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What Are Buzz Residents Reading?: Q&A with Michelle Juden

Cindy Burnett
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Michelle Juden

Book influencer and Buzz resident Michelle Juden shares one of her latest favorite reads.

This week I interviewed Buzz resident Michelle Juden about what she has read recently and loved. Michelle is a book influencer whose reviews can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

She selected The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams, which is a favorite of mine as well. I included it as a September 2021 Buzz Reads and selected it as my neighborhood book club selection. Per the publisher, The Reading List follows widower Mukesh who lives a quiet life in the London Borough of Ealing after losing his beloved wife. Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before.

Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list, hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again. 

Newsweek accurately describes it as, “A quietly beautiful novel about the magic of books and the joy of human connection.” And author Imogen Clark raves about it: “A wonderful read about the fundamental power of books to lift our lives from the mundane and transform them into something truly magical.” The book is an ode to the power of books and community and is so worth the read.

Here is what Michelle has to say about it:

What is the best book you have read recently? 

It's really hard to pick a favorite but one book that has stuck with me recently is The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. It explores an unlikely friendship between 17-year-old Aleisha (who is in a tough place emotionally) and widower Mukesh who is grieving. Aleisha works in a library and finds a list of books tucked into To Kill a Mockingbird. The list is titled “Just in case you need it.” She hangs onto the list and, after a difficult encounter with new library-goer Mukesh who is looking for a book to read, she decides to use it for recommendations. This leads to a connection between the two that shows the power books can have 

What did you like about it? What made it stand out to you? 

I loved the multi-generational bond over books and the message that reading can help you connect with the world. This book reminded me that lessons can be learned from just about any book no matter the genre if you are willing to think about them. The Reading List was heartwarming and makes me so glad that I have found friends, book clubs, and a community that I can relate with over books!

How did you learn about the book? 

I have a lot of friends on Goodreads and I follow a lot of readers on Instagram, so I likely saw a review that peaked my interest. I really enjoy seeing what others are reading through these platforms.

What are you reading now? 

I am reading Reminders of Him, my first book to read by Colleen Hoover, and I am listening to The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn. Both are excellent so far!

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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