Kicking off the first Monday of March with 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?
I am currently reading Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah. Shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize, it is an extension of my February Man Booker Prize month whilst simultaneously ushering in a new reading journey. My second work by Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah is the story of the fictional West African nation of Kangan (perhaps an allusion to his native Nigeria). The young nation just earned its independence from British rule and at its helm is Sam, a Sandhurst-trained military officer who installed himself as the president for life. Achebe immerses in the political atmosphere of Kangan through three friends – Chris Oriko, Beatrice Okoh, and Ikem Osodi. Unlike his debut novel, Things Fall Apart which depicted pre-colonial Nigeria, Anthills of the Savannah seems like the portrayal of a young nation still finding stability. At least, that is what I make of it nearly one-hundred pages into the story.
What have you finished reading?
I capped my February reading month with another Man Booker Prize-winning work. The winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi is perhaps more renowned for its movie adaptation. It is the story of young Piscine Molitor Patel. Mocked for his unusual name – he was named after a Parisian swimming pool, of all things – he eventually took the initiative and changed it to “Pi.” His family owns a zoo in the special Indian territory of Pondicherry. When Prime Minister Indira Ghandi declared “The Emergency”, the family boarded the Tsimtsum, together with their animals, to move to Canada. A few days after embarking from Manila, their ship sank. Only Pi and a motley crew of animals, including the fearsome Royal Bengal tiger Richard Parker, managed to survive in a lifeboat. It is a philosophical novel that makes you ask the right questions.
From a sunken ship, my next journey next brought me to Zimbabwe, to the neighborhood of Budapest where a young girl named Darling was enjoying her life as a young girl, together with her friends. NoViolet Bulawayo’s 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlisted debut work, We Need New Names, is a coming-of-age narrative that deals with the African diaspora to America. When Darling was picked up by her Aunt Fostalina to live with them in Michigan, United States, she was filled with images of what the quintessential American Dream. However, the American Dream, she has learned, was not what it was cut out to be. I liked Bulawayo’s writing but I was having a challenging time with her aversion to quotation marks. It was a good story but predictable, and ultimately, middling. I liked how Bulawayo depicted Aunt Fostalina’s role. Just because she works in America, her family thinks she has a good life and they expect that she will share all these goodness to them. But that is rarely ever the case; it mirrors the perception of Filipinos on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the burden they have to bear.
What will you read next?
As I have started the month with two novels by African writers, I have decided to immerse in African literature in March. I did have an African literature month last year and it has led me to amazing writers whose works made it to my all-time favorite works. I recently bought a copy of Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood although I barely have an iota on who she is. Reading reviews of her work quelled my reluctance so I am setting my eyes on it next. Another Nigerian author whose prose I have fallen in love with is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I loved Half of a Yellow Sun so it is but natural that I read her other works. I have read a lot about Americanah and I can’t wait to read it.
Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!