cover image The Reading List

The Reading List

Sara Nisha Adams. Morrow, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-302528-8

Adams’s winsome debut follows a widower who takes up reading in order to honor the memory of his wife. After Londoner Mukesh’s wife, Naina, dies, he picks up the book she was reading before she died, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, hoping “to turn the black letters and yellowed pages into a letter from Naina to him.” When he later returns the book to the library, he meets the restless and prickly 17-year-old library worker Aleisha, who reluctantly took the job after encouragement from her troubled older brother, also a bookworm. As time passes, Mukesh and Aleisha become good friends, with Mukesh and his granddaughter, Priya, joining in on a reading list Aleisha found tucked in a returned book, which includes such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Women, and Beloved. When the creator of the list is revealed, there isn’t much in the way of surprise, but it gains emotional resonance after Adams links the list to a late-breaking tragic event. Adams is a brisk and solid plotter, and has an easy hand with creating characters who are easy to root for. Readers will be charmed and touched. Agent: Hayley Steed, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Aug.)