The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

The Reading List is a love letter to books, exploring how they connect, guide, teach and inspire us. It’s also a celebration of libraries, reminding us how valuable these spaces are for the community.

The novel begins with a reading list: an apparently carefully crafted list of books written in beautiful handwriting found by chance. The list finds its way into the hands of different characters throughout the novel and we follow them as they make their way through it, knowingly and sometimes unknowingly, connecting to each other through the books.

Whilst the reading list is discovered by a few people throughout the novel, the main focus is on two characters: Aleisha, a 17 year old who’s just taken on a summer job at the local library, despite not really reading books, and Mukesh, an elderly widower who comes to the library to connect with his late wife who was an avid reader. I warmed to these two characters, and much preferred the chapters which focussed on them.

When the chapters moved away from the two protagonists, I found it a little confusing jumping to different characters and years (which didn’t seem to have a relevance, unless I’m missing something). I imagined all the stories would come together – and they did – but they felt a little muddled and lacking purpose, more like an aside rather than adding much to the story

Throughout reading I thought The Reading List was a nice book. Easy-to-read, a pleasant story but nothing spectacular. About 80% of the way through, however, something happens in the story and I was hooked. I really needed to know what happened next. Perhaps I needed to have read that 80% in order to feel this way, but I couldn’t help thinking it was a shame I hadn’t felt as compelled to read on throughout the previous part of the book.

The sudden jump between a story that kind of plods along nicely and then a sudden quickening of reading pace felt a little jarring. And because it was so close to the end of the book, it made the ending feel a little rushed. However, the ending is a lovely, and satisfying, one.

Overall, The Reading List is a good read that does an excellent job of reminding us of the importance of books and libraries, and how they can connect us.


The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. Quercus, 2019.

I’ve read The Flatshare before and really enjoyed it, but I kept seeing adverts for a TV adaptation of it, so I was prompted to revisit the novel.

The Flatshare tells the story of Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy needs a cheap place to live after breaking up with her boyfriend; Leon needs extra income to help pay for a lawyer for his brother. He comes up with the idea of renting out his flat when he’s not there – working night shifts as a hospice nurse means his flat is empty during the evenings and weekends.

And so begins an unconventional flatshare: two flatmates who share a bed but never at the same time. And, at the request of Leon’s girlfriend, the two never meet. They communicate through Post-It notes left around the flat when necessary, and a friendship begins to blossom.

The Flatshare is an easy-to-read novel with an engaging storyline – the way the chapters alternate between the two main characters gives the novel a fast pace that keeps you turning the pages. The change of style between Tiffy and Leon’s chapters keeps each character distinct, and both characters are engaging and rounded. The secondary characters are great, too.

When I first heard about The Flatshare I loved the premise of the book, and I love it still – two people never meeting, but communicating through letters or notes. This isn’t a new concept, yet it’s executed in a fun and fresh way. There’s something nostalgic about them writing notes instead of using technology; it feels like a more intimate form of communication for two people who share the same bed – strictly keeping to their own sides – but never at the same time.

When I read the book the first time, I guessed how the main story would play out, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. There are other elements of the story, though, that did take me by surprise. It was these that added an extra depth to this book for me, elevating it from a standard chick-lit/romance novel. I won’t give any spoilers, but O’Leary treats a difficult subject with delicacy and insight.

There was something very comforting about rereading this book, this time around. Revisiting these characters and being a part of their story again was really enjoyable and I missed the characters once I’d finished reading.

Overall, I really enjoy The Flatshare. It’s a well-written page-turner with a heart-warming story.

It’s been a while…

Hello! It feels strange writing on here again after so long, but in the last few months I’ve really missed having a place to share my thoughts on books. I set up a Goodreads, but it just didn’t feel the same.

So, here I am. I have no idea if anyone reads blogs anymore, let alone this one, but I’m excited to start posting again!

Gemma x

I’m back!

Hi everyone, hope you’re all well and have had a great October!

Just a quick post to let you all know that I’m back from my trip to New Zealand! I had the most incredible time – I visited amazing places, met some wonderful people, and have made great memories. I absolutely loved New Zealand and if you’ve ever thought about visiting, I’d definitely recommend it – the scenery is absolutely stunning and there’s something for everyone. This trip was my first experience of actual travelling (moving from place to place, staying in hostels etc) and I absolutely loved it. I was away for a total of 5 weeks and I feel as if I’ve changed quite a bit through the whole experience. If anyone’s interested, I could write up some posts about the places I visited so let me know if that’s something you’d like to read!

I hope to get back into blogging again soon – while it was quite nice to have a complete break away from it and the internet in general, I missed reading everyone’s blogs and writing up posts. I’ve got some reviews to write of books I read before I went away, reviews to write of the books I read whilst in New Zealand (I only finished 1 book and am close to completing the next, but they’re both ones I want to post about because I loved them!), and I was kindly nominated by Laura for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award so I hope to get a post published on that soon!

I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone’s blogs and getting back into posting again 🙂 I feel completely out of the book blogging loop, so does anyone have any news? What books are you reading at the moment?