Happy midweek everyone! 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?

After weeks of reading works nominated for the 2021 Booker Prize, I am now embarking on a new reading journey. Actually, the transition towards works of American literature commenced with Nathan Harris, The Sweetness of Water, the last book in my 2021 Booker Prize journey. Now, I have commenced reading Nobel Laureate in Literature Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. This is my fourth Hemingway but is my first since For Whom the Bell Tolls which I have read back in 2018. I have also listed the book as part of my 2021 Beat the Backlist challenge. However, I have only completed one chapter so far so I can’t offer much more insights for now. I will be sharing my impressions on this literary classic in my First Impression Friday update; that is if I haven’t completed it by then.

What have you finished reading?

For the first time in about three weeks, I managed to complete two books. The first of these two books is Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men. I have previously never heard of Mohamed nor have I encountered any of her works. However, the first time I across the novel in the longlist, I immediately added it to my growing reading list. My anticipation for the book doubled after it was announced as one of six shortlisted novels, making Mohamed the first Somali writer to be shortlisted for the prestigious literary award. My fourth book in the shortlist, The Fortune Men details the real life story of Mahmood Mattan, a Somali refugee who once haunted Cardiff’s Tiger Bay. He was the quintessence of a happy-go-lucky guy but he also deeply cares for his wife, Laura, and their three sons. His fate unraveled after he was accused of murdering a Jewish shop owner. It is an evocative story about the miscarriages of law borne out of malice. Whilst I understand that Mohamed endeavored to be faithful to the real events, I still wish that she expounded on the subject and incorporated her voice more.

As I have mentioned, I have temporarily ended my 2021 Booker Prize reading journey with Nathan Harris’ The Sweetness of Water; the other Booker Prize nominated books are still in-transit. It missed out on the shortlist but I was nevertheless looking forward to discover what Harris’ debut novel has in store. Like most of the books in the longlist, The Sweetness of Water is a work of historical fiction, transporting the readers to post-American Civil War Georgia, to the fictional town of Old Ox. The story commences with a couple, George and Isabelle, landowners whose only son, Caleb went to fight in the frontlines. After receiving the unfortunate news that their son perished, two newly freed Black slaves, Prentiss and his brother Landry, passed by their state. In an unexpected turn of events, George offered salary and a place to stay to the brothers. In return, they must help him cultivate the idle land. Harris worked on the typical elements of the American novel – politics, history, machismo, identity, among others – in coming up with an interesting debut work.

What will you read next?

With my transition to American literature, I have lined up an interesting mix of novels, starting with Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman. Published in 2015, the novel was marketed as the sequel to Lee’s timeless, and, so far, only literary work, To Kill A Mockingbird. Its publication, I have learned, was wrapped in controversy which turned off many a reader. It also made me hesitant but I am still curious what the novel has in store.

Next in line are writers whose works I have never encountered before. It seems that Don Delilio is as reclusive as Thomas Pynchon as I have never heard of him before. I was surprised to learn that he was (and is) considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature. With Cosmopolis (I have another Delilio novel but it is way thicker), I am hoping to get a grasp into Delilio’s body of work. I first came across James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain in must-read lists, such as the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. It is highly-regarded that it was no-brainer adding it to my reading list.

With these three books (four if you include The Sun Also Rises), I am ticking off books on my reading lists and reading challenges. The ever-popular, hitting two birds with one stone. As the year is drawing to a close, I am looking at completing my reading lists and reading challenges. 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!