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:
- What are you currently reading?
- What have you finished reading?
- What will you read next?
What are you currently reading?
For my May reading journey, I have resolved to read works of European literature. It has already started with Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls. Like how my March and April reading journey, I am going to alternate new-to-me writers and familiar writers. Earlier today, I completed my third novel by popular Swedish writer Fredrik Backman and just started reading my first novel by Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg. I have been encountering some of her works through online sellers which finally piqued my interest. With this, I obtained a copy of Family Sayings, a novel which, from what I understand, has layers of the author’s own life. I haven’t gotten far into the book yet to provide a more extensive insight into the book. I might provide more insights in this week’s First Impression Friday update.
What have you finished reading?
In the past weeks, I have been gathering my lost reading momentum. This allowed me to complete three books this past week. The first of these three books was Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. I have several of the Queen of Suspense’s works on my bookshelf waiting to be read but this book is a special case. I have been curious about it after learning it was adapted into a film released in February. As such, I obtained a copy of the book and without more ado, made it part of my April reading journey. My 30th book by Christie, Death on the Nile followed the events that have transpired on a tourist steamer navigating the Nile River. Onboard were the newlyweds, Simon and Linnet Doyle. Linnet was a young woman with vast wealth at her disposal. She used it to snag Simon from her best friend, Jacqueline de Bellefort. Jacqueline has been following the young couple, forcing Linnet to commission the assistance of popular Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who happens to be on board as well; he was on vacation. But even on vacation, Poirot was haunted by death as Linnet was later on found murdered. The crux of the matter was that several on the steamer had motives to kill her. I myself tried to solve the mystery and just when I thought I had the perpetrator figured out, Christie pulled off a surprise. The book was a classic of Christie’s corpus which, at times, reminded me of my first Christie book, Murder on the Orient Express.
I recently obtained three of British writer Pat Barker’s works: The Ghost Road, Women of Troy, and The Silence of the Girls. My original plan was to read The Ghost Road as it won the prestigious Booker Prize. However, I learned it was the third book in a trilogy which made me push it further back on my reading list. I then planned to read her latest novel, Women of Troy but then I learned that it was the second book in a duology. In the end, I settled with The Silence of the Girls which was, in a way, my transition to my May 2021 European literature month. What pulled me towards the book was the fact that it was a retelling of Greek mythology, particularly of the Trojan War. Like Madeline Miller’s retelling, the novel gave voice to a character who was minor in the original texts. In Barker’s retelling, the events of the Trojan War were explored through the lenses of Briseis, the fallen Queen of Lyrnessus. She was taken as a prize by Achilles, the one who killed her brothers and father. I like retellings because they provide new insights into historical events. The Silence of the Girls had a lot of potentials but I found Briseis a passive voice. When the point-of-view of Achilles was introduced in the second half of the book, the story started to look familiar and the part of the retelling got muddled. It was still a good read but the execution was a little off.
As mentioned above, I have just completed my third novel by popular Swedish writer Fredrik Backman. His first two novels I have read so far – A Man Called Ove and Anxious People – are among my all-time favorites. It comes as no secret that I have high expectations for My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises. Originally published in Swedish in 2013, the novel is the story of seven-year-old Elsa who recently lost her grandmother (Granny). Elsa’s parents are divorced, hence, her closeness to her eccentric Granny. It was also Granny who introduced Elsa to the magical Land-of-Almost-Awake and its interesting (imaginary) citizens. The novel is an ode to the power of imagination and children’s stories. I also loved the relationship between Granny and Elsa which reminded me of my own grandparents. Granny’s death devastated Elsa but she soon picked up the pieces of herself as Granny left her letters addressed to different people Granny had wronged. Elsa then delivers these letters to their recipients and in the process, she learned more about Granny’s past life. It was a good book but it was not at par with the first two novels by Backman I have read. There were parts when the story dragged and its fixation on the Land-of-Almost-Awake weighed down on me.
What will you read next?
For my next three reads, I have chosen three influential writers. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting will be my third book by the controversial Czech writer Milan Kundera. It is a book that I have been looking forward to, hence, its inclusion in my Top 22 Reading List. Meanwhile, Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for the longest time; I think it is my oldest unread book, counted from the time I obtained a copy of the book. When I learned it was the first book in a series known as In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things Past, I resolved to complete all books first before I start reading the first book in the series. Unfortunately, I am still one book short but I deem it the right time to finally kickstart my journey into a new literary territory. Lastly, I am thinking of reading Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees considering it has been four years since I read my last novel by the Italian writer.
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!