Happy midweek everyone! The holiday season is just around the corner, and beyond that, we are days away from welcoming a new year. Time does fly fast! I just hope that we spend the last days of 2021 healing from the pains of the past years. I also hope that all your prayers were already answered. I also pray that you are all doing well and are healthy amidst the threat of a new COVID19 variant.

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?

With the year slowly coming to a close, I have been focusing on my reading list. My (hard work) and cramming finally paid off as I completed all the books in my 2021 Top 21 Reading List today; I completed James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain earlier today. With the completion of two of the four reading challenges, I am now shifting my focus on another reading challenge that I deem is more realistically achievable, my 2021 Beat The Backlist Challenge. I have down to my last four books in the challenge and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep is one of these four remaining books. It was in 2018 that I bought The Big Sleep even though I barely had any iota on what the book was about. I haven’t read any of Chandler’s works either. Nevertheless, I am always up for a new adventure, which I just commenced earlier today. I have completed three chapters so far but I was already introduced to who I assume is the main character of the novel, Philip Marlowe, a sleuth. He was hired by the anonymous “General” to do some job for him. I think this is going to be the heart of the novel. I will probably share more of my insights in this week’s First Impression Friday update. That is if I am not done yet with the book for it does seem like a quick read. I also tend to read mystery novels quickly; I can’t bear the tenterhook.

What have you finished reading?

After a couple of slow weeks, I finally managed to gain enough momentum to complete two books in the past week. Luckily, the two books I completed are two books that I love. The first one was Richard Adams’ Watership Down. As I have mentioned, it was a book that I used to be apprehensive about because of the wrong notion that it was a novel about the war. Later on, I learned how wrong I was, and to mend this misunderstanding, I bought a copy of the book and even included it in my 2021 Top 21 Reading List. Watership Down is the story of a group of rabbits. Having rabbits as the main characters belie the heavy subjects that the book dealt with; it was a book that is applicable for both children and adults. The story commenced when Fiver, a sort of an oracle, foretold the arrival of tragedy in their warren. He managed to convince Hazel to escape their warren. Along with a group of bucks, they escaped and tried to find a new suitable place where they can settle. This place was the titular Watership Down. As I have noted, it was no simple book for children for it grappled with subjects such as leadership, survival (and procreation), and even heavier themes of political nature. The life of rabbits depicted in the novel was also a projection of human history and societal structures. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel.

James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain is a title that I keep encountering on must-read lists. It was even listed as part of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. When I gained a copy of the book (alongside Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room), I immediately included it in my 2021 Top 21 Reading List. It was a semi-autobiographical novel that captured the story of the Grimes family. Their story commenced in the 1930s, with the firstborn John painting a picture of his tumultuous family life. The patriarch was Gabriel, a preacher with a temper, and the matriarch was Elizabeth. From the present, the story shifts to the past as the story of Gabriel and his sister, Florence, was evocatively told by Baldwin. Brother and sister grew up in the south before Florence, the elder child, decided to move to New York and leave her alcoholic brother and ailing mother. It was there that she met Elizabeth, whom she would introduce to her brother when Gabriel moved from the South to New York and join his sister. Family relationships were tenuous and domestic abuse abounded. While religion occupied a hefty chunk of the narrative, the novel remained an exploration of the profiles of the main characters. It was quite a unique reading experience worthy of its accolades.

Since I have started reading works of American literature, I have decided to line up two works of American authors. T. Coraghessan Boyle is a name that barely rang a bell to me until 2018 when I bought one of his books, Drop City. To my surprise, it was listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Nearly three years later, I listed the book as part of my 2021 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Unlike Boyle, I have become familiar with Colson Whitehead after reading his two Pulitzer Prize-winning works, The Underground Railroad and The Nickle Boys. I was surprised when I learned that he was publishing new work in 2021. Reluctantly, I purchased a copy of Harlem Shuffle, which I am hoping to read before the year ends.

Actually, my next goal, before the year ends, is to read as many 2021 books as possible because I have quite a lot in the queue. Apart from Harlem Shuffle, I am also looking at reading Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway, Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt, Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds, and Rachel Cusk’s Second Place.

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!