Reading plans

Sample Sunday: Will Orphan Pamuk, Ann Patchett and B A Paris Get To Survive?

It’s on to the letter P in my trawl through my shelves of unread books. I do seem to have a lot of titles by authors whose name begins with that letter, including Orhan Pamuk, LouIse Penny, Barbara Pym and Ann Patchett. I’ve picked out three this week, deciding whether these are books I want to keep or move along to a more receptive home.

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Before I’d ever heard of Orhan Pamuk, I’d heard of this title. I could be wrong, but I think it’s the best known of his works. My copy is from a Secret Santa with some bookstagrammers in Wales a few years ago. I’ve hesitated to read it because Snow, the only other novel by Pamuk that I tried to read, didn’t grab me at all. But I’m reluctant to give this book away without at least trying it because it’s set in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire, a location and a historical period which sound fascinating.

The Verdict: Keep

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

This is a tale of a messy, complicated extended family that takes place over five decades. It begins with an adulterous relationship that causes the split up of two families whose lives we then follow, moving between homes in California and Virginia. This seemingly straight forward plot is used by Patchett to explore the meaning of that word ‘commonwealth’ – how far do the individuals concerned seek to serve the greater good by putting the wellbeing of a group (a family) above their individual interests.

The Verdict: I loved Bel Canto and enjoyed The Dutch House though not to the same extent. This is an author I’m keen to explore further.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

A psychological thriller about a couple who, to all outsiders, appear a perfect couple. He’s wealthy and good looking, she is charming and elegant. But there’s something not quite right. Grace never answers the phone, she never appears to have the time to meet friends for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. She can cooks elaborate meals but never seems to put on weight.

This book became a best seller when it was released i 2016, being compared to Gone Girl and Girl On The Train in terms of its levels of tension.

The Verdict: My appetite for this kind of book has dropped markedly over the years. I don’t even know why I bought this book. Easily one I can give away.

So that’s two to keep, one to give away.

Sample Sunday is when I take a look at all the unread books on my shelves and decide which to keep and which to let free. The goal isn’t to shrink the TBR as such, but rather it’s about making sure my shelves have only books I do want to read.What do you think of the decisions I’ve reached? If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear from you.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

15 thoughts on “Sample Sunday: Will Orphan Pamuk, Ann Patchett and B A Paris Get To Survive?

  • My husband was very disappointed by Bel Canto and decided not to read any more of her books. He wasn’t very discerning, so I don’t think I’ll be reading her books.

    • I learned today that she is coming to do an author event locally next month so I might read Commonwealth just to be up to speed on her work

  • I have loved several books by Patchett, but this one was a huge disappointment for me, especially as for the quality of the writing.
    I still need to try Pamuk

  • I enjoyed Commonwealth if that’s any help. And I keep meaning to read Snow.

    • Good to have insight from others even if the opinions do vary 🙂

  • I wasn’t really a fan of ‘Snow’ either, but found ‘My Name is Red’ especially interesting because of the different view of art and how to look at artwork that has such a dissimilar premise from what we’re used to quite eye-opening.

    • I do enjoy books with an art theme so I’m encouraged by your insight on what you enjoyed most about the book

    • Interesting to see how opinions are varying on this book

  • I totally agree with your judgment on these. I haven’t read Pamuk myself, although I’m always meaning to do so, and, like you, find Istanbul under the Ottomans a fascinating setting for a novel. Providing there’s shelf room, that one’s a keeper. As for Ms. Patchett, Bel Canto seems to overshadow everything else she’s done. A shame, really, as so many of her novels are great. I’ve read Commonwealth and enjoyed it very much; on my scale I’d rank it slightly below The Dutch House (which I thought was extremely well done). Behind Closed Doors, your third novel, sounds pretty pedestrian albeit in a trendy sort of way. Even with ample shelf space, I’d probably chuck it as well!


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