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?

In alignment with International Women’s Month, I have been reading works of female writers. One of the female writers that have gained my interest in the past few years was Isabel Allende. Her debut novel, The House of the Spirits, is one of my all-time favorite reads. Violeta, her latest novel, is my current read and my third from the Chilean writer. After Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage, it is my second new book. The novel charts the story of the eponymous Violeta. Born in 1920 to a well-to-do family, she was the last child and the only daughter of a family of five sons. The story was structured in such a way that Violeta was narrating her story to Camilo in 2020. Camilo’s identity is still not established. At the start, I had a challenging time finding my foothold in Violeta’s story. However, what kept me riveted was the backdrop her story was woven on. Again, Allende was scintillating in painting the movements taking place as the years moved forward. In the novel, the focus was on the rise of the feminist movement in Chile. Still, I hope to get to know more about Violeta for she still remains a mystery.

What have you finished reading?

Maryse Condé was one of the writers whose prose I have long been waiting to explore and experience. I finally had the chance in 2021, with Crossing the Mangrove. It was, as expected, a wonderful experience and more. It was for this reason alone that I looked for more of her works and thankfully, I was able to acquire a copy of Segu. Often referred to as one of her best, if not the best, of her works, Segu charted the story of the Traore family, an aristocratic family of the Bambara people. The story commenced in 1797 in the city of Segu in present-day Mali. The family’s patriarch, or fa, Dousika, was a trusted advisor of the Bambara king. However, they had a falling out adversely affected Dousika’s influence and reputation. He then fell into a serious period of depression, leaving the rest of his household, from his wife, his brothers and their wives, his concubines, and his children to fend for their own. Segu tracks the story of Dousika’s children as they go out and explore the world beyond the Bambara kingdom. The kingdom, meanwhile, was facing several threats emanating from all corners. Slavery and Christianity were trickling in from the West. From the East, Islam was slowly progressing. Segu is different from Crossing the Mangrove but it is equally magnificent. The details of the progression in African history kept me glued to my seat. The novel, its scope, and its magnificence reminded me of Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob. Both are recent reads and both are now part of my all-time favorite reads.

Earlier this year, I was researching for books to include in my 2022 Books I Look Forward To List; this has become a yearly tradition. One of the books that kept popping out of these Most Anticipated Lists was Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage. The premise piqued my interest, hence, its inclusion in the aforementioned list. And I was happy to see an available copy of the book during my latest foray into the bookstore. However, I did not realize that it was a work of young adult fiction. Oh well. The novel followed two storylines, distinguished as “Then” and “Now”. The “Then” parts charted the story of Misbah and her husband Toufiq. They have previously never met but their parents arranged their union, sans their permission. After their marriage, they left Lahore, Pakistan, and settled in Juniper, California, where they established The Cloud Rest Motel Inn. It was the product of their labor, love, and dreams. The “Now”, on the other hand, followed the story of their son, Salahuddin, or Sal, and Noor. Noor was an orphan but was adopted by her uncle, Chachu, after digging her from the ruins of their earthquake-ravaged house. Overall, it was a good story. Not brilliant, but good. I found the writing very mundane and the occasional interjection of Urdu/Punjabi terms disrupts the flow of the story. There were also parts that were not fully laid out, such as Chachu’s profile. I also wished that the novel expounded more on Misbah’s story for she was the only one who caught my interest.

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. From an unfamiliar name, I am queueing the work of a familiar name, very familiar in fact. I have read 28 works by Agatha Christie, the so-called Queen of Suspense. However, it has been over four years since I last read one of her works. With Funerals Are Fatal, I am hoping to re-experience the spellbinding tenterhook her prose is renowned for. Should time allow it, I might end March with Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings. I have not read any of her works previously but she was one of the writers who have recently piqued my interest. If my memory serves me right, the book has biographical elements, which makes it all the more interesting because I will be learning about the writer while, at the same time, experiencing her prose.

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!