Books About Books and #TheReadingList [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

January 21, 2022

Do you love Books About Books?

Favorite Books About Books (white text alongside a tall stack of hardback books on a blue painted wood table)

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Books About Books.”

Do you have a favorite Book About Books?

I fall hard for Books About Books and it’s one of my favorite and most read categories! Following today’s review, find a list of a few of my favorite “Books About Books” titles.


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “books about books” read:

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Ode to Books and Libraries, Multi-Generational Friendship, London (suburb)

My Summary:

The Reading List is a memorable debut novel about a list of library books, the magic of reading, and unlikely friendships. A widower, Mukesh longs to connect with Priya his bookworm granddaughter. He ventures into the local library and meets Aleisha, a lonely and sometimes surly teenager who is a volunteer at the library for the summer. Aleisha has discovered a reading list in the back of one of the books she was shelving and decided she would read the books on the list. When Mukesh asks her for a reading recommendation, she remembers the list and recommends the first book on the list. Mukesh and Aleisha strike up an unlikely friendship and connection through discussing the books on the list as they read them (she reads one book ahead of him).

My Thoughts:

Debut: The Reading List is a beautifully written and all around wonderful debut novel. Sara Nisha Adams is definitely on my “new authors to watch” list!

Main Characters: Mukesh and Aleisha are both lonely and start out as nonreaders. Aleisha begins to read books on the “found” list out of curiosity and boredom while Mukesh thinks he “should” read because his late wife was a reader and now his granddaughter is a bookworm. He hopes that reading will help him keep alive the close connection he had with his wife and make new connections with his granddaughter, Pirya. Mukesh and Aleisha form a bookclub of sorts as they look forward to sharing their thoughts about the recent book that Aleisha has recommended for him (from the list). Their conversations are sweet, a friendship forms, and reading becomes a lifeline for both of them.

Other Characters: The story includes other colorful and interesting characters from the library and the community. However, when the author devotes an entire chapter to a random character, I found it to be a distraction that took me out of the story and away from the main characters. Each one is an interesting character and the sections of random characters exhibit the same quality of writing, but I’m not sure of the purpose except to establish the sense of a broader reading community.

The Reading Life: The author captures so much of the magic, satisfaction, and enjoyment of the reading life! Books have the ability to create strong connections between people….even strangers! How many times have you been in a public place and found yourself trying to read the title of the book the person next to you or across from you is reading? Or when you notice a person reading a book you loved, do you feel compelled to start a conversation? Do you ever feel that a book is recommending a person? I.E. if this person is reading that book, they must be a great person! Book people really are the best people, and I think this a universally recognized fact!

Favorite Quote:

“Priya was reading a book he knew all about. He knew the world Priya was in right now. There was something magical in that…in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.”

A Mystery: There is a bit of intrigue in the story, also. Where did the list come from? Who created it? For what purpose was it created? Is there a reason that certain books were selected?

Structure: The story is loosely structured around the actual reading list as Mukesh and Aleisha work their way through. Each book is discussed to varying degrees and your reading enjoyment will be enhanced if you’ve read some or all of the books (but it’s not necessary to have read any of them). However, there’s more to this story than a simple reading list. It’s a story of found family, community, grief, connection, and moving forward.

The Books: Mukesh’s reading experience starts with The Time Traveler’s Wife (a book Mukesh found while cleaning after his wife died). He wants to read the book she had last read before he returns it to the library. This in turn leads him to meeting Aleisha and receiving his first recommendation.

(if you’re curious!) The Reading List:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Rebecca
The Life of Pi
The Kite Runner
Pride and Prejudice
Little Women
A Suitable Boy
Beloved

Themes: the joys of reading, connecting with others through books, the book life, friendship, support, loneliness, sibling relationships, mental health, grief, complicated family dynamics, connection, and community.

