Reading plans

Sample Sunday: Relationships Under The Spotlight

In my trawl through the shelves of my unread books, I’ve now reached authors whose surnames all start with the letter T. The three books I’ve chosen all deal with the issue of relationships.

Let’s see whether these are books I want to keep or move along to a more receptive home.

About The Night by Anat Talshir, translated by Evan Fallenberg

This novel (translated from the original Hebrew) is a story of a relationship frustrated by the Palestinian/Israeli divide. In 1947 Elias Riani, a Christian Arab born in Jerusalem, and Lila a Turkish-born Israeli Jew fall in love. They are forcibly separated by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The romance elements don’t hold great appeal but I’m more attracted by the setting and the fact the novel includes descriptions of Jewish and Arabic life.

This is a debut novel from a woman who is a highly respected investigative journalist and documentary producer in Israel.

The Verdict: Worth giving it a go I think.

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

I’ve no idea how I come to have this book on my shelves. It doesn’t sound my kind of book at all. The synopsis tells me it’s about a sixteen year-old girl who dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). But first she has to rescue her father from a manipulative and money-grubbing woman who could become her future step-mother.

I’ve seen this book described as “charming” , “inventive and richly comic”: all descriptions that do nothing for me.

The Verdict: Another one to set free

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

My last experience with Anne Tyler was her Booker listed A Spool Of Blue Thread. It was a beautifully written tale of a multi generational family yet left me feeling underwhelmed. I’m not willing to give up her yet so I’m hoping that The Accidental Tourist will be more rewarding. This is again a character study, this time of a man whose marriage has broken down under the strain of coping with the loss of a son, leaving him to move in with with his sister and two brothers.

Liz from Adventures in Reading, has been doing an Anne Tyler re-read project this year. She enjoyed The Accidental Tourist, describing it as “a comic book that’s also moving, a book with a dark heart that shadows it,…” Sounds promising.

The Verdict: Keep

So that’s one down, two to remain. All the progress I’ve made with clearing out books I’m no longer interested in reading, has helped make more space for a lot more new acquisitions.The stack of ‘owned but unread” books is down about 30 from last year’s total but of course there are likely to be a few newcomers arriving in a few weeks.

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

4 thoughts on “Sample Sunday: Relationships Under The Spotlight

  • YES Accidental Tourist was my first Anne Tyler and still one of my favorites!

  • I have to admit I do struggle with Anne Tyler books. And your Sample Sunday this year has inspired me to start my own investigations of my bookshelves – which are crammed. I have a whole bookcase of ‘unread’, both because of lack of time and/or interest.

    • The Sample Sunday exercise has been a great way to sift out those books that no longer have the same appeal they did when I bought them

  • Yes! That’s one of Tyler’s good ones and you can consider yourself to have joined in with that bit of my project, even if you read it in a while!


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