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March Book of the Month

Category: Monthly Book Reviews, News, School

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

You can thank Mr Gough for bringing this beautiful book into our lives.  He recommended it as a friend of the author and I’m so grateful he’s shared it with us.  Though there are some incredibly sad chapters to read, this book made my heart sing. 

The Reading List is the story of two lonely people.  One old, Mukesh, a recent widower and one young, Aleisha, a student working in the library to earn some money.  Neither has any interest in reading; Mukesh prefers David Attenborough documentaries but his late wife was a voracious reader.  He finds and reads the last book she read, The Time Traveler’s Wife and discovers it provides a connection to her.  Anxious to build a relationship with his granddaughter, who shared a love of books with his wife, he nervously heads to his local library to find more books and this is where he meets Aleisha.  It’s fair to say that their first encounter is disastrous, with Mukesh leaving with a copy of The Highway Code.  Then Aleisha stumbles across a handwritten booklist entitled “In Case You Need It” which lists these books: To Kill a Mockingbird; Rebecca; The Kite Runner; Life of Pi; Pride and Prejudice; Little Women; Beloved and A Suitable Boy.  Intriguing, isn’t it?

She decides to use this list as a way of making amends with Mukesh and they embark on reading the books together.  The shared experience of reading becomes more and more important to the pair and the parallels between their own lives and the books help them to navigate their own personal problems.* 

This is a love letter to books and libraries so it’s no surprise that I’ve fallen hard for it.  Anyone who loves books and reading will do the same.  It’s genuinely heart-warming.  I think the author is successful in bringing to life, what is for me, the real magic of libraries: that a building full of individuals is turned into a community through a shared love of reading.   For those of you who have never caught the reading bug, I recommend this as your starting point.  If you love it and want to read more, you’ve got an excellent booklist to work through.  (In a note at the end of the story the author also provides another list of books that have inspired and helped her.)  If there is one thing this book teaches us, it’s that it’s never too late to start reading. 

This book can be found in the Senior Fiction section.

*The plot deals with the potentially triggering issues of mental illness and suicide.

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Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
Cavendish Road, Bowdon,
Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 2NL
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