***contains spoilers***
Content Considerations: mental health, suicide, cancer

Highly Recommended: I’m enthusiastically recommending The Reading List for fans of books about books and the reading life, for those who appreciate an uplifting story (except for hard hitting issues as mentioned above), for readers who may have read any or all of the books on “the list,” and for book clubs.

Your Book List: If YOU were to curate a reading list to leave in random places for other readers or non-readers to find, what books would you put on your list and why? Wouldn’t it be fun to start finding book lists lying around?! Hummmm….perhaps this will be a future blog post!

My Rating: 4 Stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

The Reading List Information Here

Meet the Author, Sara Nisha Adams

Author Sara Nisha AdamsSara Nisha Adams is a writer and editor. She lives in London and was born in Hertfordshire to Indian and English parents. Her debut novel The Reading List is partly inspired by her grandfather, who lived in Wembley and immediately found a connection with his granddaughter through books.



A Few of My Favorite Books About Books/Bookshops/Libraries

(the first section are my most favorite and most highly recommended)

The Printed Letter Bookshop
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
The Last Bookshop in London
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
The Librarian of Auschwitz
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
The Reading List

* * *
The Last Chance Library
The Paris Library
The Lost and Found Bookshop
The Jane Austen Society
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Library of Lost and Found
The Night of Many Endings
Cloud Cuckoo Land
The Personal Librarian



 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the January installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Do you love Books About Books?
Do you have a favorite?
Is The Reading List on your TBR or have you read it?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

The Printed Letter Bookshop [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 20,  2022

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
#throwbackthursday

The Printed Letter Bookshop (cover) by Katherine Reay

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Women’s Fiction, Small Town, Bookshop

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing an engaging story of friendship, faith, and forgiveness, The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. This is on my lifetime favorites list!

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Madeleine’s happiest childhood memory is spending time at her Aunt Maddie’s house and her beloved bookshop. Suddenly, the families become estranged and Madeleine hasn’t seen her aunt in twenty years. After her aunt dies, Madeleine discovers she has inherited everything: the bookshop, the house, the car, and all the debt. At the same time, Madeleine’s career plans are in jeopardy and she begins to seriously investigate what saving the bookshop, moving, and a new plan for her life might involve.”

friendship…forgiveness…second chances…new beginnings ….

Continue here for my full review of The Printed Letter Bookshop…



QOTD:

Have you read The Printed Letter Bookshop or is it on your TBR?

 

Best of the Best: 2015 to 2021 [Book Reviews]

January 14, 2022

Best of the Best: 2015-2021

2015-2021 Best of the Best (a young holds a huge stack of books in her arms and balances them under her chin

Image Source: Canva

Welcome to January and all the “Best Of” lists!

Inspired by Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog, I’m putting together my own “Best of the Best” list.

Each year that I’ve been blogging, I’ve put together a most memorable reads of the year list. This year I thought it would be fun to follow Davida’s lead and list my top SEVEN reads of the last SEVEN years and rank them in order. I’ve only been blogging for five years, but I started keeping records seven years ago, so I’m including all seven years. I’m also linking to my blog posts so that you can see the runners up if you’re curious.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

2015:

The Intention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (cover) (white lettering over a goldish redish sky background) featuring a few small flying birds)

(Preblogging) The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
(reviewed the first year I started blogging)

2016:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi cover (yellow background with red and blue and black designs)

(Preblogging) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (not reviewed on the blog)

2017:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)

(I didn’t choose a favorite this year because I chose to use categories.) Looking back at the list now, I will have to choose Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman as my favorite of the year (not reviewed on blog).  See my complete list for the year here: 2017 Really Recommendable Reads

2018:

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (cover)

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
See my complete list for the year here: Most Memorable Reads of 2018

2019:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (cover)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
See my complete list for the year here: Most Memorable Reads of 2019

2020:

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
See my complete list for the year here: Most Memorable Reads of 2020

2021:

a woman dressed in a rose dress stands with her back to the camera overlooking a balcony and a gold wall

