The Reading List: A Novel (Paperback)
August 2021 Indie Next List
“A beautifully written novel about people connected by a local library and an amazing reading list. As the characters’ lives are revealed through interweaving storylines, readers will root for them, cry for them, and celebrate their victories.”
— Lisa Driban, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE
A BEST OF SUMMER READ ACCORDING TO NEWSWEEK, PARADE MAGAZINE, NBC NEWS, LITHUB, AND POPSUGAR!
"The most heartfelt read of the summer...a surprising delight of a novel."--Shondaland
An unforgettable and heartwarming debut about how a chance encounter with a list of library books helps forge an unlikely friendship between two very different people in a London suburb.
Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.
Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.
When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list…hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.
About the Author
Sara Nisha Adams is a writer and editor. She lives in London and was born in Hertfordshire to Indian and English parents. Her debut novel The Reading List is partly inspired by her grandfather, who lived in Wembley and immediately found a connection with his granddaughter through books.
"A quietly beautiful novel about the magic of books and the joy of human connection.”
"A remarkable, heartwarming debut about the power of fiction."
"Thoughtful and heartwarming... An absolute delight to read, it will be catnip to book groups craving a story to remind them why we read and how very important libraries and book shops are."
— Library Journal (starred review)
"A lovely story about how a love of reading can transport us to other worlds and also bring us together.”
— Toronto Star
"This moving debut demonstrates the power of novels to provide comfort in the face of devastating loss and loneliness, with relatable characters and a heartwarming tone throughout. Readers who enjoyed Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop will find themselves drawn in by this book."
"The most heartfelt read of the summer...a surprising delight of a novel."
“The story is an absolute joy. A captivating and exquisitely crafted debut.”
— Heidi Swain, bestselling author of The Winter Garden
“If you love books, read this. If you love people, read this. If you love crying with sadness, crying with happiness, and feeling like you have been wrapped in the blanket of someone else's life, read this.”
— Debbie Johnson, bestselling author of Maybe One Day
“A wonderful read about the fundamental power of books to lift our lives from the mundane and transform them into something truly magical.”
— Imogen Clark, bestselling author of Postcards From a Stranger
“The Reading List absolutely captures the magic of reading and of libraries. I felt a part of Mukesh and Aleisha's book club, revisiting some of my favourite novels alongside these new friends.”
— Louise Hare, author of The Lovely City