Friday, April 19, 2024

Progress Report From the "The Reading List"

"She didn't remember the story, she was terrible with details,
but she remembered the way it made her feel."
SARA NISHA ADAMS, The Reading List

As you may recall from an earlier post (HERE), I mentioned that I'd been reading the novel The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. A heartwarming story of a troubled young woman, Aleisha, who works in a library and an older, lonely widower, Mukesh, who visits the library looking for something to help him through his grief. Somewhere in there, a reading list with eight titles mysteriously shows up in different places. Aleisha sees it one day and decides to try the first title - to see how it goes - and thus the tale really begins. Soon she's suggesting to Mukesh that he should try reading the first one; she enjoyed it, maybe he would too.

Ever eager for a new reading list with new titles someone has recommended, I gathered the books and started with the first one on the list. If you need a reminder, below are the titles linked to the GoodReads book blurbs, if you want to know a little more about each one:

by Harper Lee, 1960
(Read this one for the first time and loved it)

by Daphne du Maurier, 1938
(Longtime favourite - loved reading it again)

by Khaled Hosseini, 2003
(Haunting, heartbreaking, good story)

by Yann Martel, 2001
 (Have never read this one)

by Jane Austen, 1813
(Longtime favourite - haven't read it in a while)

by Louise May Alcott, 2 vols. 1868, 1869
 (Longtime favourite - haven't reread for this list) 

by Toni Morrison, 1987
(Have never read this one)

by Vikram Seth, 1993
(Have never read this one. It's 1474 pages - even
longer than War and Peace at 1352 pages;
definitely not an undertaking for the faint of heart. 
I've seen this one on various suggested reading lists.)

I have now finished the third book, The Kite Runner. This is one of those books where I won't remember all the details, but I will not forget how it haunts me, even days after I finished it. In my view, this is not a book for the fragile of soul. It's too heart-rending in many places. However, if you feel courageous, and you feel able to bear the pain of others - even for those in a story - then carry on. I found it an enlarging story. It made my heart squeeze in compassion for the plight and pain of others, many in situations I'll never encounter in real life but now have a glimpse of what some do face in this world. The book is one I probably won't read again, but I'm glad I did once.

With this story fresh in my thoughts, I read CaitlynneGrace's new post on her blog that felt so timely. She mentions a quote from St. Teresa of Avila, "He who truly loves his neighbor and cannot efficaciously assist him, should strive at least to relieve and help him by his prayers." I was pricked by these words. Although I do often whisper a little prayer for people as I'm going about my days—maybe it's someone being driven off in an ambulance or the teen looking so despondent at the crosswalk or the young mom looking harried as she runs errands with toddlers in tow. I want to be even more aware of others around me and not be so absorbed in my own things. Of course, there are many times we cannot help someone in a tangible way, but as Teresa of Avila noted, at least we could say a pray for them as we each go our own way. Who knows, it might be enough grace in that little space of time, when empathy beats in our heart, that helps a person live through another day, maybe a little more hopefully. CaitlynneGrace says it more eloquently, so I hope you'll pop over and read her post yourself, link HERE.

I'll wait a few days before I pick up the next book in the list. In the meanwhile, I'll find something softer and easier on the heart. I look up from my screen and glance out the window, my goodness, the sun is shining and the skies are spring blue. Earlier I heard my first robin of the season - I'm ecstatic. So, on that note, I'll be off to feast on this new day. I'm wishing you a beautiful day...

Heart hugs,

Photo credit:
Top Image by Catkin from Pixabay


  1. I found The Reading List intriguing, emotionally demanding and a book that I will remember. What a delightful quote from St Theresa, so true. Even if we are powerless to actively help someone we can always pray for their circumstances.

  2. I love reading lists! The Reading List is still patiently awaiting its turn in my to-be-read pile, but I don't think anybody will mind if I dip into the list ahead of time, hehe. I'm going to start at the bottom with A Suitable Boy--I hope my powers of concentration will be up for the task!

