Happy Wednesday everyone! How are you enjoying 2022 so far? I hope that you are all doing well and are all healthy despite the risks that surround us. I hope that the pandemic will end soon. I am also praying that 2022 will be a year of hope, healing, and recovery for everyone. I hope that it will be a great year.
As it is a Wednesday, it is time for 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:
- What are you currently reading?
- What have you finished reading?
- What will you read next?
What are you currently reading?
After two months of reading books released in 2021, I am shifting my focus to reading books written by women. This is in commemoration of International Women’s month. My current read is Toni Morrison’s Paradise. This is my second book by the Nobel Laureate in Literature although it has been six or seven years since I have read my first (The Bluest Eye). This long layoff made me excited to read Paradise even though it is said to be the third book in a trilogy. I had to double-check and it was clarified by several book readers that reading it ahead of the other two books in the trilogy will not adversely affect the experience since the three books are unrelated, at least in terms of characters. I have completed at least a third a book of the book and I am still unsure of what it is about. Is it perhaps because it has been some time since I read my last novel by Morrison? It seems that there are three perspectives and one is a place (Ruby). I hope to gain more clarity as the story moves forward.
What have you finished reading?
Nobel Laureate in Literature Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob was not supposed to be a part of my 2022 reading journey because I just read one of her novels late last year. However, I can’t help but jump on the bandwagon after learning that there were several fellow readers who were looking forward to the book. It was, after all, the book singularly cited by the Nobel Committee when Tokarczuk was announced as the winner of the prestigious literary award. They considered it as her magnum opus. Originally published in 2014 in Polish (it was published in English for the first time in 2021), The Books of Jacob is a work of historical fiction that charted the story of Jacob Frank. Born Jakub Lejbowicz and a Polish Jew, the eponymous Jacob rose to prominence in 18th century Poland after he claimed to be the reincarnation of Sabbatai Zevi, a 17th-century self-proclaimed messiah. A charismatic figure, he led a Jewish heretic movement that eventually would be called Frankism. The novel has several layers that make it a challenge but it was also its several layers that make it fascinating. It showed the seven years of intensive research that Tokarczuk poured into her immersive novel. The only drawback, I guess, was that we rarely read of Jacob’s perspective; we only get to see him through the people he surrounded himself with, through the eyes of his disciples. It was, nonetheless, a rich and unique reading experience and one that showed an entirely different dimension of Tokarczuk’s prose.
Prior to 2021, I have never heard of Tove Ditlevsen nor have I encountered any of her works previously. However, I kept encountering The Copenhagen Trilogy which immediately captured my interest for what came to mind was Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez’s The Dirty Havana Trilogy (a book I am yet to read). Apparently, The Copenhagen Trilogy was the first collective publication of three of Ditlevsen’s memoirs; Ditlevsen, I have learned is a prolific and highly-regarded Danish poet. The trilogy began with Childhood. Ditlevsen grew up in a humble home but despite this, she was indoctrinated by her father with literature. It was her fascination with poetry that made her dream of becoming a poet, a dream her father was not too enthusiastic about because women are not born to be poets. The middle part, Youth, documented Ditlevsen’s journey into becoming a fully-fledged poet. It was also a period of discovery, mostly of a sexual nature. In Dependency, Ditlevsen has already established a name for herself but we also see a young woman struggling with drug addiction. What I liked about the memoir were Ditlevsen’s honesty and her unapologetic attitude.
What will you read next?
In line with the celebration of International Women’s Month, I have lined up works of female writers. Not only am I going to read works by female writers but I am going to read works by female writers from different parts of the world. After Paradise, I am looking at reading Yuan-Tsung Chen’s The Dragon’s Village. Actually, it is a book I recently received. It is a book I acquired sans any iota on who the writer was or what the book was about. I bought it mainly because of my desire to explore Chinese literature more. I have realized that I have read very few works of Chinese literature. I think I have acquired at least five works of Chinese writers in the past year.
From Asia, I plan to land in the Caribbean next by reading the work of one of the writers who made an impression on me last year, Guadeloupean Maryse Condé. Touted as the queen of Caribbean literature, he won me over with Crossing the Mangrove. This year, I am hoping to gain more insights into her prose through one of her most renowned works, Segu. Unlike Segu, which I acquired last year, it has been some time since I acquired Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. 2018 to be exact. I have been meaning to read it only for it to be bypassed by other novels. Yes, my fault. HAHA. To finally read the book, I included it in my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. Paradise, Segu, The Copenhagen Trilogy, and The Books of Jacob are all part of the aforementioned list. Wow, I guess I will be hitting more than two birds with just one stone.
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!