Book Review: While You Were Reading

The famous Melbourne-based nerdy best friends Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus are back with their second book: While You Were Reading. And they don’t disappoint us, yet again!

Have you ever wished to undo a few situations from your life? The ones that you never ever wish to go back to, even in the memory lane? If your answer is yes like mine then you’ll be able to relate what Beatrix Babbage has to say in While You Were Reading.

Here’s a book that loves books! A perfect rom-com for those who’re forever entangled in the world of words. Talks about friendship that goes terribly wrong, love that confuses and terrorise you in mid-20s, and a classic career crisis venom. 

The novel opens with a 29-year-old bookworm from Perth; Beatrix Bea who is on bridesmaid duty for her best friend Cassandra’s wedding, laying an inadvertent confession that results in wrecking her friend’s hour-old marriage. Following which, Bea decides to leave the city and start afresh in Melbourne. A city where she has no friends, no job and thankfully no painful memories. Like a dutiful friend she sends daily messages to her best friend, in an attempt to ask for forgiveness and reunite with her, at the same time she’s also hoping for cupid to strike and make her love life a lot better than nothing.

Few months later…

Life is as monotonous for Bea as ever. Her job is dead-end. She’s lonely. Her love life refuses to start and her only constants are her books, her cleaning lady and Dino, who’s an aspiring poet and owner and barista of The Nook near her office. Seeking solitude in books, Bea often hops into plenty of bookshops. And it is there when she finds some personal inscriptions tugged inside the second-hand book ‘Meeting Oliver Bennett’, that gives some purpose to Bea’s life. Determined to unravel the mystery writer, Bea comes on Instagram and joins the vast family of #Bookstagram.

It is also the same time when Love decides to enter her life in the form of Zach; who claims to have written all those intriguing annotations in Meeting Oliver Bennett. Needless to guess, Bea falls deep drunk in love with this charming man before she gets to know the heartbreaking reality that swipes off the mask around Zach.

Bea’s love of reading is very much a reflection of its authors Berg and Kalus’ personality, who are the real founders of ‘Books on the Rail Project’; an interesting concept where books are left on a public transport for people to read and pass on again.

While You Were Reading is ridiculously funny and insightful, explores the deep-rooted importance of friendship and stresses pretty much on the virtues of the reality of life depicting no such thing as perfection, how with just a simple slip-of-tongue moment one can create havoc in someone’s life.
And if you happen to love Melbourne then it’s a bonus, as the city jumps page to page in it! 💕

There are moments when your heart would bleed hard for Bea, who is left heartbroken and shattered after her best friend’s ugly revenge on her, knocking her confidence off. But what I appreciate the most about this book is its undeniable tribute to the world of books. It’s definitely our comfort book of the month that has nicely struck a balance between the two most essential aspects of every bibliophile; books and romance.