Reading plans

Sample Sunday: Relationships in China, Columbia, India

it’s been a while since I did a Sample Sunday post where I look at the hundreds of unread books on my shelves and decide which to keep. I’ve bought so many new books in the last few weeks that I have completely run out of space— every bookcase in the house is jammed full.

It’s time to decide which of the older purchases have lost their appeal and can be released to a new home. The three books I’m choosing to sample here are set in China, Colombia and India

Little Gods by Meng Jin

Meng Jin’s debut novel follows a young girl’s attempt to understand why her physicist mother was so determined to erase her past. It’s a novel about obsession, secrets and motherhood and how a woman’s stellar career in China ends up in ruin.

The Verdict: Maybe. The setting and time period is appealing (the book begins with the Tiananmen Square massacre) but I’m hesitant. I’ve seen numerous comments that the narrative is hard to follow and contains a lot of scientific references. Discontinuous narratives I can manage but science and me do not make for happy bedfellows.

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez 

A much lauded novel about a Colombian love triangle from a Nobel prize winner. I struggled to read it once, many years ago, and abandoned the effort but I’ve changed and my reading have changed so I think it’s worth another attempt.

The Verdict: Keep.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013, Lahiri’s novel begins with two brothers who grow up in Calcutta during the 1950s and 60s. But as their lives take different paths the novel focuses on the brother who moves to the USA and ends up in an unhappy marriage with his brother’s widow.

The Verdict: Let go. Reviews I’ve read indicate that after a promising start, the novel goes downhill, becoming “a glum narrative of withdrawal, rejection, isolation and guilt.” (The Guardian)

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

14 thoughts on “Sample Sunday: Relationships in China, Columbia, India

  • Hi. I remember reading that Lahiri, for reasons I don’t recall, learned to speak and write in Italian not all that many years ago. And after mastering the language she wrote a book in Italian. Some people love to challenge themselves on a very large scale. Neil S.

    • I can’t remember why she chose to learn Italian either. I believe she has also acted as a translator for one or two novels written by other authors

  • Love in the time of cholera….I feel the same way. I have it, I want to read it, I can’t let it go but here it sits. Lol

    • I might set myself a deadline – if I haven’t read it by this time next year, I will let it go.

  • I have two or three GGM fiction titles waiting, including this one, but I’m currently preferring to read shorter works so maybe this one not yet.

    • Maybe not yet is how I feel often when looking through the bookcase for my next read. Then the little voice in my head comes back with “If not now, when?” To which I have no reply

  • I loved Love in the Time of Cholera. It’s a book for romantics, so perhaps you’ve got to be in love to really enjoy it.

  • I completed Love in the time of cholera, and can’t see the charm. One hundred years of solitude was a much better read for me.

  • I’m so relieved you once abandoned Love In The Time Of Cholera . So did I once, and it’s been my guilty secret ever since. Let me know if you do take it up again and I might join you.


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