Cover Image: The Reading List

The Reading List

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Member Reviews

I loved this book. It made me emotional at times. Books about books are a joy!
A chance encounter with a list of library books  starts an unlikely friendship between two very different people.
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I usually try to start my reviews by offering a small synopsis of the book (no spoilers, of course); however, that’s not possible with this book as everything is covered in the above blurb. Yes, a few other things happen, but that would be entering in to the no-go area of book reviews, and I simply refuse to do it.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but I ended up feeling a little let down. It was an OK read, with OK writing, but honestly, it was nothing special. It was a lukewarm cup of tea.

In essence, we have two main characters, who are brought together by a reading list and their local library. Mukesh is an interesting, charming and quite complex character, whilst Aleisha I found to be rather unfinished, despite her storyline. I just couldn’t really warm to her, and never felt like I got to know her properly. Other characters are equally unrounded, and largely annoying.

I really liked the idea of a reading list (and it’s a good list, to be fair, one I will no doubt pick up myself, though I had read at least half of them already) but it didn’t go far enough. At times I felt the author was using it more as an opportunity to highlight her own reading, her own thoughts and opinions, and she relied far too heavily on other author’s words and imaginations to push her own story along. It felt like a cheat in some ways, and it really didn’t sit well with me.

As such, this wasn’t as unique as it should have been and just ended up being middle of the road. Ultimately, I wasn’t impressed.

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, as, for me, this was a very forgettable book, though I can see I’m in the minority on this one.
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Such a really good debut book I cant wait for more from this author. I felt really attached to the characters and was really gripped throughout.
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As much about family and friendship as it is about books, The Reading List shows how the shared experience of reading and talking about books can bring even the most disparate people together and create unique bonds of understanding.

Reluctant reader Aleisha is only working at the library as a stopgap, to escape her family situation, but when she snaps at a vulnerable elderly man and regrets it, she finds herself recommending a book she hasn’t read from an anonymous reading list, as an olive branch. And having recommended the book, she feels compelled to read it. As he feels obligated to read it by her recommendation. And so begins a chain of small and seemingly insignificant meetings and book recommendations, that spark off a series of events and relationships that change both their lives (and those of others around them) in very significant ways.

I don’t feel that you need to have read all of the books on the eponymous reading list to experience the emotional impact of the story, but I confess that I have read them all and it did give an added dimension to the book, as I could relate the plots and characters of those real-life novels with the situations and characters presented within these pages. So, just for information, here are the reading list books in question: The Time-Traveller’s Wife; To Kill a Mockingbird; Rebecca; Life of Pi; The Kite Runner; Pride and Prejudice; Little Women; A Suitable Boy; Beloved. There is no necessity to have enjoyed all of the books on the list – they are all very different, and even Aleisha and Mukesh struggle with some of them along the way – but from a personal point of view, I concur with the list’s author in recommending every single one of them!

Obviously, this book has all of the right ingredients for a heart-warming, touching bookworm-y tale. The story encompasses sensitive issues around loss and grief, familial relationships and connecting to others outside of your comfort zone, but the main message I took away from it (and one I live my own life by) is the healing power of a good book.


Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for this free ecopy of The Reading List in exchange for an honest review. I loved the idea of this story, it was a celebration of books and libraries. At times I found the pace a bit slow. I didn't enjoy the hallucination/visions of the characters and I wasn't a fan of the plot twist with Aidan.
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This book was such a beautiful love letter to reading itself in my opinion. Having been tempted by the title and cover I was not disappointed by the gorgeous narrative which awaited me within.
Ms Nisha Adams introduces us to a whole cast of characters who are brought together by books and in particular the reading list of the title. The two main characters though, Mukesh and Aleisha, have stuck in my heart and I am still thinking about them after closing the book on the final page. If you want to feel hopeful about the spirit of community and the uniting power of books, this is definitely one for you.
I would hate to spoil it for anyone by going into too much detail here but I think it's fair to say that this novel left me brimming with emotion and it was dust in my eyes I swear, I wasn't crying. Well alright, maybe just a little...
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I really really enjoyed this. I loved how the stories intertwined. One slight critique was Maybe there was one too many and would have liked more of a focus on auden. Would recommend though.
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A bibliophile's paradise - warm, life-affirming and chock full of references.

