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Sample Sunday: 3 eBooks

My Sample Sunday spotlight this week is turned on three books that are languishing on my eReader.

As a reminder, Sample Saturday is where I look at all the books I own but have yet to read, and decide which I should part company with and which I should keep.

I used to read a fair number of ebooks, not because I enjoyed the experience, but simply because they were much more convenient to take with me on work trips overseas. Now I’m retired, I no longer have to worry about carrying heavy books with me. Consequently, my list of unread ebooks just gets longer and longer.

These three books were all bought more than five years ago.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Who is the real Elena Ferrante? That was the big question a few years ago, a mystery that no doubt helped sales of her (or should that be his?) “Neopolitan Quartet”. My Brilliant Friend is the first of the quartet, a coming of age story of two best friends from their early life in a poor neighbourhood of Naples. .

The relationship aspect of the story wasn’t the attraction for me. I was more interested in the Italian setting. It was simply an excuse to reminisce about holidays from long ago. and are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. But I’ve never even opened the book and now that a return trip to Italy looks increasingly unlikely this year, the book has lost its appeal.

If you’ve read this, do tell me what you thought about it – is it worth reading?

The Verdict: Undecided

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Picked for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, Ruby is a debut novel about a young girl who tries to escape the suffocating atmosphere of her small community in Texas. Forced to return she relives the abuse she once suffered. Is she strong enough to survive in a town that wants to destroy her?

It sounds like a powerful novel. I’ve seen it described as “Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.”

The one thing holding me back is that it apparently contains some elements of magical realism. That’s not usually my kind of thing but I’m going to take a chance on this one.

The Verdict: Keep

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

I have this book purely because it was on the Booker shortlist in 2015, a time when I liked to read a few of the contenders. But I never got around to it, finding it hard to summon up enthusiasm for a book described as “Semi-random musings on various oddities of modern life.”

It’s hard to find a coherent summary of what this book is about. My best attempt would be that Satin Island is about a person named U who researches products and services from an anthropological view and deduces meanings from his research. It’s not a book of events or page-turning plot; more of a collection of random thoughts and ideas.

It sounds dreadful. 

The Verdict: Discard

So that’s one fewer book on the TBR shelves this week. Maybe two depending on your insight about the Elena Ferrante.

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