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:

  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 currently delving into the works of female writers, in alignment with International Women’s Month. Maryse Condé was a name I was unfamiliar with until 2019 when she was tagged by many as one of the likely winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature. She didn’t win but the inclusion of her name in the discussion was enough to pique my interest. I have already read one of her works, Crossing the Mangroves, last year. It immediately won me over and made me look forward to reading more of the Guadeloupean writer’s works. One of her more popular titles is Segu, which I was fortunate enough to obtain last year. I included it in my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. Set in 1797 Segu in Western Africa, the novel charts the story of Dousika Traore’s sons. Dousika was the trusted advisor of the Bambara King. However, there was a fallout that led to the decline of Dousika’s health. Meanwhile, his sons got scattered across Africa. The oldest, Tiekoro, together with his younger brother Siga, journeyed to Timbuktu. Naba, on the other hand, got kidnapped during a hunting session with his brother Tiefolo. For sure, the book is very rich in incidents that keep me riveted.

What have you finished reading?

It has been some time since I read a work by Nobel Laureate in Literature Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye. Her books, sadly, were gathering dust in my bookshelf. Because of this, I decided to add Paradise to my 2022 Top 22 Reading List; it is also part of my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Paradise was Morrison’s seventh published novel and her first after winning the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Paradise commenced in 1976 Oklahoma where the town of Ruby was founded. Ruby was founded by a group of fifteen Black families. These families had a history of being enslaved. Despite the emancipation, they found themselves rejected both by the white and the lighter-skinned black people. Ruby was created to be isolated from the rest, to be some sort of Utopia. But it was never meant to be Utopia. The things that they tried to escape from were present all along, slowly revealing themselves as the story moved along. On the outskirts of the town is the Convent, a repurposed mansion that serves as a haven for women who were abused or had experienced hardships. Compared to The Bluest Eye, I had a challenging time with Paradise; it was not an easy read.

Apart from simply reading works by female authors, I resolved to diversify my March reading journey by reading works from all over the world. As such, my journey took me next to China with Yuan-Tsung Chen’s The Dragon’s Village: An Autobiographical Novel of Revolutionary China. It was a book that I recently acquired because I have realized how limited my venture into Chinese Literature has been. Curious about what The Dragon’s Village has in store, I immediately delved into it. The Dragon’s Village commenced in Shanghai, China where we meet Ling-ling. She lost both her parent but was adopted and raised by her aunt and uncle, both members of the bourgeoisie. It was 1949 and the Revolutionary Government has finally established a foothold across China. They immediately instituted changes, beginning with the land reform which was intended to dismantle the feudal system that has crippled the countryside peasants. Ling-ling, who was just seventeen years old, joined a revolutionary theater group. The theater group has been scouring the countryside to carry out the reforms. Ling-ling got assigned to the village of Longxiang in the province of Gansu where she had an eye-opening experience. The book was great in its eye-witness accounts of the events taking place. However, I felt shortchanged. Ling-ling’s motivation for joining the group, for instance, was never clear.

After Segu, I have lined up Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage. It is a novel that I included in my 2022 Books I Look Forward to List. This is also going to be my first novel from Tahir. Just released this March 1, this is going to be my first “new” book. From an unfamiliar name, my next journey will take me to a familiar name. It was while researching for books to add to my 2022 Books I Look Forward to List that I learned of Isabel Allende’s Violeta which was released earlier this year. Despite my less than stellar experience with A Long Petal of the Sea, I still want to read more of the Chilean writer’s prose. After all, The House of the Spirits is one of my all-time reads. It was just recently that I learned of Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother. The book was longlisted for the 2022 Booker International Prize, alongside titles such as Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob and Mieko Kawakami’s Heaven, the only other books on the longlist I have already read. Originally published in French in 2018, The Book of Mother was Huisman’s debut novel. It was also a critically-acclaimed work in France and I am grateful I was able to find and obtain a copy of the book.

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!