Sample Sunday is when I dig into my virtual and physical TBR, trying to decide which books to keep and which to let go. The idea is to help make sure I am giving shelf space to books I’m genuinely interested in reading. I’m now onto books whose titles begin withe letter W. i know we still have a few days of summer remaining but the shelves tell me it’s winter…..
World’s End by Upton Sinclair
When I bought this back in 2020 I didn’t realise it was the first part of a series which Goodreads describes as a “monumental series that brings the first half of the twentieth century to vivid life. A thrilling mix of history, adventure, and romance,” By monumental they weren’t just thinking about scope (it deals with the political history of the Western world, particularly Europe and America from the early 1910s to 1947). There’s also the question of the number of pages.
There are 11 books in all — mostly now out of print — featuring the character of Lanny Budd, a suave art dealer who finds himself in the middle of dramatic events. World’s End alone is 900 + pages in my e-book edition and if they’re all about the same length that’s an awful lot of pages.
Some reviews on Goodreads mention that it’s a well-researched insight into American history in the twentieth century. I’m woefully ignorant on that front so maybe this could be a way to fill in some gaps. .
The Verdict: Keep for now. I’ll try a few chapters to decide if I like the style. If not, it can be released.
Winter Men by Jesper Bugge Kold
Another historical fiction novel set against the background of the 1940s. Published in danish in 1972, the English edition didn’t materialise until 2016. The “men” of the title are brothers who are haunted by guilt over their involvement in the Nazi regime. One was a soldier, the other was coerced into informing for the Gestapo.
The Verdict: Do I need another book about the atrocities of World War 2? Part of me thinks no. But I also realise I’ve read very little on this topic as seen from German eyes. So I might be interesting. It’s a maybe though because it will come down to the writing style.
Winter by Ali Smith
I held off reading Smith’s season-related novels until all four had been published. Now I’m not sure i want to read any of them! I did try Autumn but it didn’t grab me so I laid it aside . As time has progressed I haven’t felt an urge to pick it up again which makes me question if there is any point in keeping Winter? Can the books be read independently or are they connected in some way?
The Verdict: I’m unsure what. to do about this one. I’ve read two previous novels by Ali Smith with mixed views. How to Be Both was excellent but I didn’t much care for NW. Is Winter going to be the book that turns me into an Ali Smith fan?
What do you think of the decisions I’ve reached? I could do with some insight from people who have read any of these books. So please help me out by leaving a comment