Happy Wednesday everyone! Despite the challenging times, we made it through the first six months of the year. I hope you are all doing well, in body as well as in mind, despite the uncertainty of our circumstances. With the midweek is 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?

My pivot towards Japanese literature is now in full swing. If there is one part of the literature world that I won’t tire going back and forth it would be Japanese literature (and Russian literature). The vastness of Japanese literature riveted me in and the more I dig deeper into this section of the literary world, I keep on uncovering gems. One of the books that have become familiar over the years is Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. I kept on encountering the book in many a must-read list but I was ambivalent at first. The title didn’t invite curiosity. But after fellow readers recommended the book, I changed my mind and find out what the book has in store. I am yet to start the book as I just completed Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to this new adventure.

What have you finished reading?

A part of my 2021 Top 21 Reading List, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters is a title I have been looking forward to for the longest time. After encountering it in several must-read lists, I just knew I have to read it. It did take some time but I finally got the opportunity to read it. The Makioka Sisters transported me to pre-World War II Japan, in particular to Osaka and Kobe where I was introduced to the four Makioka Sister – Tsuruko, Sachiko, Yukiko and Taeko. Since they have lost their parents, the ultimate authority in the family rested on Tsuruko’s husband, Tatsuo’s shoulders, Tsuruko being the senior sister and Tatsuo adopted into the Makioka clan to preserve the family name. Whilst the novel explored a plethora of subjects and themes, most of its was anchored on the process of selection of a suitable husband for Yukiko. I did enjoy the novel’s exploration of a conservative Japanese culture and the transition towards a more liberal lifestyle through the story of the four sisters. The Makioka Sisters is indeed a classic.

What will you read next?

Just like Kitchen and The Makioka Sisters, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police is also a part of my 2021 Top 21 Reading List. I immediately fell in love with Ogawa’s The Professor and the Housekeeper when I read it last year. However, The Memory Police, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker International Prize, is a stark dichotomy from the slice-of-life I read last year. Nevertheless, in reading a different section of Ogawa’s prose I am hoping to get a deeper insight into her body of work. What also piqued my interest is the Japanese interpretation of scientific fiction; this is again a testament to the vastness of Japanese literature. After The Memory Police, I am looking at Kobo Abe’s The Woman in the Dunes. I have not read any of Abe’s works before but The Woman in the Dunes is a title that I kept encountering in must-read lists and online booksellers. Abe has also established quite the reputation amongst Japanese writers for his modernist and surrealistic approach to storytelling.

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