Can a library bring together two people who are otherwise poles apart?
Can books fill up void in our lives?
Sara Nisha Adams explores the possibilities in her debut book, The Reading List. When I had first picked up the January book of our book club, I did not check for much reviews or blurbs. I wanted to go in blind. The initial few chapters almost made me put down the book but my resolution to finish at least a book a month egged me to carry on. I am glad that I did! The book evoked old memories of my time spent in the United Kingdom. I was staying in the quaint town of Tysley and the nearest library was one in Acocks Green. In the first week of my deputation, I walked into the library to apply for membership. My heart did a hula dance when I was informed I could have close to 8 books at a time, I could request books, reserve books from other libraries – now that was an experience I last had in school. I revisited all those happy memories while reading the book.
Aleisha takes up a seemingly boring job at the library as her Summer job. Aidan, her elder brother heralded Harrows Road library as his refuge, quite contrary to Aleisha’s views. Caught in between her ailing mother Leilah and boring job, Aleisha prepares herself for a monotonous summer until she comes across a reading list.
Mukesh is an old, feeble widower who is desperate to change his unproductive days. His wife, Naina’s death has left a huge nothingness in his life. He chances upon a book his wife used to read from the library. Reluctant at first, he gingerly starts reading the book to cope up with his pain of loss of his wife. The book starts to heal his emptiness and he drags himself to the Harrows road library to ask for more books. Thus his path crosses with Aleisha. Grumpily, Aleisha suggests book from the reading list to Mukesh but they end up discussing the books.
An unlikely friendship starts taking shape and the duo start relying on each other through book recommendations. The books mentioned in the reading list play their unique magic on the two individuals- sometimes quite different from each other’s experience. Anything more which I may say, may be a spoiler!
Though the underlying theme of the book is friendship, The Reading List is an ode to bibliophiles. The book gushes on how lucky we readers are! We can find consolation in stories that resonates with our lives and also sometimes, escape to a fantasyland of the book world, leaving behind our sorrows.
Pick up The Reading List with an open heart -specially if you are a beginner!
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