Oh I do like a book about books, readers, libraries and reading. Gets me right between my covers.

I know that I'm the EXACT reader to enjoy this, which is why I fancied a warm and comfortable book about the things I love best. And I knew as I started the rough way the book would go, with seemingly distant characters at some point blending into one story, with books bringing them together.

Yes, but it was just so LOVELY. And there's a good mixture of characters, an ethnic smorgasbord of young and old, Asian and black, there are mental health problems here, parents and those mourning loved ones. It's a book about a whole community, and how a shared love can bring lonely people together.

A list of books passes into various hands. Who wrote it - nobody knows. Why these books are there - equally a mystery. But for a young library worker, herself disdainful of books, a grieving and withdrawn Asian man, and the others who find this list, it's the start of a tale that brings them together as potential readers and friends.

There are moments of true sorrow here, genuine grief and pain, and a story about forcing yourself out from isolation and seeing answers and help in both other people and in great literature.

I loved the List itself, all of which I have either read and loved or am familiar with, so seeing the comfort and joy the characters experience while discovering these books was a pleasure in itself to me. Very well constructed and thought-out.

It's a title I could easily have (if time!) finished then instantly started again. Any voracious reader who tries this will know what I mean.

Joyous, uplifting and reminds us what it feels like to find a book we connect with.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing a sample reading copy.
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My favourite read of 2021. A beautiful book about the joys of reading and connecting with people.
The characters were so well developed and I had tears reading this multiple times. 
I will be buying this as a present for friends and family this year !
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What a charming novel. That is undeniably the best way to describe it. Charming from the first page to its last.

The Reading List is a Love Actually-esque books with disparate characters who are all somehow connected. It is this connection - often unknown by the characters - that binds the story like the glue that binds a book together. 

For me the most heartwarming of connections was between Aleisha and Mukesh, two people who couldn't be further from each others lives if they tried. However, the bond that they create over a newly discovered passion for books is wonderful and to be able to witness unfold is such a privilege. 

The Reading List really exemplifies the restorative power of literature and the world wide need to cherish libraries and the treasure the things inside - not just the stories on the page but the stories of the people who use them.

A truly wonderful novel by Sara Nisha Adams.

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Nisha Adams (@saranishaadams) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.
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I enjoyed getting lost in this book. It reminded me over and over again of why I enjoy reading, fiction and libraries. This book highlights that and so much more of what reading can give us. I wanted to sit next to characters and read with them and then talk about their lives and books.. This is is a warm hug mixed in with the joys and sadnesses of the lives we live.
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Books, what a life saver.
In this uplifting novel, Mukesh a widower finds meaning and fulfilment at the local library by reading books written down on a list that he finds. Aleisha is the Librarian who inspires him although initially she was quite rude and unhelpful towards him.
I have read most of the books on the list, and found them all to be positive and uplifting although sometimes disturbing. My personal favourite is How to kill a Mockingbird, which I only read about two years ago, how had I missed it for so long?
The story follows Mukesh in his daily life trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife, the interference of his daughters and others. He grows with each book that he reads and shares, until he is able to help others and find fulfilment in his own life.,
Aleisha and her brother Aidan both look after their Mother who is going through a nervous breakdown with only the support of her children, this leads to a tragedy for the family.
The mystery of who wrote the list is finally solved.
Unuplifting novel which just proves how important and influential books are in our life.
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Books are more than just stories. The ones that capture us, they change us in some way and this book is about that and how books can united people across cultures, religion, age etc. In some ways it is a love letter to books.

Books, friendships, libraries. This book is a delight.

