Happy Wednesday everyone! Happy first day of the sixth month of the year! I can’t believe that time is zooming past us. We’re nearly midway through 2022! 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?

In May, I immersed myself in the works of European literature. It was a scintillating journey, brimming with surprises and, well, points of confusion. But then again, confusion is an inherent part of the reading journey. With several works by European writers still waiting to be explored, I have decided to extend this reading journey to June. Right now, I am reading my first novel by French writer Michel Houellebecq. I was reluctant to obtain a copy of Atomised at first because it sounded like a work of science fiction, a genre I am not quite comfortable with yet. But in the end, my curiosity and my resolve to explore as much of the world through literary works overcame my reluctance. At the heart of the story are  Bruno Clément and Michel Djerzinski, two French half-brothers. Nearly midway through the story, one element stands out: the sexual overtones. There was too much preoccupation with male and female genitalia, masturbation, sexual overtures, pedophilia, and lust that I am slowly losing the story. It did remind me of the first half of Hungarian writer Péter Nádas’ Parallel Stories and even Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. I just hope that it would all be worth it in the end.

What have you finished reading?

It has been a long time since I read a work by British mystery writer P.D. James; this has been a year of reading my sophomore novels. Like Kristin Hannah, it has been over a decade since I read my first novel by James. During that time, I was engrossed with works of suspense and mystery fiction. I have since obtained two more of her works and I made Death Comes to Pemberley part of my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. When I started reading the book, I didn’t realize that it would transport me to the early 19th century, to a setting very familiar in the world of literature. Apparently, the novel was an extension of Jane Austen’s very popular work, Pride and Prejudice. In the opening pages of the book, James even apologized to Austen for using her work in her novel. Death Comes to Pemberley took off where Pride and Prejudice ended. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are now parents to two boys. However, Darcy’s relationship with Wickham was still sour. The crux of the novel happened on the eve of a ball that will take place in Darcy’s Pemberley estate. On the way to drop off his wife and Elizabeth’s younger sister, Lydia at Pemberley, Wickham and his friend Captain Martin Denny figured in an altercation that ended with Denny’s untimely demise. The story had promise but ended but hackneyed and predictable.

From the United Kingdom, my reading journey took me next to Norway through Norwegian great Tarjei Vesaas’ The Ice Palace. The book was supposed to come after Atomised but I started reading it when I attended a KPop concert over the weekend. It fitted my bag more than Atomised. It was also handier and I got to read it while waiting for the concert to start. I think this is the first novel written by a Norwegian writer that I read. First published in Norwegian in 1963, I have learned that it is a classic work of Norwegian literature. At the heart of the story are two young girls whose paths converged in a rural community in Norway. 11-year-old Siss was vivacious while Unn, a newcomer into the community, was more reserved. They immediately hit it off despite meeting just one time. The day following their initial meeting, Unn skipped school because she wanted to avoid the prospect of meeting her new friend. Instead, she went to see the titular ice palace, a castle-like structure that was formed due to the freezing of a nearby waterfall. The novel, despite being slender, is a broad exploration of loss. It did remind me of Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. But what really stood out for me was the novel’s poetic language.

Michel Houellebecq’s Atomised finally moved up! HAHA. Anyway, as I have been alternating new-to-me writers and familiar writers, I have lined up Italian writer Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana as my next read. After reading Baudolino back in 2015 and The Name of the Rose in 2017, this will be my third novel by the famed semiotician and historian. From Italy, I am planning to travel back to the Balkan peninsula with Serbian novelist Aleksandar Tišma’s Kapo. If ever, this will be my first from him. I will then return to the United Kingdom with another novel by David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

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!