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn 
See my complete list for the year here: Most Memorable Reads of 2021

Ranked in Order:

(more…)

Big Lies in a Small Town [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 13,  2022

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
#throwbackthursday

Big Lies in a Small Town (cover)

 

Genre/Categories/Setting: Women’s Fiction, Light Historical fiction, Light Mystery, Southern Fiction, Art

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing an engaging and page-turning story, Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Equal parts character-driven and page-turning mystery …

“Two young women living several decades apart are focused on the same mural….one is creating the mural in 1940 and the other is restoring the same mural in 2018. In alternate viewpoints and dual timelines, we hear both stories, the mystery of what happened to the original artist is uncovered, and connections between the two are revealed.”

Secrets, prejudice, and making peace with the past ….

Continue here for my full review of Big Lies in a Small Town…

(including a trigger warning)



QOTD:

Have you read Big Lies in a Small Town or is it on your TBR?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Most Anticipated Reads Q1 2022 #T5T

January 11, 2022

Top 5 Most Anticipated Reads Q1 2022

a graphic picture of a blond girl holding an open blue book

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Reads Q1 2022. ( maybe have a list of 6!)

***This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Top 5 Anticipated Reads Q1 2022

1.

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman's Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (cover) Image: old work boots sit atop a stack of books

I loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and it was my most memorable read of 2019 so I’m eager for the sequel!

2.

Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing by Nella Larsen (cover) Black and White Image: a young woman in a coat and hat pulled down to shade her eyes

One of my bookish resolutions in 2022 is to read one classic per quarter. This is my choice for Q1 of 2022. I also want to read it before I watch the Netflix adaptation!

3.

Quiet by Susan Cain and The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore

One of my bookish resolution in 2022 is to read more nonfiction: Quiet has been on my TBR the longest, and I want to make it a priority this year; I came across The Woman They Could Not Silence during Nonfiction November. Both of these titles are high priority on my Nonfiction TBR.

4.

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: grayscale image of a man standing outside a building holding a blue/yellow/red torn flag

Sepetys is an auto buy YA author for me, so I’m eager to read her new release on 2.1.2022.

5.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (cover) grayscale cover....a woman in a dark long coat walks into a grove of tall trees (red and black text)

Quinn is another auto buy histfic author, and I’m preordering her new release which publishes on 3.31.2022.



QOTD:

What is your most anticipated read in the first Quarter of 2022?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow [Book Review]

January 7, 2022

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland (cover) Image:  a blue and white gazebo decorated for a wedding sits among grassy rolling hills and flower gardens

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Animal Rescue, Found Family, England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BoldwoodBooks for a complimentary eARC of #AWeddingAtHedgehogHollow upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A long-awaited wedding…….

As Samantha prepares to marry Josh, she discovers that someone has hacked into her bank account and emptied it. Is the future of Hedgehog Hollow in jeopardy? Will she be able to afford the wedding?

In this installment, we become acquainted with Phoebe who is desperate to escape her abusive family, infamously known for their attacks on Samantha’s beloved rescue centre. Does the recent bank fraud have anything to do with her family?

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Lovely War [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 6,  2022

Lovely War by Julie Berry
#throwbackthursday

Lovely War cover

Genre/Categories: YA or NA Historical Fiction, WW1, Romance/Love Story, Mythology

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a creatively structured WW1 Historical Fiction story, Lovely War by Julie Berry.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Is love more powerful than war?

“During the years of WW1, Hazel, a shy and talented pianist meets James, a handsome soldier, at a dance. He’s shipping out to the front in a week. Is this enough time to fall in love? Two more characters round out the cast: Colette, a gifted singer from Belgium, and Aubrey, a member of the all African-American regiment and a gifted musician. The Greek gods narrate this story of love, music, and war.”

A story of love, music, and war….