If you love books then I think you will love this because basically it is about how books are experiences that bind us to other people when they are shared experiences. It is a love letter to books and libraries. It should come with some content warning especially for suicide because that part of the story really does suddenly happen and there is no indications and I did find it quite a change of direction in the midst of the story but it does change everything and lead to a satisfying ending.

CW for this book: Mental Health, Suicide, Cancer, Grief
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I enjoyed this book about books (and other things). It has inspired me to pick up books I haven't already read to see what these books will do for me -  if I will love them as much as others have.  I loved the feeling of community in this book and it is a gentle reminder that our libraries are really important too. If a book can inspire me and make me think about what is important - it's a win in my book. If I had to be picky, there were a couple of chapters about random people that could have been cut and would not impact the story, but for me, the story far outweighed this slight flaw. 

My thanks go to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this comforting book.
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Oh this book - what a glorious, emotional, powerful and uplifting read. This book is all about the wondrous beauty of books, and their ability to heal and help in our hour of need. But it is about so much more than that; it is about love, relationships, friendship and connection, that can be forged regardless of our cultural, racial, age and gender differences, and the secret special importance of libraries, bookshops and kindness.
I absolutely loved it.
With grateful thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK and Sara Nisha Adams for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A book about books - great for a book lover.

Aleisha works in the local library for the summer. It's a job she is enduring until she goes to Uni, she doesn't read non fiction. She's not very customer friendly either, until one day she finds a reading list. She begins to read the books on the list and she gains the ability to be able to recommend books, to one person in particular, Mukesh.

Mukesh misses his wife so much since she passed away. She was an avid book reader, something Mukesh never really understood. But when he finds an old library book his wife never returned he begins to read it. A whole new world is opened up to him in more ways than one.

Both Aleisha and Mukesh begin to see the power of books and help not only one another but those around them find ways to cope with life.

I wanted to love this book but it seemed to go so slow. The story wasn't really progressing, although I was enjoying the parts about the recommended books. Some of which although I knew of but I had never read, but that might change now. 

About two thirds into the book it began to change at a pace. Events which meant that things changed for the characters and the books they read beginning to make more sense. I was on a 3 star rating when unexpectedly the book made me cry and I saw the whole story for what it was. 

I am going to give the book 4 out of 5 stars because it did drag a little at first. A lovely gentle and insightful read.
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A reading list is mysteriously circulating in Wembley. It hides in the back of library books, on noticeboards, in shopping bags. And it reaches out to those who need it, providing solace and inspiration in the fiction that is just what they need. The list is found by Mukesh, a sad widower and Aleisha, a lonely teenager, and through the list they discover not only the joy of libraries, and of reading, but they also find each other.

I found this an uplifting, lovely read. I particularly enjoyed the way the author used her knowledge of language and culture to bring the Hindu family to life. Mukesh was a very vivid character, depicted with real affection. 

I think the novel does read like the work of a new writer. There are some aspects that don't work as well as they should. Some of the the list finders, for example, are so briefly and barely developed that if they reappear later on, you can't actually remember anything about them. I think these needed to be slightly longer vignettes, or more carefully developed characters. I also thought that Aidan could have been more central to the narrative, so that we could have more engagement with his emotional journey. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the novel. It has a wonderful sincerity and honesty that I found really engaging and I look forward to reading more from this talented young writer.
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A book about books. I was drawn to this for that reason and this is a book that will appeal to bookworms. 
It’s a love letter to the power and beauty of both libraries and books. An easy gentle read with well drawn ,  mostly likeable characters. However , I did find it a little slow and maybe a little too long and I found myself distracted by other books when reading so i found myself dipping in and out of this one.

Well written though and I’d read another from this author.
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I loved this book!! Rich, lovable, vivid characters. Heartbreaking, yet uplifting beautiful story. But most of all a delightful indulgence into books, the love of reading and the power of story. Such a feel-good read! Perfect for snuggling up and getting cosy with this Autumn.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is perfect for anyone who loves to read. It's such a sweet reminder of the lifeline books and community can be. I was so moved, thank you so much for this ARC!
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