It’s midweek again and its the 23rd day of the last month of the year! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and many, I know, are excited despite the situation that we are in. I have but one wish for this Christmas – that this pandemic will end soon so that we can all live normally again, perhaps not the way it was before but at least a semblance of it. For the first time in years, I will not be celebrating Christmas with my family but I will be celebrating it with hometown and high school friends. How about you friends, what do you have planned for Christmas? I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned.

As it is midweek, it is also time for 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:

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

What are you currently reading?

I just finished Cho Nam-joo’s Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 and I am about to embark on a new journey. My reading journey next takes me to the United States. However, the primary characters are not Americans, they are Palestinian immigrants. At the start of the year, I have included Sahar Mustafah’s latest work, The Beauty of Your Face in my 2020 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To List. It did take me months to avail a copy of the book but I am just happy I have received it. That means that of the 10 books I listed in my 2020 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To List, I would have read nine (the only exception is Julia Alvarez’s Afterlife). This is the best output I had since I started doing the Top 10 Books I Look Forward to List. Hopefully I will have a perfect year in 2021.

What have you finished reading?

I managed to complete three books this past week. It is the most I had in a week in quite sometime. The first of the three I have completed is the recently announced winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, Taiwanese-American writer Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown. The award-winning novel relates the story of Willis Yu, the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He is currently living in a fictional Chinatown somewhere in southern California. Willis Yu dreams of becoming a famed kung fu movie actor like Bruce Lee. However, such dreams are not accessible as he must work from being an Asian Generic Man One to Asian Generic Man Two and so on. The structure is quite interesting as it was written like a screenplay. The novel and its theme reminded me of C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills is Gold. Except for the setting and the storylines, both books narrate the Asian American immigrant experience.

From a movie like book to a magical and fantasy novel. I am certainly doing something right this year in terms of reading diversity. TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea flew under my radar, hence, its non-inclusion in my 2020 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To List. I did read several glowing feedback on the book but I was still ambivalent because the book cover made it look a little too childish, although the vivid colors piqued my interest. The novel’s main character is 40-year-old Linus Baker, a caseworker employed by the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. His mundane life would soon be unspooled when he was summoned by the Extremely Upper Management and gave him a highly confidential task – to investigate the Marsyas Island Orphanage. It was actually a good read for its heartwarming subject. The children were a delight. However, I wasn’t a fan of the writing and the romance was a little forced. It was still a good read though.

My reading journey next transported me to South Korea with Cho Nam-joo’s million seller Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982. It was a sensation in South Korea, the first million-copy seller since Kyung Sook-Shin’s Please Look After Mom. Even President Moon Jae-in was asking Koreans to embrace the book. Anyway, the novel takes a deep dive into the dysfunctional part of Korean society where sexism and inequality still persists in the contemporary. For a progressive nation, South Korea lags behind its peers in terms of equality. Patriarchy, although not as pronounced as it was in the past, still reverberates in the present. Kim Jiyoung would learn that her place in the world is not in the corporate ladder but in the household for that was what society taught her. The novel has a promising premise but, again, the writing was a little off. It was challenge making some emotional connections with the primary character. The novel also felt more like an article bereft of any literary nuances. It was, however, a realistic and seminal glimpse into South Korean society and a timely one as well, especially with the recent #MeToo movement.

What will you read next?

With 2021 just over the horizon, I am trying to complete as much book as I can. As 2020 shaped to be a “new” books year, most of the books I am looking forward to in the coming weeks are more 2020 books. I am just hoping I get to complete these three books in the coming days. I also have Jessica Jung’s Shine in line because, well you know, I am a KPop fan and I just couldn’t resist buying a copy of the book. To my defense, I read some positive reviews of the book from non-KPop fans so I am looking forward to it.

Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading! Happy Holidays everyone! Signing off from work for the next two days! Have a great one everybody!