  3. The Kite Runner was a powerful book...and definitely impressed me with strong feelings. I've read most of these but not A Suitable Boy. I'll have to look at the review on that one. It would be quite an undertaking! Thanks for sharing. I love to read and need to start a new book tonight. I like to wait a day after finishing a book to start the next. Hugs, Diane

  4. Hi Brenda, I’ve read all on the list except
    The Life of Pi
    A Suitable Boy
    I doubt that I will read them because I have a To Read List that will keep me turning pages until 2047 when I will be 100 years old.LOL.
    I am reading The List and loving it. I see that the author has a list of her own at the end of the book.
    Happy Reading!

  5. Good Morning Brenda!☺️🌝A very sunny morning here and your post just brings extra joy to the morning! Thank you!!! Thanks for the book list! It is always fun to “do” a list, checking off each book feels like an accomplishment and sometimes presents some great reads we might have missed! I need to make a list of 10 books on my “not read yet” bookshelves!πŸ˜‚πŸ€—
    I have read most of those which is a nice feeling, thinking that I have not missed some good ones! “A Suitable Boy” I am not familiar with. It will be fun to look that up.
    THANKYOU for your thoughts on prayer and the link to Caitlynne’s blog! I will enjoy following her as I also love and appreciate your thoughts!!!!
    “Empathy of the heart….” I do the same; offering a prayer as an ambulance rushes by, also as I see a teen walking by but looking sad.( perhaps she has her ear buds in and is simply listening with eyes cast down!
    More important is the reminder and comfort in your words that when we feel that we may not have the words or can change a path toward life for a dear friend, we can pray. Believing in the power and love of a prayer does help all of us who SO wish we could offer comfort to another. God does take that prayer.
    Take care today Brenda! πŸ™πŸŒΈπŸŒ·πŸ’— ~ Thank you! ~ Ann from Ohio

  6. Hello Dear Brenda....Thank you so much for the reading list. It's always great to get recommendation for our beloved books, right? Hope your days are filled with birds twittering and bright sunshine. Hugs. Susan

  7. "Heart-rending" is a good description of The Kite Runner's effect on me. I bought it from an airport bookshop -- I think only the second book in my whole life that I've acquired that way -- and read it on the plane, totally absorbed in the drama. I went on to read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author and found it equally gripping and worthwhile.

    When I look at booklists, it's typically the case that I've read a very small percentage of the titles, but in this case, I've read 50% of them, quite a surprise. I'm interested in the novel that includes this list: Is it worthy of going on a list of worthy reads? Just the little you've told about it makes me curious....

    1. Gretchen, I really enjoyed "The Reading List". In fact, I have read twice in the last two years.

  8. I've read the first 5 books many years would be interesting to re-read some of them now from a more mature perspective.

    1. Margie, reading books a second time from a more mature perspective would be an interesting endeavour. I hope you try it. :)

  9. A Suitable Boy! How much I enjoyed that one! Lost myself in another world for quite a while. It's been so long since I read it, most of the details have left my memory except for the fact that I found it fascinating.

  10. I loved The Reading List. It evoked so many emotions and I found myself rooting for the characters. I've not read Beloved, nor A Suitable Boy, but intend to. The Kite Runner is indeed heart rending. There is so much sorrow in the world and St Teresa's words are full of compassion and encouragement to all of us who pray those small flights from our heart to God for the people we see along our paths. I see that The Life of Pi is next on your list - it's a lighter story although not without drama. I still think about the ending of that one.

  11. Brenda what a great idea regarding the Reading List. I have read many moons ago "To Kill a Mockingbird", Rebecca, and of course "Little Women". You have me interested in reading the Kite Runner. It sounds like it is one of those books that will remain with you long after you read the final page. Hope you are enjoying spring and all its lovely bounty. Nothing like a robin hopping and chirping to make one's heart lighter. Hugs!

  12. Another lovely post, Brenda. Going now to check out CaitlynGrace as I can't imagine how much better she said the thing that inspired your thoughts above.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo