The Reading List
THE READING LIST is a charming story of two lost souls – a grandfather who is withdrawn after losing his wife, and a teenaged girl at a crossroads in her life. Both are in need of direction. They find it in the local library – where she works for lack of anything better, and to which he visits in an attempt to experience what his late wife loved.
They are drawn together by the books on a reading list that is mysteriously compiled and tucked into one of said books. These books have meaning for both of them, but more, they offer an opening for discussion between them. And so an unlikely friendship is formed.
Though Mukesh is of Indian descent, there is nothing ethnic about his daughters’ views of him. I totally identified with it. Likewise, with his desire to connect with his withdrawn and bookish granddaughter Priya through novels they could both enjoy.
Aleisha has baggage of her own – her troubled brother Aidan, her more-troubled mother Leila, and her own misfit status. She is totally uninterested in reading – until she isn’t. Watching her progress is one of the delights of this book.
Of the many issues here, the two major ones (not necessarily related) are grief and depression. I felt that the author dealt with the first perfectly but not quite so with the second. Too many questions were left unanswered – at least, for me with my curious mind. Others dragged on a bit too long, making for the occasionally slow stretch. Still, this book is a worthy read.
And no, you don’t have to have actually read the books on the reading list to enjoy THE READING LIST. Suffice it to say that the impact of books on the characters of this story is consistent with many of the letters I’ve received from readers over the years.