Happy Wednesday everyone! I can’t believe that today is the last Wednesday of March. In two days, we will be welcoming a new month and a new quarter. By the way, 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 are 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?

As March is Women’s History Month, I have exclusively been reading the works of female writers. Concluding this reading journey is a book name that is unfamiliar to me. It was while searching for books to include on my 2022 Books I Look Forward To List that I came across Xochitl Gonzalez’s Olga Dies Dreaming. It was a book that came highly recommended so adding it to my own list was a no-brainer. Luckily, I was able to obtain a copy of the book this week. Because of my excitement, I started reading the book today, making it the second book from the said list that I read. The titular Olga was a successful wedding planner for Manhattan’s elite. Her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, was equally successful, serving as a representative for their district in Brooklyn. The story weaves in and out of two timelines: the first one was 2017 while the other was in the 1990s. The 1990s storyline was related through an epistolary form and was a letter by their mother to Olga. Yep, their parents, Puerto Rican immigrants, are currently out of the picture. It is one of the mysteries I hope to resolve as the story moves forward. I am also intrigued by what Gonzalez meant in the title, “Dies Dreaming”. Anyway, I think it will take me time to complete the book so I will be offering more insights in this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

This past week, I was able to complete three books. The first one was Isabel Allende’s latest novel, Violeta. It is my third novel from the popular Chilean writer and was also my second new book this year, after Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage. The eponymous Violeta Del Valle was born in 1920 in Santiago, Chile, and was the only daughter born to a family of five sons. The patriarch’s business acumen ensured that the Del Valles have all the best life can offer. However, the Great Depression trickled into the South American country, wreaking havoc. The Del Valles were not spared by the economic collapse. At first, I wasn’t too keen on the story of Violeta. I could not connect to her but as the story moved forward, I started warming up to her. She was a fiery character but at times she was an uncertain entity, at least from my point of view. However, what redeemed her story was the backdrop upon which Allende juxtaposed her story. As time moved forward, a growing awareness was seizing Chile. The feminism movement was taking shape. It was in the exploration of this movement that the novel was at its brilliant best. On the fringes, Allende again grappled with similar themes on history, particularly that of Chile. For the first time, I encountered Operation Condor and how the United States intervened in South American affairs. Interesting.

From Chile, my next read took me to France with Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother. It was just recently that I came across Huisman’s debut novel when it was longlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize. Without more ado, I included the book on my reading list, and, luckily enough, I was able to acquire a copy of the book immediately. After Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob and Mieko Kawakami’s Heaven, The Book of Mother is my third book from the longlist. It came as no surprise that the book was longlisted for the International Booker Prize as the book was critically acclaimed after its release in 2018 in Huisman’s native France. There is not much plot to the story. Its premise revolves around Huisman’s mother, Catherine, whose life was recounted by Violaine herself. Interestingly, I didn’t realize this although I did assume that it was somehow biographical because of the book’s raw honesty. While I loved the language, I find the book a heavy read. There is just a degree of melancholy that hovers above the story which makes the reader conclude how Catherine’s story is going to shape up. Nonetheless, there was still beauty that reeled me in. Like how I loved Tove Ditlevsen’s candidness in The Copenhagen Trilogy, I also loved the raw honesty that was rife in The Book of Mother.

Completing this week’s reading trilogy is a familiar name. Funerals Are Fatal is my 29th book by the Queen of Suspense, Agatha Christie. I have been eager to read one of her books since it has been nearly four years since I read one of her works, Hallowe’en Party back in early 2018. The book has also been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time now, hence, its inclusion in my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Funerals Are Fatal commenced with a, well, funeral. Richard Abernethie recently passed away and the members of his family gathered around for his wake. The members of his family were also eager to find out how his estate is going to be divided among them. However, during the wake, Richard’s sister  Cora Lansquenet claimed that he was murdered, contrary to what everyone believed, that he passed away due to natural circumstances. Everyone dismissed Cora’s claim, including Mr. Enwhistle, Richard’s lawyer and executor. However, Cora would end up getting murdered a day after the funeral. Mr. Enwhistle then enlisted the help of the ever-popular but enigmatic detective, Hercule Poirot. The novel, a quick read, was classic Christie.

After this Women’s History Month, I am still unsure of how my April reading month is going to be. Nonetheless, I am listing books that could possibly be part of my reading journey. I was actually hoping to end March with Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings but then, Olga Dies Dreaming arrived out of the blue. I have not read any of Ginzburg’s works but she is 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.

I am also considering reading Charmaine Wilkerson’s Black Cake. Like Olga Dies Dreaming, I have listed it as part of my 2022 Books I Look Forward To List. I have also featured it on one of my Goodreads Monday updates. I have also just received my copy of the book this week, along with Olga Dies Dreaming. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, on the other hand, is a book that has been gathering dust on my bookshelf; I acquired the book in early 2018. I have been looking forward to the book but I guess there are just too many good books out there. To ensure that I get to read the book, I included it in my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge and my 2022 Top 22 Reading List.

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!