Characters connect through books in “The Reading List”
If you like to read, you probably have a TBR or “MUST READ” list somewhere. The list can be neatly organized in a spreadsheet, scribbled on a piece of paper, or just jumbled thoughts dancing in your brain. Nevertheless, you certainly have a list of books that you really want to read someday.
But what if you accidentally find someone else’s list? Would you be encouraged to read all books, some books, or just throw them away? In the book “The Reading List” by Sara Nisha Adams, the story centers around a list of books that someone finds and shares with other people. The titles in the list are books we might find familiar. You may have read some of them!
Mukesh, the main character, lives in West London and leads a very quiet life. Since the death of his beloved wife, he rarely leaves his home. His daughters constantly contact him by leaving messages on his answering machine and they help him with shopping and basic housework. He doesn’t need to venture.
As he continues to mourn his wife, he comes across a library book she had borrowed before her death. His daughters had apparently missed this when they were cleaning up his things. His wife loved to read and often visited the local library. Although he feels bad about the late book, he decides to read it before returning it. He hoped that just reading a book would remind him of his wife. The book was “The Time Traveler’s Wife”.
What Mukesh didn’t expect was that he would really like to read the book. When he finally returned the book to the library, he had thought he would borrow another one. Not knowing what kind of book he wanted, he approached the desk to ask for help. This is where we meet Aleisha.
Aleisha is an unhappy teenager who reluctantly accepts a job at the library because her brother encouraged her. He had previously worked at the library and had tried to convince her that it would be a great experience. Her bad attitude proved that she didn’t like the job. When Mukesh comes to the office asking for help, she slams him and he leaves feeling very bad for even leaving her house. Aleisha ends up feeling bad for the way she treated him and hopes he comes back.
As Aleisha tries to find a way to love her job, she comes across a crumpled piece of paper on the back of a book. It says “Just in case you need it” on it with a list of books written underneath. Aleisha doesn’t know any of the titles, but she decides to choose one to read. She loved the book and decided that if the old man came back, she could recommend this title to him.
These are just two of the many interesting characters in the story. The author does a great job of interweaving the characters and books that are on the reading list. This book brings together people from different cultures, different age groups and different walks of life, books being their common factor. As each person reads the list of books, they become connected to each other.
It’s a fantastic story about people and books. How can he get better? It’s definitely one of my favorites.
Denise Ladd is a children’s librarian at Sterling Public Library.