Happy Wednesday everyone! 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?

Women’s History Month has already concluded. However, I still haven’t got a clue about what my April reading month is gonna look like. As such, I have been randomly picking up books to read in the past week. The common denominator was that these books were all written by women. I guess I am extending my immersion into the works of female writers. My current read is 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Herta Müller’s highly acclaimed novel, The Hunger Angel. This is my first novel by Müller and I am excited to see what she has in store. I guess The Hunger Angel is a good starting point because of the praises it got after its publication. The story mentioned the gulag, the first time I am encountering it in a literary piece since 2016 when I read fellow Nobel Laureate in Literature Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I haven’t gone far into the story yet but I am excited to read how it unravels.

What have you finished reading?

For the second consecutive week, I was able to complete three books. I certainly am gaining more momentum. The first book I completed was Xochitl Gonzalez’s debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming. It was towards the end of 2021 that I first encountered the novel. Several literary pundits have recommended it, hence, its inclusion in my 2022 Books I Look Forward To List. After Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage, it is my second book from the aforementioned list. The novel charted the story of the titular Olga. Already into her 40s, Olga Acevedo has found success as a wedding events organizer. Her clientele is comprised of the most illustrious and influential names in Manhattan. Her brother, Prieto, was equally successful. He was serving as the congressman for their Brooklyn district. But despite their success, a cloud of doubts and uncertainties kept haunting the siblings. The abrupt departure of their mother, Blanca, a revolutionary who played a crucial role in Puerto Rico’s (their hometown) fight for equality and liberty, has left a gaping hole in the siblings’ hearts. With their father dying from complications of AIDS, they were raised by their grandmother. Olga Dies Dreaming grappled with a lot of seminal subjects such as identity, liberation, and homosexuality. The ambition was commendable but the story never quite soared the way I wanted it to.

It has been over four years since I obtained a copy of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley during the 2018 Big Bad Wolf Sale. While I kept promising myself to read the book, the acquisition of more books pushed it to the book of my mind. To finally make good on this promise, I included the book on my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge and my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. Listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, the novel followed the story of Tom Ripley, a young man hustling to make a living in New York City. A huge opportunity opened up for him when he was approached by shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf who had a proposition for him. Greenleaf, believing that Ripley was his son’s best friend, asked Ripley to travel to Mongibello, Italy to convince his son, Richard “Dickie” Greenleaf, to return to the United States. Contrary to the elder Greenleaf’s belief, Dickie was just a casual acquaintance of Ripley. Nevertheless, Ripley agreed to the proposal. In Italy, he met Dickie and his girlfriend, Marge Sherwood. There is quite a lot to appreciate in Highsmith’s critically acclaimed novel. It had the perfect elements of suspense and character study. The psychological elements were astounding as well. It was no surprise that this is one of the most heralded works of crime fiction.

It has been nearly three years since I read my first novel by Willa Cather. Death Comes for the Archbishop exceeded my expectations. It is not just a book about the Church but also about the impacts of new policies on old cultures and traditions. Cather took a step out of the formulaic storytelling that today’s literature is doused in. With this memorable experience, I was looking forward to exploring more of her works. For this reason, I listed O Pioneers! as part of my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge; like The Talented Mr. Ripley, it has been gathering dust on my bookshelf. Cather again transported me to the American countryside. Set in the early 1900s, O Pioneers! charted the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish-American immigrants who settled on a farm near the fictional town of Hanover, Nebraska. The novel is divided into five parts, with the main character being Alexandra, who inherited the farm from her father. Flash forward to a couple of years later, the farm was thriving, mainly because of Alexandra’s hard work. The story then shifted into a romantic story as the book focused on the affairs of Alexandra and her younger brother, Emil. Like books that jump timelines, O Pioneers! left several details unsaid. While I find the writing more accessible compared to Death Comes for the Archbishop, I wasn’t making any connections with the characters.

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. From two unfamiliar writers, I have listed a familiar one in A.S. Byatt; I have read her Booker Prize-winning novel, Possession, almost four years ago. I have recently received my copy of The Children’s Book, another highly acclaimed work. Since it has been some time since I read my first Byatt novel, I am looking forward to reestablishing connections with her prose through The Children’s 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!