Happy midweek everyone! Today also happens to be the first Wednesday of October and in a couple more of weeks, we will all be welcoming a new year. How time flies but before the year ends, I hope you reap the benefits of everything you worked hard for this year. More importantly, I hope you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit.

As it is Wednesday, I am going to share a new 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?

I am now in the last stretch of my 2021 Booker Prize reading journey although I still have a couple more to read before I can complete all thirteen books in this year’s longlist. Currently, I am reading my seventh book from the longlist; I am halfway there! This year is, so far, the most successful in terms of the Booker Prize. Sunjeev Sahota’s China Room is yet another work of historical fiction; the longlist has several of them. It means that, even though this is my first Sahota novel, I still feel at home. Anyway, the narrative begun in the early 20th century with Mehar, a young Punjabi bride, was married, along with her sisters-in-law to three brothers in a single ceremony. It is, from what I understand, something common in their culture. Filipinos would baulk at this prospect (superstitious beliefs). However, none of the three young women has an idea on who her husband is. As they try to decode the puzzle, the storyline then jumps into the contemporary (late 20th century) as a young man travels to his native of India. I am barely a hundred pages into the story but I very excited on how it will unfold.

What have you finished reading?

I have learned that China Room does have some biographical elements. Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men also accounts real events that transpired in the 1960s. When her book was longlisted, Somali-British Mohamed made history as the first Somali writer to be nominated for the Booker Prize. She took it a step further as her novel was announced as one of six shortlisted novels, making The Fortune Men my fourth book from this year’s shortlist. The novel accounts the story of Mahmood Mattan, a young Somali man who sought refuge in Cardiff, Wales after years of traveling through the African continent and sailing around the world. In Cardiff, he met and married Laura. Together, the young couple had three sons. Things, however, started going south for Mahmood (or “Moody” as Laura calls him). Laura left him, together with their sons, to live with her parents. But it was only a foreshadowing as Mahmood soon finds himself in prison for a crime he knows he didn’t commit. The novel started a little slow but it made up for it in the second half. It is an insightful and thought-provoking story that remains relevant in today’s context because of the prevalence of discrimination, and the miscarriages of law.

What will you read next?

Capping my extended 2021 Booker Prize reading month is Nathan Harris’ The Sweetness of Water. Like China Room, it is another work of historical fiction, making it my fifth in a row; my streak started with Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual. This time, the story will take me to the American Civil War. Historical fiction, I have observed, does exhibit preoccupation on wars and its evils. However, this is understandable for even in the contemporary, wars, discords and disagreements remain prevalent. In a way, The Sweetness of Water is also serving as a primer to American literature, the next part of the vast literary world I am setting my eyes on. The first novel I have in mind is Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. This will be my fourth from the Nobel laureate in literature and my first since 2018 (For Whom the Bell Tolls).

After The Sun Also Rises, I have Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain, Don Delilio’s Cosmopolis, William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and T.C. Boyle’s Drop City. If there is something these books have in common (apart from being works of American literature) is that they are part of my 2021 reading lists. With the year drawing to a close, I am shifting my focus to ticking off books on my reading lists. That’s it for this week’s WWW Wednesday. I hope you are all doing great. Happy reading and always stay safe! Happy Wednesday again!