Cover Image: The Reading List

The Reading List

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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!
Was this review helpful?
An absolute gem of a book! I loved everything about this story. Authentic and believable characters weaving their own story into the library's tapestry. Loved the references to all of the books and how they have impacted each character in some way.
Was this review helpful?
Around 1/3 of the way into this book it nearly ended up in the DNF pile. I cannot tell you how happy I am that it didn’t. It’s most definitely a slow burner, but my oh my, once it gets going it’s on FIRE! If you are a lover of books, reading, libraries, the written word and community, then this book is for you.

This book is more than a story of a found reading list. It’s about family – both the one your born into and the one you chose to surround yourself with. There is a lot of grief in this book and detailed descriptions of the characters dealing with their emotions. By no means is it a sad book though. Yes, there are sad moment and I was in floods of tears at the end, but tears of joy and hopefulness and the sheer realisation of just how life-changing a good story can be.

“There was something magical in that – in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.”

The Reading List is a great reminder of why we read books — how we can find comfort in stories, gratitude for our own families after reading about others, education when we learn about new perspectives — and why we love to read. Adams does a great job of incorporating in the chapters and the lives of the characters.

Several characters get involved with the list and reading the book; in turn realising their true value. I loved watching the connections between the characters develop. The story portrays sadness, mental illness, death, loneliness and despair, but it is also uplifting, engaging, insightful and heartfelt.

It’s a book about books, about the connections we find through reading, and about the way a book can change the way we view the world and ourselves. Beautiful and heartfelt, this novel is an ode to book lovers everywhere.
Was this review helpful?
I adore books about books and The Reading List absolutely captured my heart. And broke it. And put it back together again.

It reminded me why I love books so much. They make us feel less alone. They teach us. They connect us.

The story brings together a cast of people, all lost in their own way. The hub is their local library - a place where peace can be found, but also where friends are waiting.

Mukesh is grieving for his wife Naina.
Aleisha and Aidan have put their lives on hold to care for their mentally unwell Mum, Leilah.

A summer job at the library leads to Aleisha finding a reading list, and this list ignites a passion for books, which then connects her with Mukesh when she starts recommending titles for him.

Little does she know that she is not the only one to find the list.

But who has written it?

There is tragedy in this book, and it raises important issues about community, loneliness, depression, and shame. But it also contains hope. And magic. Books are everything.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this story. Complex and relatable characters, fascinating plot, just lovely. Made me want to make my own way through the reading list in the story all over again as well.
Was this review helpful?
Aleisha has a summer job at the local library, she's not a reader but it's takes her mind of the deteriorating mental health of her mother.  Mukesh is a widower missing his wife terribly.  When he goes to the library to return her book he mets Aleisha and finds the 'reading list'.  Now both form an unlikely friendship whilst follows this list of books that pull the community together.
This is a very contrived plot which funnily enough distorts my review.  That is because there is some excellent writing here about mental illness and grief which are probably not developed as far as they could be.  Of course a love of books is the core thing and I can't really argue with the 'list'!
Was this review helpful?
I find it hard to believe this is a debut novel. It is very accomplished and masters the floating timelines and diverse voices beautifully. I liked the fact that each character had a totally clear voice and it felt at times like having a chat about books round a kitchen table. Ms Adams has written a book that is funny, sad, heartbreaking, life affirming and yet tackles some really difficult subjects. The topics are faced front on and the characters grow through the narrative.

Mukesh is mourning his dead wife while trying to negotiate a way through his three well meaning daughters who all know what’s best for him. He finds a list of books inside a library book and decides this will be the way he can remain close to his wife who read voraciously. This kicks off a relationship with some of the folk who use and work at his local library, which is under threat of closure. Doesn’t sound like much but it will catch you and sweep you in and you will be reading into the night. Some memorable people live around Wembley and it was a joy to meet them, and the reading list in the back is an added bonus. 

