Leslie Shimotakahara, a young, disenchanted English professor, struggles to revive her childhood love of reading. Returning home to rethink her life, she bonds with her father Jack over discussions about the lives, loves and works of the novelists on their shared reading list – Wharton, Joyce, Woolf and Atwood, to name a few. But when their conversations about literature unearth some heartbreaking, deeply buried family secrets surrounding Jack’s own childhood – growing up Japanese-Canadian in the aftermath of World War II – Leslie’s world is changed forever. Could discovering the truth about her father’s past hold the key to her finally being happy in love, life and career?
The Reading List reveals how literature can sometimes help us expose our past, understand our loved ones and point us toward our future.
"An engrossing and charming memoir about getting back to basics: home truths, family, and the life-altering, life-saving power of books." â”Emma Donoghue, author of Room
”The Reading List brims with frankness, provocative wit and acute insights into our hearts and psyches. A journey into the dark night of the soul and into the light of love and reconciliation, it proclaims its relevance in myriad ways. It is the story of a young woman finding her footing in the present by exploring a painful past, accompanied by her father and guided by the literature she loves. It celebrates the power of that literature to illuminate our inner lives and crystallize our desires.“ â”Kerri Sakamoto, author of The Electrical Field
”I’ve read a lot of good memoirs, but it’s a rare talent that can weave together so many threads – family, love, literature, career angst – so effortlessly as Leslie does in The Reading List. She guided me through her life via the mirror of her favourite books and as I came to the end of The Reading List, I found that her own book had become just such a mirror for this reader.“ â”Micah Toub, author of Growing Up Jung