I’ve found three more candidates for scrutiny in Sample Sunday. This time I’m looking at book titles beginning with the letter N , trying to decide whether some of my older purchases no longer hold the same appeal and can be released to a new home.
Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
I must have been very keen to read this at some point because I have two copies.
Published in 1904, Nostromo is frequently described as one of Conrad’s finest works. According to the blurb it’s “Insistently dramatic in its storytelling, spectacular in its recreation of the subtropical landscape, this picture of an insurrectionary society and the opportunities it provides for moral corruption gleams on every page with its author’s dry, undeceived, impeccable intelligence.”
Such high praise surely cannot be ignored?
The Verdict: I’m keeping this one, curious how it will compare to Heart of Darkness; the the only Conrad novel I’ve read so far.
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
This is the second in a crime fiction series set in India in the early part of the twentieth century. I enjoyed the debut — A Rising Man — so much I immediately bought books two and three. My mistake was getting them in e-format. Everything I buy in that format tends to get forgotten about because they are not in my sight line.
This one is set in 1920 and involves an investigation into the assassination of a Maharajah’s son by Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee from the Calcutta Police Force. Their inquiries take them to the fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore, home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun.
The Verdict: I’ll keep this one and, book three of course. It will be interesting to compare this series with another I recently started which is set thirty decades later — Midnight at Malabar House.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
I found this in a little free library having heard it briefly discussed on a radio book programme. Either I wasn’t listening carefully enough or I missed a key part of the programme because I didn’t realise it was set in a Florida reform school where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife.
The Verdict: Let go. If the content was more about racial injustice I would keep it but I have very little ability to tolerate violence either in fiction or in films. I suspect I would struggle with the brutality depicted in this book.
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.