And it is midweek again! Happy Wednesday everyone! Today is the first Wednesday of August. Lately, I have been paying close attention to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, cheering for my countrymen. I am, after all, an avid sports fan; I used to be a sportswriter when I was in high school. With boxer Carlo Paalam winning his bout yesterday, assuring yet another medal for the country, Philippines has eclipsed its best medal output which was during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games. More importantly, Hidilyn Diaz took home the country’s first ever gold medal; you can’t imagine how elated I was when she managed to lift 127 kg. The Philippines is still in contention in two sporting events: boxing (with two assured bronze medals), and golf. I am wishing all Filipino athletes, and all the athletes the best.

That’s for my brief sporting update. Now, time to return to the purpose of this 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?

As I have mentioned last week, I still have a lot of appetite for works of Japanese literature, hence, my decision to extend it beyond July. Currently, I am reading the work of one of the new generation of Japanese writers who are making waves all over the world. I did purchase Sayaka Murata’s more renowned work, Convenience Store Woman, but I still opted to read Earthlings ahead of it; I guess I was in the mood for something weird. I do recall a fellow book blogger remarking that the book gave her so many WTF moments. And I can see why. Earthlings is the story of Natsuki, a woman who was born in a family which took her presence for granted. Her sister was always preferred over her, making her believe that she is not from this earth. She earnestly believes she is an alien and she grew up thinking that it is the truth. What did surprise me was how Murata grappled with sensitive and heavy subjects. I can’t wait to find out where this book will transport me to.

What have you finished reading?

Before immersing in the more contemporary work of Japanese literature, I was transported to early 20th century with Natsume Sōseki’s popular work, Kokoro. After Botchan, this was my second novel by the highly-heralded Japanese novelist. Just like most Japanese works of its time, it was published as a series before it got published as a whole novel. The narrative involves a young male university student and an older man he met while in vacation in Kamakura. He grew enamored by this older man and he started calling him as “Sensei”. As they started spending more time together, their friendship grew and more intimate. The anonymous narrator has become a fixture in the Sensei’s house, even exchanging intimations with the Sensei’s wife. Divided into three parts, the heart of the narrative lies in the last part. It was where Sensei wrote about his life, zeroing in on his friendship with K. Compared to Bothcan, Kokoro was more nostalgic and melancholic. Nevertheless, both displayed the beauty and complexity of Sōseki’s prose. I am still crossing my fingers on I Am A Cat, yet another popular work by Sōseki.

What will you read next?

I am planning to close my Japanese literature (extended) month with the work of a Nobel Prize in Literature winner (Japan’s second). I have been hesitant about Kenzaburō Ōe because he was a known critique of Haruki Murakami. However, reading The Silent Cry made me appreciate his prose and made me look forward to reading more of his works; I have actually bought three more of his works. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids was Ōe’s debut novel. This gives me more reason to look forward to it, apart from the fact that it was his only work listed as part of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

From almost two months of Japanese literary works, I will start transitioning to books published this year. The first book that came to mind was Ashley Audrain’s The Push. Part of my 2021 Books I Look Forward To list, it was actually the first 2021 book that I purchased although I did end up reading Cherie Jones’ How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House first. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to what The Push has in store. I just might follow it up with Imbolo Mbue’s latest work, How Beautiful We Were or Jhumpa Lahiri’s Whereabouts. Nghi Vo’s The Chose and the Beautiful is also a great possibility.

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