The Reading List
(Sara Nisha Adams)

“Books aren’t always an escape; sometimes books teach us things. They show us the real world, they don’t hide it.” – Mukesh Patel

My overall rating:

all in all: 8/10

story: 9/10

charakters: 7,5/10

writing style: 6/10

What’sThe Reading List about?

The book tells us the story of Mukesh Patel, a widower who is filling his days with David Attenborough documentaries, buying mung beans at the grocery store and listening to his daughter’s messages on the answering machine while making little post-its so he doesn’t forget what they said. He is a warm human being and always caring. Mukesh is trying to understand the magic of books his late wife Naina always seemed to feel. This brings him into the library, where he finds Aleisha.

Aleisha Thomas is (originally) a 17-year-old not-novels-reading librarian who wants to study law. She lives in a home full of worries and is fence struggling with truly enjoying her life. One day, she finds a reading list with nine novels written on it. She decides reading through this list and takes Mukesh along her journey.

Page by page, they get swept away by the power of books and their worries are being pushed into the background.

My opinion

– the story  (9/10)

It is not easy to find a book which focuses on books themselves. They mostly tell us sth about love, about the life a few centuries ago, about a fantasy world, about criminal minds of some people or whatever. But sth about books? Those are a rare thing to find. But luckily, I somehow did:).

So just the point that it focuses on the power of books gives the book 4 points out of 10. But also the story itself is a beautiful one. It includes losing someone and going on living after that, it’s about friendship and about mental illnesses. I once read that it is a little bit too much for one book, but in my opinion, it is a well-chosen amout. I mean, life is never really fair when it comes to “dividing” different sorts of worries on different people. Hence I think, it is realistical. And when speaking of realistical, this also refers to the end. The ending is kinda sad, but also a happy one. (Sorry for the little spoiler). So is the life. It is never all great, even though we wish it to be that way. (Doesn’t mean I don’t absouletly love entire happy endings)

The ending was also a good conclusion, there wasn’t sth I didn’t expect at all and which wasn’t comprehensible. It simply made sense, but wasn’t too predictable, neither. 

I also loved the fact that the author mentioned specific books and structured the story based on them. And btw, I am planning to read them all:). Additionally, it’s a cool thing that you were able to learn sth about the Indian culture.

You are probably wondering why I’m giving this book “just” a 9 out of 10 if it was so good. The reason for this is my partial confusion from time to time. The book mostly focuses on Mukesh’s and Aleisha’s story, but also includes a few chapters from the point of view of other people and sometimes also different times. (It is jumping between 2017 and 2019.) Especially in the beginning, there were times I didn’t really know which person was who and how to put them in the big picture of the story. Now, after finishing it, I am able to puzzle these pieces all together, but at times, it was a little bit tricky.

So, to sum up: great topic, beautiful storyline, logical ending, but a little bit confusing from time to time

– the characters and their journey  (7,5/10)

I really much liked the characters. Their lives and personalities weren’t flat and they had their stories to tell. You could also get a taste of their growth throughout the book. And it was refreshing to read a story of non-perfect people.

Tbh, I kinda missed Aleisha’s motivation and force to her dreams. You could see her development, but it never really included her dreams. I know that she wants to study law, yes, but I could never get a taste of her (not existent?) motivation towards that. It may has been written between the lines, but I couldn’t feel it.

Another thing about Aleisha is her fast “recovering” from one tragic incident in the book. You could read about her sorrow and other feelings, yes, but in my opinion, she seemed to be well pretty soon. For me, it seemed to be a little bit unrealistical.

I don’t really have anything negative to say about Mukesh. The author did a nearly perfect job here in my opinion:). He was grieving, but also growing, he was pushed back and stood up again. He rememberd old days and lived in the present. It was simply a pleasure to read.

– writing style  (6/10)

In all honesty, I needed around 80 pages to get used to the author’s writing style. I don’t really know the reason for it (maybe just because it’s a different genre?), but it didn’t click like it usually does with other authors. By the time, I learend to enjoy it and the amount of time I needed for a chapter got less and less. But still, in the beginning, it was a big of a challenge.

In a nutshell, I liked this book a lot. It wasn’t like the others I normally read (romance), but still absolutelty delighted me. In my opinion, The Reading List wasn’t all perfect, but are we? I doubt it.

I recommend it to all the people who love books. It’s about you:).

Yours,

Everose

Saturday, 18/03/2023


Photos:

The Reading List – book: self made

The Reading List – cover: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/W/IMAGERENDERING_521856-T2/images/I/413maj7YAwL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg – amazon.com – last access: 18/03/2023

book pile: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1513001900722-370f803f498d?ixlib=rb-4.0.3&ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxwaG90by1wYWdlfHx8fGVufDB8fHx8&auto=format&fit=crop&w=687&q=80 – unsplash.com – Toa Heftiba (11/12/2017) – last access: 18/03/2023

lowest picture: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1536893827774-411e1dc7c902?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxwaG90by1wYWdlfHx8fGVufDB8fHx8&auto=format&fit=crop&w=764&q=80 – unsplash.com – Javardh (14/09/2018) – last access: 18/03/2023