Continue here for my full review of Lovely War…



QOTD:

Have you read Lovely War or is it on your TBR?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Bookish Resolutions #T5T

January 4, 2022

Top 5 Bookish Resolutions

a graphic picture of a blond girl holding an open blue book

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Bookish Resolutions.

Top 5 Bookish Resolutions

1.

Keep more accurate and complete records of book recs. I love to thank the blogger or reviewer and give her credit, but I don’t keep the best records or I think I’ll surely remember until I don’t. I’ve improved a bit over the past year, but this area definitely needs improvement.

2.

Read more nonfiction. I’d love my reading to consist of at least 20% nonfiction (which would be about 20 books per year).

3.

I want to do better at writing reviews immediately after finishing the book. I’m fairly good at taking notes, but I need to transfer those notes to a rough draft in WordPress before I lose them! Too frequently I have found notes/book quotes after I’ve already written and published the review! At the very least, I need to designate ONE place to keep notes!

4.

I’d like to read a few more classics. Perhaps one per quarter might be a reasonable goal.

5.

I want to continue:
reading diversely,
reading authors of color,
reading own voices authors,
reading books from other cultures and countries.



white 2022 on a blue background surrounded by white sparklers

QOTD:

Do you have a reading resolution?
Do we share any resolutions?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

#6Degrees of Separation: From Rules of Civility to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

January 1, 2022

#6Degrees of Separation: From Rules of Civility to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

#6Degrees of Separation (collage of covers)

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Young women living in or near New York City (late 1800s to early 1900s)

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, and even though it’s not one of my favorite stories, I have an idea for a chain that features…

“Young women living in or near New York City from the late 1800s to the early 1900s…”

I love New York City and stories set there (or near there) in the late 1800s and early 1900s are fascinating!

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (cover) Image: a woman in a long dress lies back in a lounge chair and a man sits beside her.....drinks are on a small side tableEven though Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is beautifully written and has received high praise, I remember feeling rather meh about the story when I read it years ago.

Amazon Summary: “On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.”


the way of beautyFIRST DEGREE. From Rules of Civility, it’s an easy leap to another young woman living in New York City, Vera in The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio.

My Summary: “As a child in the early 1900s in New York City, Vera Keller falls in love with a childhood friend who is nine years older than she. Through the years, they remain close. Although Angelo acts like her older brother, Vera is convinced that someday they will marry. One day she is shocked when he introduces her to his fiance, Pearl. Despite her heartbreak, Vera and Pearl become friends and Pearl introduces her to the Suffragette Movement. As Vera becomes entangled in their lives, her love for Angelo never dies. As a result of her love for Angelo and her commitment to Pearl’s cause, Vera has many challenges and difficult choices to make. The latter half of the book is told from Vera’s daughter’s perspective. Her daughter, Alice, enjoys benefits from the Suffragette Movement but also faces her own challenges in caring for her ailing father and in choosing between two men whom she loves.” My review of The Way of Beauty.


The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (cover) Image: a woman in a yellow dress stands with an open book inside a large museum type roomSECOND DEGREE: Another story of a young woman living in New York City features Laura in The Lyons of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. One other fascinating aspect is that the setting features the New York Public Library.

My Summary: “Told in two timelines, The Lions of Fifth Avenue tells the stories of Laura Lyons (1913) and Sadie Donovan (1993) and their experiences at the New York City Public Library. In 1913, Laura’s husband is the superintendent of the library and their family actually lives in an apartment inside the library. Laura wants more from life and is bored at home with her two children, so she enrolls in journalism school and becomes involved with a radical group of  women feminists meeting in Greenwich Village. Meanwhile, valuable books are stolen from the library and her family is under suspicion. In 1993, Sadie is the Curator at the New York City Public Library and also shares a secret connection with the famous essayist, Laura Lyons. The library experiences the theft of a few valuable pieces and Sadie’s job is in jeopardy. Truths come to light regarding Sadie’s family history as the case is investigated.” My review of Lions of Fifth Ave.

(more…)