Wow. Time flew past. Literally. It just felt like yesterday when November started but now it is about to end. It is already December next month! The year is drawing to a close and I hope everyone is doing well. I hope that the last stretch of 2020 will be filled with enthusiasm and positivity, in preparation for a bigger and better 2021.
Midweek also means another 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?
In one of the rare moments in my reading life, I am actually reading two novels simultaneously.
The first novel I am reading is Susanna Clarke’s latest novel, Piranesi. This is my 799th novel (and nth book). This is also my second Clarke novel, after reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell back in 2018. Piranesi is set in a fictional world and from the sound of it, it is subterranean ala-The Starless Sea. Piranesi is also the main narrator of the story but it is the nickname given to him by his only companion in the great halls of whatever world they are in. There is also some mystery involved and I am as confused as Piranesi with the pronouncements of the Other and of what is happening around him. I can’t wait for the mystery to unfold!
The second book I am reading is Hungarian writer Péter Nádas’ Parallel Stories. Until last year’s mad dash towards the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Péter Nádas was a name I have never read or heard of before. He was tagged by many a literary pundit as one of the possible winners. He lost but his name made an impression on me so when I came across one of his works in the bookstore, I immediately purchased it (plus it was sold at a discounted price). The book is a historical fiction that revolves around World War II. Also part of my 2020 Top 20 Reading List, it is a title I deem fitting to be my 800th read.
What have you finished reading?
With my regained reading momentum, I managed to complete two more books this past week, two books which recently made my TBR list.
The first book I completed is Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom. Earlier this year, I read the Ghanaian writer’s debut novel, Homegoing. I loved the story and when I learned she was going to release a new work later in the year, I immediately signed up for it. On my recent visit to the bookstore, I immediately grab the only copy of the book on display. Transcendent Kingdom relates the story of Gifty, the daughter of Ghanaian migrants living in Alabama. It is a book about coping with grief with a healthy sprinkling of unconventional subjects such as neuroscience, and religion.
The hype around Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is too much for me not to notice. It has also received several positive feedback from fellow book bloggers, hence, its inclusion to my TBR list. It is the story of the Vignes twins, Desiree and Stella, who ran away from their mother and small town upbringing when they were just 16 years old. The typical Deep South novel, it deals largely on race and identity, with a huge part focusing on the latter. It introduces the sociological concept of “passing”, or the ability of being able to successfully immerse in a different community or social class different from one’s own. Although I did like the subjects the novel dealt with, I felt that the exploration of these subjects was a little contrived, if not lacking. It reaches a certain point but never percolates to its full potential. I, however, commend the potential of Bennett’s prose.
What will you read next?
Reading Parallel Stories is going to be a Herculean task; it is, after all, over a thousand pages long! Haha. I am looking forward to the journey and experience though.
After Parallel Stories, my journey is making me pivot towards two more “new books”, two books that were also recently added to my TBR list. I added Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown after it won the National Book Award for Fiction over the weekend. However, I have no expectations of the book yet; maybe that is better. The second book is a book I was reluctant to read. Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations is a highly-praised book but I was reluctant at first because it was about, well, animal migration. I changed my mind and purchased a copy of the book, together with Interior Chinatown, online. I just received the parcel today! That was really quick.
Not once did I consider 2020 shaping up to be a “new” books year, especially for a a backlist reader like me. I have read nearly doubled my previous output of new books, 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!