Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

Doom 94 by Jānis Joņevs

Blurb from Goodreads

Doom 94 is Jonevs’ debut novel, published first as Jelgava 94 in Latvia in 2013 and was quickly proved to be a big hit and bestseller. Translated into 11 languages already, it is here for the first time in English.

The story is set in the 1990s in the Latvian city of Jelgava and looks at the burgeoning craze during this decade for the alternative culture of heavy metal music. Jonevs takes the reader deep inside the world of music, combining the intimate diary of a youngster trying to find himself by joining a subculture, as well as a skilful, detailed, and almost documentary-like depiction of the beginnings of the second independence of Latvia–where Jonevs is the first writer to stir up memories of this period through a fully-fledged literary depiction.

Doom 94 is a portrait of a generation searching for their identity and up against the world, trying not to become ‘one of them’. But is it for real? Can any adult keep the promise made as a child?

Why I Want To Read It

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you were able to recover during the weekend in preparation for another tough week ahead. But I do hope that it is not really that tough. I am praying for a great week ahead for everyone; I hope you had a great start to it as well. More importantly, I pray that you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. With the different variants emerging, some even more transmissible than the original strain, COVID19 still poses a great thread although I did note that several parts of the world, including the Philippines, are slowly returning to normal. Offline concerts are now being held across the world. Sports stadiums are also open for everyone. While I understand that protocols are in place, I hope that everyone still observes minimum health protocols; better to be safe than sorry. I just hope that the pandemic, with all its variants, will soon come to an end.

To kickstart the blogging week, I am posting a new Goodreads Monday update. Before May started, I have already resolved to read works of European as I have quite a few books on my pile waiting to be opened. So far, this journey transported me to various parts of Europe such as Sweden, Italy, and the Czech Republic. My current read, Javier Marias’ Berta Isla has transported me to Spain; this is my first novel by Marias. Marias was recommended to me by a fellow reader although it was another book that he recommended, A Heart So White. Nevertheless, I am excited about this new reading journey. For this Goodreads Monday update, I have decided to feature Latvian writer Jānis Joņevs’ Doom 94 which was originally published in 2013 as Jelgava 94.

To be honest, this was my first time encountering Doom 94 and Jānis Joņevs. What drove me towards them was my new goal of exploring a part of Europe literature I have never been to before. I cannot recall encountering any Baltic writer or at least reading any works of Baltic literature. The Baltic countries pertain to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. All are former Soviet Republics and it was no surprise to encounter works of Baltic literature that explored this part of the region’s history. More than the region’s history, I want to learn more about its people and its culture. Apart from my curiosity of Baltic literature, what drew me towards Doom 94 was its exploration of heavy music and what I perceive to be the portrait of a Latvian city; I have not read that many literary pieces that featured music. Moreover, this is a coming-of-age novel and is also Joņevs’ debut novel.

This week’s Goodreads Monday is special because I am featuring other works of Baltic literature which I have recenty added to my perpetually growing reading list. The first of these books is Lithuanian writer Antanas Škėma’s The White Shroud. I have learned that it is considered required reading for Lithuanians, thus, piquing my interest. What magic does the book have in store for it to be elevated to such a lofty stature? The second book that caught my attention is Ričardas Gavelis’ Vilnius Poker. Yes, another Lithuanian writer, and he is not going to be the last. As I have mentioned above, one recurring theme in Baltic literature was the region’s turbulent history of being part of the USSR. The book, set in the 1970s and 1980s, explored this part of the country’s, and by extension, the region’s history.

Veering away from Lithuania, the third book that I recently added to my reading list was Estonian writer Andrus Kivirähk’s The Man Who Spoke Snakish. The title alone was enough to raise my eyebrows. Is this man part of the Slytherin house? Kidding aside, I learned that the book had elements of Estonian mythology which were more than enough to convince me to add the book to my Goodreads Want To Read List. The last book recommended by a fellow book blogger was Birute Putrius’ The Last Book Smuggler. The book, apparently, was based on Putrius’ grandfather who was a book smuggler.

Now that I have added these books to my reading list, the next mission is to obtain copies of them. I am crossing my fingers that I will eventually be able to acquire these books for me to start my foray into the world of Baltic literature. How about you fellow reader? Are there works of Baltic literature you can recommend to me? I hope you can share it in the comment box. I hope the rest of the week will be great for everyone. For now, happy reading!