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:

Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov

Blurb from Goodreads

Stork Mountain tells the story of a young Bulgarian immigrant who, in an attempt to escape his mediocre life in America, returns to the country of his birth. Retracing the steps of his estranged grandfather, a man who suddenly and inexplicably cut all contact with the family three years prior, the boy finds himself on the border of Bulgaria and Turkey, a stone’s throw away from Greece, high up in the Strandja Mountains. It is a place of pagan mysteries and black storks nesting in giant oaks; a place where every spring, possessed by Christian saints, men and women dance barefoot across live coals in search of rebirth. Here in the mountains, the boy reunites with his grandfather. Here in the mountain, he falls in love with an unobtainable Muslim girl. Old ghosts come back to life and forgotten conflicts, in the name of faith and doctrine, blaze anew.

Stork Mountain is an enormously charming, slyly brilliant debut novel from an internationally celebrated writer. It is a novel that will undoubtedly find a home in many readers’ hearts.

Why I Want To Read It

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great start to the week, considering that Monday is not the favorite day of the week for most. But it also means an opening, an opportunity to start afresh. I hope the rest of the week will run smoothly. More importantly, I hope that everyone is doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. It seems that we have finally coped with COVID19 as cases across the world are starting to dwindle down. It is my fervent prayer that we finally overcome this darkness that has enveloped us in the past two years. I hope that we sustain this decline in cases, especially as several countries, including the Philippines, have started resuming normal economic, tourism, and social activities. While I understand that protocols are in place, I hope that everyone still observes minimum health protocols. 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. I had a grand time reading works of European literature last May, thus, I decided to extend it to June, making it the first time I am dedicating two consecutive reading months to just works written by European writers. The journey included some of the most heralded writers from different parts of the continent such as the UK’s David Mitchell, Serbia’s Aleksandar Tišma, Norway’s Tarjei Vesaas, Albania’s Ismail Kadare, Czech Republic’s Milan Kundera, and Italy’s Umberto Eco. It was a smorgasbord of different flavors that kept my palate filled. I am currently reading my second book written by Spanish writer Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Dumas Club. But for this Goodreads Monday update, I am featuring an unfamiliar name, at least to me, Bulgarian writer Miroslav Penkov with his novel Stork Mountain.

I decided to feature Miroslav Penkov, a name I admittedly encountered for the first time today because I wanted to explore Bulgarian literature. I think I am yet to read at least one book written by a Bulgarian writer. It was for this reason alone that I wanted to read Stork Mountain, which also happens to be Penkov’s debut novel. He, I have learned, has established a reputation as a short story writer prior to working on his first novel. Apart from my curiosity about Bulgarian literature, I am also intrigued by the book’s premise which is about a Bulgarian immigrant moving back to his homeland. I assume there are details of the American Dream and that the novel plays with the idea of returning to one’s roots. Does one feel shame? Does one’s shoulder sag as he embraces his destiny? These are questions that played on my mind after reading the first sentence of the book’s blurb.

Interestingly, there are other spectrums to the story, such as overtones of romance, mysteries, and perhaps the dark arts. The reunion with his grandfather has also caught my attention. What has caused their estrangement? I am hoping that the book will provide me vivid details of the rich heritage of the country because that synopsis has really piqued my interest. But more importantly, I have to obtain a copy of the book. How about you fellow reader? Are there works of Bulgarian 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!