Happy Wednesday everyone! I can’t believe that time is zooming past us. We’re already midway through the sixth month of the year. In 15 more days, we are already midway through the year. 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. Things are starting to go back to normal although one should still throw caution in the air; the virus remains a threat. 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?

I am back in familiar territory with my fourth novel by popular British writer David Mitchell. Mitchell first gained a fan in me with his genre-bending novel, Cloud Atlas. While it puzzled me at first, the deeper I dig into the story the more invested I got. I had the same experience with The Bone Clocks but I cannot say the same with his latest novel, Utopia Avenue. Nonetheless, my hopes were high when I started reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet because I found the book cover beautiful. I found the book pleasantly unexpected. It is set in Japan and was set in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The titular Jacob was a Dutch clerk working on a merchant ship when they arrived on the island of Dejima in Nagasaki. In Dejima, De Zoet’s attention was caught by Orito Aibagawa, a young woman studying medicine under the supervision of Dr. Marinus. Fans of Mitchell’s prose will immediately note one element common in his works: the appearance of characters in his other works. Jacob de Zoet’s descendant, Jasper de Zoet, was one of the main characters in Utopia Avenue while Dr. Marinus was an integral character in The Bone Clocks. I have just under 80 pages to finish and I am done with the book. It was certainly interesting, especially reading about the Western perception of Japanese culture.

What have you finished reading?

In a previous WWW update, I listed a different novel by Serbian writer Aleksandar Tišma as a book I will read next. I had Kapo in mind because it was a more recent purchase. When I completed Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, it hit me! I have previously obtained a book by Tišma which has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for a longer time: The Use of Man. Both books are part of Tišma’s highly acclaimed Novi Sad trilogy. At the heart of The Use of Man is the city where Tišma grew up; Novi Sad, where central Europe ends, is the converging point of different groups of people from Serbs to Croats to Hungarians. The story of the city was charted through the destinies of four characters descending from different cultural and religious backgrounds: Vera Kroner, Sredoje Lazukić, Milinko Božić, Sep Lehnart. This quartet is a group of friends whose paths converged in the German language class of Fräulein Anna Drentvenšek. Over the horizon, the war is brewing and it was just a matter of days before the Second World War would reach Novi Sad. Admittedly, I did struggle a bit with the story. The lack of a linear structure made it a little challenging, not to mention that Tišma’s unflinching gaze barely provided concessions. It was the war in its most nightmarish. One chapter really made left a deep impression on me; it detailed the experiences of Vera in the concentration camp. I am cognizant that war stories from the Second World War can become too banal but what I appreciate in works like The Use of Man is that they remind me that the voices lost in the din need to be heard despite the passage of time.

After completing The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, I am planning to read Bernhard Schlink’s Olga. For the longest time, I have been wanting to read the German writer’s The Reader but I never got the chance to obtain a copy of his popular novel. I guess Olga will do for now and I hope it will provide me an insight into his prose. Russian literature is one of my favorite parts of the literary world and I am surprised to learn that it has been nearly two years since I read a novel written by a Russian writer; that was Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita which I read in early 2020. Because of this, I am seriously considering reading Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Poor People. If ever, it would be my third book by the Russian writer. Come to think of it, the last time I read one of his works was in 2018, with Crime and Punishment. Maybe the time is ripe for another exploration of the Russian spirit? Lastly, I am lining up the work of one author whose works I have long been wanting to explore: Angela Carter. I kept encountering her novel Nights at the Circus on many must-read lists that it has become a no-brainer for me to read it. I also have some of her other works but it is fitting to start my foray into her works with what many literary pundits call as her best.

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!