Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is going great. Otherwise, I hope that it will start looking up in the coming days. It is my fervent hope that it will usher in positive energy, blessings, healing, and forgiveness for everyone. I hope and pray that 2022 will not only be a good year but a great one. As it is Tuesday, it is also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.
his week’s topic: Top 5 Books of 2022… So Far
As of date, I have completed 55 books already. It is a landmark achievement for I have never reached 50 books by midyear. There are a lot of standout books, five of which I am featuring in this Top 5 update. Because of this wonderful reading journey, I found it challenging to round out five books that left the best impression on me. Without more ado, here are five of the standout reads I had in the first half of the year. This is in no particular order. Happy reading!
I have actually listed four of these books in my Mid-Year Freak Out Tag (2022 Edition). Do check it out as well.
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokaczuk
If I may say so myself, I have become quite the Olga Tokarczuk enthusiast. Funnily enough, prior to her receiving the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019, I have never heard of her. Without more ado, I acquired two of her works, both of which gave me different but interesting dimensions of her prose. I was expecting nothing less from what the Nobel Committee cited as her magnum opus, The Books of Jacob, the translated version of which was released for the first time late in 2021. Sure, the book was quite thick but it was brimming with ideas and historical contexts that I was hooked on from the start. The book never relented and it was no surprise why it was called the best of Tokarczuk’s corpus.
Segu by Maryse Condé
Interestingly enough, it was during the lead-up to the announcement of the recipients of the 2018/2019 Nobel Prize in Literature that I first heard of Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé. Many a literary pundit (or betting site) has tipped her to be a heavy favorite. Unfortunately, she did not win but it was enough to pique my interest in her works. In 2021, I finally was able to have my first taste of her prose with Crossing the Mangrove. It was a memorable experience that made me look forward to Segu, touted by many as her best works. True enough, the vivid details of history that made up the novel made it stand out. In a way, it gave me a similar experience as The Books of Jacob: an unflinching gaze into historical events that have shaped a particular region.
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Who hasn’t heard of Agatha Christie? The Queen of Suspense, she had a prolific career that spanned decades and produced over 80 works. Unfortunately, it has been four years since I read my last book by Christie. When I heard that Death on the Nile was adapted into a film released earlier this year, I just knew I have to read it. Thankfully enough, I was able to obtain a copy of the book, and the rest, they say, is history. The book again starred Hercule Poirot, one of the most renowned literary sleuths out there. What made the book flourish was the strike of balance between elements that have characterized Christie’s works and new elements that remind the readers of Christie’s ability to step out of her comfort zone.
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
When I learned that Ruth Ozeki was releasing new work in late 2021, I simply shrugged it off; I was barely impressed with A Tale for the Time Being, although I am reexamining my understanding of the book. I finally relented when I read very positive reviews of The Book of Form and Emptiness. I made it part of my 2021 Reading Catch-up last February. I am glad I gave Ozeki’s prose a chance for I was invested in the story of Benny and her mother. There were again elements that turned me off in my first Ozeki novel but this time around, they worked; I guess I owe as well to my maturity as a reader. The book was recently awarded the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman
The 2022 International Booker Prize longlist has certainly provided me with books that have piqued my interest. Apart from the winner, Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand, and the books I have already read, one other book caught my interest: French writer Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother. It was Huisman’s debut novel and has earned her several accolades in her native France. What I liked about the book was its deep examination of mental health and trauma and how both of these adversely impact the relationship between mother and daughter. It was a very sharp look into family dynamics and yes, it was based on Huisman’s life. In a way, the book was her homage to her mother whose demons ultimately claimed her.