My Sample Saturday spotlight this week is turned on three books that I never purchased myself. I either won them in a giveaway or they were given as a gift. As a reminder, Sample Saturday is where I look at all the books I own but have yet to read, and decide which to part company with and which to keep.
The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer. The blurb tells me that Otto Laird is an architect once renowned for his radical and controversial designs. Now he lives a quiet life communing with nature and writing eccentric letters to his friends, that he never posts. His peaceful existence is disrupted when he learns that his most significant and revolutionary building, a 1960s tower block estate in South London is set to be demolished.
I see that the book is described as a “charming debut that will restore your faith in second chances”, “funny and poignant.”. That doesn’t fill me with confidence. Books described as charming rarely hold much appeal for me.
I’ve applied my 30 pages test and the tone isn’t wowing me.
The Verdict: Set Free
The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sánchez. Translated from Spanish by Lucy Greaves
And now for the book with the longest title in my collection. I can’t remember how I came to own this one. It’s a hardback edition so I’m unlikely to have bought it for myself.
Goodreads describes it as “A fiendishly fun and charming novel” Oh dear, that word charming again. I’d be tempted to let this one go but for the blurb inside the front cover. It begins: “Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey and a favourite book.”
A man after my own heart in fact.
It might be the most ridiculous idea to base my decision on a fictitious character’s tea drinking habits, but I’m tempted. I can tell from the first few pages that it will be a light read but maybe that’s just what I’ll need in coming months.
The Verdict: Reprieve
Overdrawn by N J Crosskey
This one turned up in a Secret Santa with some bookstagrammers in Wales. It’s a sombre dystopian novel that follows a couple in their 60s who are battling against serious health issues. The setting is Britain, a country where the health service has been privatised and ill and elderly citizens are encouraged to “Move On” – a euphemism for euthanasia.
The Guardian chose this as a book of the month and described it as ” often a harrowing read, though one which offers redemption and a modicum of hope.”
This could be a challenging read but one that asks some searching questions about our attitudes to care for older people. Not one I can face reading in the current climate but I’m putting it back on the shelves for when I feel more mentally equipped
The Verdict: Reprieve
So that’s one more less on the TBR shelves. I’ll give the other two a reprieve for a year – if I haven’t read them a year from now, they’ll be given away too. Did I make the right choices?? What would you save from these three??