Recommended if you love books, if you love good writing and if you can appreciate pain amidst a live well lived. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
I saw lots of really positive reviews for this book before deciding to read it. 
This is the story of a reading list, comprising several books including The Time Traveller’s Wife, Pride and Prejudice, The Kite Runner ..which is found by different readers visiting a London library. Each reader has their own story, each reader is in need of rescue. Aleisha and her brother Aidan are carers for their mother who is suffering from what I presumed to be depression. She sometimes does not leave her bedroom let alone her home.  Mukesh  has lost his wife to cancer. His children leave him constant messages every morning to keep him going..He finds an old library book that his wife left and visits the library in search of a connection with her memory. 
The idea of reading about characters reading books was really interesting. It mostly worked well  and worked in many ways: as a plot device;  as a way of introducing and exploring character ; as a beautiful medium of connecting people’s experiences, and a mechanism for connecting characters together in the narrative. The book is a celebration of literature, of reading, of libraries and human connection through the medium of shared literature. The author does very well to immesh the plots of all the different books from the list into her own plot and the lives of her readers. This worked really well most of the time. However,  I did find that sometimes the parts which discussed characters reading the books from the list rather overwhelmed the plot of the main story. At these points my enthusiasm wavered  and I became a little irritated by the book. I might possibly have awarded this 3 * were it not for the parts where the plot resurfaced and we followed the personal stories of Aleisha and Mukesh. The book touches on some serious subject matters - mental health; bereavement; suicide; cancer. Aleisha and Aidan’s story was particularly poignant and provoked a myriad of emotions in me in response. It is a sensitive, insightful and heartbreaking depiction of mental health and how it impacts on individuals and families. 
This is a gentle and uplifting read and it added several titles to my own reading list. With thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for a copy of this very individual story.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so beautifully written. I ended it sobbing my heart out.

This book was pure, honest, heartbreaking and powerful. 

As a book lover, I know how much books can help during incredibly hard times, like when you’re lonely or depressed or grieving. I know how they help us to escape when we need a break or cannot handle real life situations, but I also know how they can teach us to do and be better. They are guidance and advice when we are lost. 

If you love books, you’ll love this book. It was relatable and enchanting. The way the author brought so many people of different ages and cultures together was inspiring, and I hope we can learn from this book. That we are all in the same boat, and could all use a friend from time to time.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this one. A book about books! So many times I read 'books about books' and end up disappointed, but this was very well executed. 
I liked the characters, although did struggle at first with Mukesh's chapters. I listened to the audiobook and this narrator had a strong accent that took a little time to get used to. 
I loved the books on the reading list, and actually feel like I want to read them for real! They were well chosen and kept in line with the story.
This was a little bit of a struggle at times with the story around loss (I lost my sister in April 2020 and found this part of the book difficult but very true to reality), and it brought me to tears this morning. 
Would definitely recommend this book for readers who love a book about books!
Was this review helpful?
I’m not sure I have the words to express just how much I loved this book, it is just wonderful and a delight from the first page to the last. Such a moving exploration of grief, depression and ultimately hope , all centred around the staff and patrons of a public library. Any book lover will identify with the theme of books having the power to change and enhance your life and I’m sure many will want to compile their own life book list
Was this review helpful?
Captures the magic of reading and how we can be joined and connected by stories. I'd read this without reading any reviews to be honest as you find all the surprises that way and they are a joy!
Was this review helpful?
This is a book about the healing power of reading and the importance of libraries ,based around a mysterious reading list which is found by various characters who all find solace and comfort in the books on the list ,and whose lives are all changed in some way by reading and by going to the local library.
The main characters are Mukesh ,trying to rebuild his life after the death of his wife, and Aleisha, whose home life is difficult because of her mother’s mental illness.Both are positively changed because of the books on the reading list and the book ends on an uplifting note.
It’s quite slowly paced and tends to labour some of the points a bit,but it’s a lovely message to convey and made me want to go back and re read some of the books on the list!
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest review which reflects my own opinion.
Was this review helpful?
What an amazing debut novel by Sara Nisha Adams! I absolutely adored it and highly recommend it! 
Lovers of books and libraries will be enchanted by this narrative that follows mostly 2 characters discovering the beauty and universality of books. Mukesh is retired and newly widowed. His wife loved books and he decides to start reading books to feel closer to her and search for what she saw in them. He meets our second main protagonist, Aleisha, a teenager working at the local library. She's a bit apathetic and hiding from the reality of her mother who is unwell. They form a peculiar friendship built on books, opening up their own relationships with others. Grief is a theme that comes back a few times and it is so well expressed throughout this book. 
There is so much to say about this novel, but frankly, just go and read it!
Was this review helpful?
This was another truly wonderful read. I absolutely loved it. It is a book about a reading list, a library and some wonderful people. We learn about each book, and also the characters that appear in each one. It covers a vast array of topics and emotions, from friendships, love,  heart break, and family. It really focused on the importance of libraries to our communities. I love ours. They're an absolute necessity.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book - the characters, the story, the writing - I devoured it. Widower Mukesh was a delight, and I loved his relationship with library assistant Aleisha. The bond they formed helped both of them and demonstrates how sharing a love of reading can bring people together. I will admit to be horrified at the beginning of the book, when surly teen Aleisha had headphones in as she worked behind the library desk! That just wouldn't happen, but I'll forgive the author as the book was so good.
It's a heart-warming tale of friendship, belonging, the power of reading, the plight of libraries. But it also tackled tougher subjects like grief, loss and mental health. It's one of those books that I'll recommend the friends, colleagues and library customers! Brilliant.
Was this review helpful?
Aleisha discovers a reading list tucked into a library book at the library she works at. Despite not really wanting to work there at first and not even being very interested in reading, she forms a close bond with Mukesh who comes into the library after the death of his wife. Together they form an unexpected bond as they work their way through the reading list.

