Happy midweek everyone! As it is midweek, it is also time for my first WWW Wednesday update for the year! 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?

My current read is Anne Tyler’s Redhead by the Side of the Road. This is my fourth work by the same author although it has been nearly a decade since I last read one of her works. The book, published in 2020, was also longlisted for the 2020 Man Booker Prize. The novel brings me back to Baltimore, a place I visited through the other Tyler novels. I haven’t made much of a progress though. If there is one thing I love about Tyler’s prose is her ability to make something extraordinary out of the mundane. As she has exhibited in Breathing Lessons and The Accidental Tourist, quotidian conversations and events are microcosms for wonderful stories.

What have you finished reading?

This past week, I managed to complete three novels. The first novel was my current read in my last WWW Wednesday update, Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. It recounts the story of Count Alexander Rostov. Following the demise of the Romanov dynasty, Count Rostov was arrested by the Bolsheviks. A Bolshevik tribunal ruled out that he is an unrepentant aristocrat. He would have been meted the biggest imaginable punishment – death – had he not had in his possession a poem of “patriotism”. The death sentence was commuted to a house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel within a striking distance of the Kremlin. While in house arrest, Rostov becomes acquainted with the hotel’s staff and denizens. What follows is a wonderful tale of friendships, and personal development juxtaposed on a tumultuous phase in Russian history. It was a slow burner but I ended up liking Towles’ prose.

From post-Romanov Russia, my reading journey transported me next to ancient Greece. The Song of Achilles is a title that I have been reluctant to read, at first. Actually, I was reluctant reading works incorporating mythology. Things changed after I read another Miller novel, Circe, late in 2018. I enjoyed how Miller retold the story of Circe, a witch often vilified in the modern text. The Song of Achilles seemed a logical read then. In her debut novel, Miller puts her own spin to the popular story of Achilles through the perspective of Achilles’ best friend, Patroclus. Whilst both are equally enchanting, I find The Song of Achilles more dense compared to Circe. Nevertheless, I liked Miller’s intent of rewriting the stories of characters in mythology we often dismiss or forget about. She offers a fresh perspective beyond what has been told and retold over the years.

My last read in the past week is one title I have been looking forward to for quite sometime. It was after reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz that I first encountered The Librarian of Auschwitz. Even though I didn’t know who Antonio Iturbe nor do I have an inkling on his narrative, I added the book to my (growing) reading list. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait that long to immerse in this narrative (obviously) set in the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. The titular librarian is fourteen-year-old Dita Adler, who was tasked by Fredy Hirsch to be the “librarian” of a small collection of books. The novel was based on the true story of Dita Krauss. During the reign of the Nazis, several books were banned, and those who were found in possession of them are meted with harsh punishments. Dita is the personification of indomitable courage, as she guards the family camp’s secret while fighting for her own survival.

What will you read next?

I haven’t made up my mind yet on what book to read next. However, Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty is a Wound is a likely candidate. It was just recent that I first heard of this Indonesian writer but he immediately piqued my interest. I also just recently bought Beauty is a Wound, which I ended up including in my 2021 Top 21 Reading List. It has been quite some time since I last read a novel by Egyptian Nobel Laureate in Literature Naguib Mahfouz. It would be great recalling his brand of prose. I am considering The Thief and the Dogs although I had Palace Walk and Palace of Desire longer. I haven’t read these two books because I still don’t have a copy of the third book in the trilogy.

Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!