And just like that, another month has passed us by. Wow. Nine months have already gone; we’re already on the last quarter of the year. I know that we are all living in an uncertain time but I hope and pray that everyone is doing well. Let’s rock the last three months of the year!
Since it is a Wednesday, it is also time for a WWW Wednesday update! WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme originally hosted by SAM@TAKING ON A WORLD OF WORDS. The mechanics for WWW Wednesday is quite simple, you just have to answer three questions:
- What are you currently reading?
- What have you finished reading?
- What will you read next?
What are you currently reading?
Mexican Gothic is my second Silvia Moreno-Garcia in a week. I just discovered here this year but I am already off to my second. Actually, I wasn’t keen on reading any of her works but after encountering positive reviews of Mexican Gothic, her latest work, I finally decided to take a dip into her brand of literature. The first one (Gods of Jade and Shadows) was fine, not as explosive as I hoped it would be but it opened a door to curious reading. I have noticed both Mexican Gothic and Gods of Jade and Shadows incorporate dreams and dreamlike landscapes. Moreno-Garcia has a knack for description. I hope that Mexican Gothic is better than my first.
What have you finished reading?
For the first time in a long while, I am featuring four completed books.
The first book I completed this past week is Swedish writer Fredrik Backman’s Anxious People. It is his latest work and also my second Backman, after A Man Called Ove I’ve read earlier this year. I have to say I loved both books. Anxious People, however, careens to heavier subjects although the veneer and the humor belie such notions and presumptions. It also took time for the story to develop. It didn’t have my attention at the start, especially as it moves to and fro the past and the present. However, everything unraveled in the end and what surfaces is another heartwarming tale with a deep message about kindness and living as a human being in “idiotic” times.
My next read, Jokha Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies, took me to a small Omani village. I have always been curious about this book as it was adjudged the winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize. Before reading the novel, I was actually surprised that it got a very lowly average rating in Goodreads. Reading it made me agree with many readers. Celestial Bodies follow the childhood (slightly) and marriage life of three sisters. Alharthi weaves vivid details of Omani and Arabic culture in the novel. However, the characters failed to create a deep impression on me. The story felt a little rushed, and the different strands simply diverged and never converged. It was a little too abstract for me and I had to make a lot of guesswork.
After Sweden, and Oman, my next literary adventure transported me to Mexico. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is slowly gaining admirers from across the world with her mixture of folklore, myth, and various time periods. It was my curiosity that brought me to God of Jade and Shadow. My initial plan was to buy Mexican Gothic but since the bookstore didn’t have a copy available, I bought this one instead. The novel is good, not great but not bad either. It is about a Mayan god who was brought back to life by an unusual incident. The story then follows how the two protagonists journey across Mexico in order to retrieve the god’s throne. Some of the tropes were a little trite and the narrative reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
From the Yucatan Peninsula, I next hopped a plane to Florida where I met Elwood and Turner, the two main protagonists in Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys. A historical novel, it won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, earning Whitehead the distinction of being the fourth writer to win the prestigious literary prize at least twice. I wasn’t really keen on reading the novel, at first, until it won the Pulitzer Prize. I’m glad I did, read it that is. It was inspired by a read reform school that existed for 111 years, shuttered in 2011 following controversies that hounded it. It was a heavy and heartbreaking read and although the story did feel similar at some points, I am reminded of what I said after reading Art Spiegelman’s Maus: every story, no matter how generic, has to be heard.
What will you read next?
After the relatively “new” book month, I haven’t decided yet on what to read next or how my October reading month is going to shape up. But since I have immersed in more contemporary works these past few weeks, I am thinking of going back to the old reliable like Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The Sun Also Rises and Memories of My Melancholy Whores both look and sound like great reads.
And thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!