I thought the exploration of grief and starting again after loss was so well written and moving. It was a heartwarming bond between Aleisha and Mukesh reaching across the generations. Even with a lot of narratives and different characters I never lost track of who they were. All of the characters were well rounded even though there were lots of them which is some achievement.

Should be one of the novels of the year.
Was this review helpful?
Initially, having looked at the contents page, I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the multiple narratives, and at first I did get a little lost, but very quickly you do get to know the characters’ individual voices which makes it pleasant to read. All the characters were so different, but I can identify myself in all of them - and I’m sure every person who reads this book can also.

Unless you’re w proficient reader, it is hard to explain to someone just what books can do for you. In fact, no matter how much I read, I find it difficult to tell people why reading means so much to me and what it can do for me, but Sara manages to describe it perfectly without simply saying “reading makes me feel XYZ”. The way it’s written just speaks to your very soul and you end up totally within her world.

The books on the reading list in this book were:
- To Kill a Mockingbird (read)
- Rebecca (currently reading)
- Life of Pi (not read)
- The Kite Runner (read) - my favourite on this list
- Pride and Prejudice (read)
- Little Women (not read)
- Beloved (not read)
- A Suitable Boy (not read) 

Reading this book as made me think about what books I would recommend to someone to read. I’ve got titles that mean so much to me and feel very personal that they feel like they were written just for me and I’d find it difficult explaining to someone why I like it. 

The ending was so unexpected but heartwarming and lovely and fuzzy. It is a beautiful homage to our much needed libraries and show us how they can really help us during the bad times. This isn’t just a book about reading. It is a book about loss, grief, anger, growing up, sadness, loneliness, happiness, and above all else, love.
Was this review helpful?
A good novel of community and the power of reading, which does pack a big emotional punch near the end which I wasn't expecting - there's certainly a strong theme on mental health here which might be triggering for some. I enjoyed the gentle humour and seeing Mukesh blossom and those bossy daughters find out he's not yet a lost cause. 

Full review at https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2021/08/22/book-review-sara-nisha-adams-the-reading-list/
Was this review helpful?
THIS BOOK!! ❤️ Do you love reading books about books? I do!🙋🏼‍♀️

This is probably one of my favourite books of the year so far. I KNOW 🤩 I bloody loved every minute of The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams so all the stars (if I did star ratings!)🥰
.
When Aleisha discovers a crumpled reading list tucked into a tattered library book, it sparks an extraordinary journey. Great timing as Aleisha needs an escape from her troubles at home.
And when widower Mukesh arrives at the library, Aleisha introduces him to the magic of the reading list.
.
✨ What I loved:

~ the characters were heartwarming, realistic and well developed. Mukesh - who goes to the library to try and connect with his bookworm granddaughter Priya - has my heart!❤️
~ the storyline was engaging and just bloody lovely. Who doesn’t love reading about books, libraries, communities rallying together and old people who discover they may actually be bookworms. 😆 Save the libraries!✊🏻
~ it didn’t shy away from more heavy topics such as grief, death, loneliness and loss. It was really touching and yes there were tears 😭 Such talented writing! 
~ some of my favourite moments were when Mukesh and Aleisha were together in their ‘mini bookclub’ just chatting about characters in books and how certain themes resonated with them. Books brought this unlikely duo together. Also it features so many of my fave books including The Time Travellers Wife and Little Women. 😍
~ the book left me feeling happy, inspired and just lifted me so much. All the feel good vibes.

The Reading List is an absolute delight and reinforced why I love reading so much. Books can transport us, teach us, connect us and show us the world. It will be a book I read again FOR SURE!

Get on it and check out this incredible debut. Highly recommend folks 👏🏻
Was this review helpful?