I am a little later than most to the reading party. However, I’m now making up for lost time by reading around five to six books a month at the grand old age of fifty-six. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the odd book on holiday, or reading on a long-haul flight. I remember loving Jodi Picoult or even Danielle Steele in my twenties, but apart from ‘Gone Girl’ on our honeymoon, I can’t recall any particularly memorable books. You could count on one hand how many books I read in a year since it wasn’t a priority in my life. This has changed drastically in recent times.
Reading has become an essential part of my ‘job’ these days, and, boy, am I glad of that! I currently read about 5 books a month; anything from classics to the latest psychological thrillers by Lisa Jewell. Of course, I run a book club once a month too and so tend to make this book my priority. The great thing about a book club is that it makes you try different genres that you wouldn’t, perhaps, ordinarily read. At North Norfolk Bookworms we choose a new book each month based on our individual tastes or by picking one from the library list.
More often than not, I’m pleasantly surprised – but never more so than this month.
So, what is the purpose of this blog post?
Oh, yes, the purpose of writing this week’s post! Well, I guess it is to accentuate the glory and joy of reading. How it takes us away from depressing circumstances that surround us and transport us into an alternative, magical reality. But, more importantly, I want to share the fact that if I’d had the fortune to read this month’s book some years ago, I would have increased my reading well before my 50s.
It is the most beautiful book and not one I would have chosen from the shelf, or in fact heard of, had it not been for our reading group. What made it special for me? It perfectly describes the charm of reading, where it can take us, and how it can reconnect us with humanity.
The book is: The Reading List, by Sara Nisha Adams, and I cannot believe that this is her debut fiction novel! It is brilliantly written.
The Reading List
The reading list is a story about a comprehensive list of classics written on a Post-it note (a sort of book within a book!). Nobody knows who made the list which includes books such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘The Life of Pi’. The mysterious list falls into the hands of various unrelated characters. My favourite is the adorable, widowed, Mukesh Patel. He lost his wife some two years ago, and having never been a reader, he now wants to discover what had attracted his wife to reading. Before long, he starts to feel a connection with her and falls in love with each of the books knowing that his wife had done the same.
Mukesh has become a bit of a recluse since his wife’s death. But his new knowledge from books gives him the confidence to step out into the world. He joins the local library as well as other social groups and starts to share his newfound passion for books with his granddaughter. Another beautiful relationship which strengthens through the bond of reading.
Ultimately this book is just bloody beautiful and I now find myself wanting to read the entire reading list mentioned in the book. (List at the bottom of this blog). It has restored my faith in humanity and shown me the deeper importance of reading.
Is it for you?
Enjoyment of books is often down to expectation. I’m not going to say this book is action-packed, thrilling, or mind-blowing. I’m not even going to say it reads with the beautiful diction of classic literature. But I am going to say, it is immersive, uplifting and will make you think about its words of wisdom. You will find it hard not to fall in love with each of the quirky characters and their stories, which will have you laughing and crying.
Best of all though, I guarantee that this book will make you want to keep picking up more books; you will want to start filling your mind with the enticing and glorious world of fiction (if you aren’t already). There are so many benefits of reading – too many to list here – but some books can make a huge impact in our lives. The Reading List perfectly highlights a few of these. It shows increased knowledge bringing confidence, improved relationships, new insights, improved mental health, and so much more. I love how a book can be both life-changing and memorable, as this book amply demonstrates.
Give it a go!
In a world that is often unkind, and laborious, distracting us from the small things that matter in life, this book will ground you, reconnect your faith in humanity and leave you itching to get your hands on all the books the characters read throughout The Reading List.