Happy midweek everyone! I hope you are all having a great day and a great week. The intense Manila heat is definitely making its presence felt. It is not helping that we are in the midst of our summer season. Nevertheless, I am wishing everyone a happy Wednesday! Wednesdays also mean 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?
My third read for the month is taking me to the Caribbean, in in Guadeloupe. Prior to 2019, I have never heard of Maryse Condé nor have I encountered any of her works. Following the progress of the Nobel Prize in Literature derby (if it can be called such), she was one of the favored names. Unfortunately, she did not win that year nor the succeeding year but this piqued my interest in her works. The moment I encountered one of her works, Crossing the Mangrove, during the 2020 Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, I did not hesitate in purchasing the book. I am about to start reading the book and I am very excited. I am looking forward to be enthralled by a writer that is still unfamiliar to me.
What have you finished reading?
So, I managed to gather a bit of momentum despite the busy week that was. I was able to read two books, the first of which is another “unfamiliar” writer in Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño. I have long been curious about his works but it wasn’t until 2020 that I managed to purchase one of his works, The Savage Detectives; I purchased another of his novels, 2666, later in the year. It is but fitting, I guess, to commence my venture into Latin American and Caribbean literature with a book I have been looking forward to and a writer whose prose I have never immersed in before. The Savage Detectives, at nearly 600 pages, is not an easy read. Divided in three sections, it follows the journey of two fledgling poets, Ulises Lima and Arturo Belano, as they embark on a journey to locate the long-lost poet Cesárea Tinajero. In between, the novel also chronicled the journey of Belano and Lima across Europe. With a Dickensian set of characters, the middle section of the novel, aptly titled The Savage Detectives, is comprised of interviews with various poets, writers, and other characters who have encountered Lima and Belano, the founding fathers of Visceral Realism. And yes, I have learned that Belano is the author’s alter ego. As a reading experience, it was unique, although complex at times.
From a gargantuan literary piece to a slimmer one, my next journey took me to Colombia, through Nobel Laureate in Literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novella, Memories of my Melancholy Whores. I actually read the book earlier this morning, just after waking up and is my fifth Garcia Marquez novel, making him my second most read Nobel Laureate in Literature after Kazuo Ishiguro, with seven. The novel has an interesting premise. It tells the story of an anonymous journalist who was on the cusp of his ninetieth birthday. A bachelor all his life, he decided to hire and make love to a virgin. Instead, he finds himself looking after a sleeping maiden. It did somehow remind me of another Nobel Laureate in Literature’s work, Yasunari Kawabata’s House of Sleeping Beauties although the Japanese novel was about insecure old men who were trying to relieve the best of their days, their virility. Albeit a bit discomfiting, I just wished Memories of Melancholy Whore was a little longer.
What will you read next?
I was supposed to be reading Augusto Roa Bastos’ I The Supreme but then I came across Crossing the Mangrove. Nevertheless, I am still intent on reading I The Supreme. Like most Latin American novelists, Roa Bastos is an unfamiliar name but the moment I encountered his book, I just knew I had to have it. Apart from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa is the only other writer in this list who I have read his works before. It has been about three years since I read my first Vargas Llosa and I guess the time is ripe to read my next book from the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature winner. Interestingly, I the Supreme and The Feast of the Goat are about dictators, with the former set in Paraguay and the latter in Dominican Republic. I can’t wait to read these books!
Thus concludes another WWW Wednesday update! I hope everyone is having a great midweek! Do keep safe and as always, enjoy reading!