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The Reading List|Sara Nisha Adams

Overview


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.

  • ISBN-13: 9780063025288
  • ISBN-10: 0063025280
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: August 2021
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
  • Page Count: 384

6 debut novelists for the last days of summer

Our sincere apologies to the rest of the novels on your TBR list, but these debuts deserve a spot at the top. Based on other novels you’ve loved, we’ve recommended which of these six hot titles you’ll most enjoy.


FOR FANS OF 
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

★ THE READING LIST

Former book editor Sara Nisha Adams attributes her passion for reading to her early childhood, when she bonded with her grandfather over their shared love of literature. This relationship also served as the inspiration for The Reading List, a story about two lonely individuals whose initial common ground is, ironically, that neither has any interest in reading. As an uplifting and tenderhearted celebration of libraries and the transformative power of books, The Reading List is particularly perfect for book clubs and sure to brighten any reader’s day.

(read the full review by Stephenie Harrison)


FOR FANS OF
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

★ SISTERS IN ARMS

In Kaia Alderson’s witty and powerful debut novel, World War II is a conflict not only between nations but also within the hearts of Grace Steele and Eliza Jones, two Black women serving in the U.S. Army’s 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. It’s a chance to prove themselves to their restrictive families and a prejudiced society. Sisters in Arms chronicles their story, which spans the constraints of New York City and the perils of war-torn Europe. During their service, their bond is tested, but Grace and Eliza learn to stick together to survive, and their romantic relationships enhance their personal stories. This is an outstanding historical novel that succeeds at celebrating the accomplishments of the Six Triple Eight Battalion through the lives of two audacious Black women.

(read the full review by Edith Kanyagia)


FOR FANS OF 
Deep River by Karl Marlantes and Barkskins by Annie Proulx

★ DAMNATION SPRING

Ash Davidson’s exceptional debut novel, Damnation Spring, follows aging logger Rich Gundersen and his family through 1977, a year of significant change in Northern California’s redwood forest. Here, all politics are local: It slowly dawns on Rich’s wife, Colleen, that herbicides, sprayed to help the logging industry, hurt babies; and the unethical owner of the timber company is a flawed and greedy local guy, not a corporate mover on Wall Street. Davidson grew up in Arcata, California, just south of the redwood forest she writes about in Damnation Spring. She’s studied the lay of the land, and she expresses the heart and soul of this place and time.

(read the full review by Alden Mudge)


FOR FANS OF
Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions

WE ARE THE BRENNANS

Tracey Lange’s debut novel tells the story of a large Irish American family grappling with the weight of secrets after Sunday, the only Brennan daughter, returns home after five years away. We Are the Brennans is well plotted, offering plenty of action, but it shines brightest in depicting family relationships, love mixed with resentment and guilt, and in its character development. We root for the Brennans the whole way through, waiting for them to face hard truths about one another and, we hope, to move forward together.

(read the full review by Sarah McCraw Crow)


FOR FANS OF
Swing Time by Zadie Smith and There There by Tommy Orange

THE ETERNAL AUDIENCE OF ONE

Rwandan-born Namibian writer Rémy Ngamije’s sharp-witted and incisive debut, The Eternal Audience of One, paints a revealing portrait of its peripatetic protagonist and the many places he’s called home. Séraphin Turihamwe is a displaced Rwandan who feels most himself in Cape Town, South Africa, a place that doesn’t welcome Black immigrants, and Ngamije brilliantly explores the irony in Séraphin’s identities. The story unfolds through a collection of scenes all revolving around Séraphin’s social life, his friends and the women he dates, that explore racism and social hierarchies. Ngamije’s writing is beautiful, his observations original and precise, his sense of place unsurpassed. Every bit of insight, succinctly and humorously presented, will cause readers to stop and think.

(read the full review by Carole V. Bell)


FOR FANS OF
The Leavers by Lisa Ko and The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

EDGE CASE

In YZ Chin’s Edge Case, Edwina and her husband, Marlin, are in the U.S. on H-1B work visas. Both are from Malaysia; she is ethnic Chinese, and he is Chinese Indian. After Marlin’s father dies, Marlin disappears. Compounding Edwina’s anguish over Marlin’s abandonment are her anxieties about her immigration status and daily racial insults. Chin is superb at describing the tumult of a woman being psychologically knocked about like a pachinko ball. Every chapter bears witness to Edwina’s pain, befuddlement and sheer exhaustion, while also revealing her snarky sense of humor, resourcefulness, tenaciousness and capacity for love.

(read the full review by Arlene McKanic)