It’s already midweek. It also means one thing – 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:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What have you finished reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What are you currently reading?

It was earlier this year when I read Ghanaian-born writer Yaa Gyasi’s debut debut novel, Homegoing. It was a book that I heard so many good things about but still a book I was reluctant to touch or buy. I was glad I overcame my reluctance for it is one of my favorite reads this year. Imagine my excitement when I heard that she is going to release a new work this year. I immediately added it to my TBR list and thankfully, I was able to purchase a copy of it this weekend.

Transcendent Kingdom is the story of Gifty and her family. Her parents, Chin Chin Man and The Black Mamba (these are nicknames), migrated from Ghana to Alabama before Gifty was born. She also has a brother she nicknamed Buzz. In a way, Transcendent Kingdom is different from Homegoing although both novels study heritage and identity. Whilst the latter was more raw, the former integrated technical elements of neuroscience and medicine. Transcendent Kingdom also had several elements of religion. I’m curious how it is all going to pan out.

What have you finished reading?

In the past week, I managed to read three novels. The first of these three is Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi’s third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji, a title I was highly anticipating for because of Emezi’s debut novel, Freshwater which I loved. This novel revolves around the life of the young Vivek Oji. His story was related by his friends and his cousin, Osita, who were essentially his family. He has learned to distance himself from his Indian-born mother Kavita and Nigerian native father Chika. This is a timely and relevant novel that explores identity and sexuality in a conservative and traditional environment. It, however, lacked the inventiveness that Freshwater possessed. It was still a good read though

Megha Majumdar’s debut novel, A Burning, is another title I was looking forward to this year; in fact, it is part of my 2020 Books I Look Forward To list. The narrative revolves around a “terrorist” incident that occurred in the slums of Kolkata, India. A passenger train caught fire, killing over 100 passengers aboard. Jivan, a young Muslim woman was accused to be the perpetrator because of pieces of evidence linking her to a terrorist organization. This novel reminded me of Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. Both novels painted the current situation of India, maximizing the social, cultural, and political issues that abound in the world’s second most populous nation. Whilst they carry important messages, I feel like that literature was forsaken in exchange for social and political commentaries.

Speaking of commentaries, here is another novel that heavily relied on them. A Woman is No Man is Palestinian-American writer Etaf Rum’s debut novel. It draws inspiration from her experiences as a young Palestine woman growing up in contemporary Brooklyn while being raised by highly conservative and traditional parents. A Woman is No Man integrates the migrant narrative, the American dream, and the Arab experience to generate a universal voice that resonates all throughout. Despite the importance of the message Rum tried to convey, I felt that the execution was lacking and the repetition of scenes weighed heavily on my overall appreciation of the story.

What will you read next?

This weekend, I dropped by the bookstore (surprise, surprise). I had other titles in mind but they were not available. Since I was looking for newly published books anyway, I decided to buy these two novels, (and Transcendent Kingdom). I am already familiar with Susanna Clarke as I have read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in 2018. At over 1,000 page, it is one of my longest reads. Thankfully, Piranesi is a quarter of it. Brit Bennett’s debut novel, The Vanishing Half, has received several positive feedback from fellow readers the world over. It is for this reason that I added it to my TBR list. It is also included as part of many 2020 Best Books List. I am looking forward to reading these two books before the month ends.

Whoa, 2020 has shaped into a “new” books list. As I have mentioned before, I am a backlist reader, for obvious reasons. I read less than 10 “new” books but in 2020 I have read nearly double of my previous output. And I am still looking forward to reading some 2020 books! Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!