Mukesh returns to the library, she will use a title from the list and suggest Mukesh read it.
Still not sure what to do with his next visit to return the “stolen” book, Mukesh discovers Aleisha greets him in a more friendly manner. He officially signs up for his own library card and signs out the book Aleisha suggests.
The list becomes a way for Aleisha to connect with Mukesh. At the same time those particular books gave Aliesha a way to step back from issues she has to deal with in her home. She discovered reading about the characters between the pages of the books written on the list lent her comfort and ways of dealing with her loneliness plus ways of helping others.
The Reading List starts slowly and builds with energy. I felt it was just perfect style for this this book. Kudos to a first-time author Sara Nisha Adams. And those books on that list…are also in Tanglewoods’ library.
The books on that list found in the Tanglewood’s library that are mentioned in The Reading List:
To Kill a Mockingbird – A story of bravery and injustice
Rebecca – 1938 Gothic novel as a woman tries to find her identity…told in flashbacks.
The Kite Runner – Unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of a servant.
Life of Pi – A miracle tale of courage and survival.
Pride and Prejudice – First impressions are not always the best.
Little Women – Family comes first as four sisters grow from childhood to adults.
A Suitable Boy – Set in India with memorable characters and different cultures.
For our Tanglewood readers, all of these books are available in our library. If The Reading List is unavailable, select one of these titles to read. Each classic title is connected to the story line in The Reading List. You now have eight books to read or, reread in the case of the classics, during the month of January. Enjoy!