Happy Wednesday everyone! Anyway, as the year moves forward, I hope that you are all doing well and are all healthy despite the health risks that continue to hound 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 the rest of the year will be a great one.
It is time for another WWW Wednesday update as it is a Wednesday. 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:
- What are you currently reading?
- What have you finished reading?
- What will you read next?
What are you currently reading?
For the last four months of the year, I have decided to focus on my active reading challenges. I just realized that I have been lagging behind on many of them. For September, my concentration is on works of American literature; most of the books on my reading challenges are part of this vast sphere of literature. For my third read for the month, I am reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. This is my third novel by Eugenides, which also happens to be his debut novel. It is also part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading List and is one of 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. From previous reading experience, I have no idea what to expect from this book; Middlesex and The Marriage Plot gave me vastly different experiences. Nevertheless, the book started on a graphic note. It seems that it is not joking about suicide. The core of the story is the Lisbon sisters, teenagers living in the same city Eugenides was born in. As I have just started reading the book, I haven’t covered much ground yet. Should I not be able to finish it by Friday, do expect more of my impressions on the book on this week’s First Impression Friday. On another note, this is the third consecutive book written by an American writer with mixed heritage: Sequoia Nagamatsu has Japanese origin, Hernan Diaz has Argentinian roots, and Eugenides has Greek blood coursing through his veins. Maybe this should be the theme for the month?
What have you finished reading?
Opening my September reading month is Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark, a book I first encountered earlier this year while researching for books to include on my 2022 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To List. It didn’t take much convincing for me to include the book on my own list. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long to obtain a copy of the book. This is my fifth book from the aforementioned reading challenge so at least I am halfway through that; I just have to obtain the last three books on the list. Anyway, the book is a timely read. Set in the dystopian future, it captured a vivid portrait of our current times, The story started with Dr. Cliff Miyashiro’s arrival in the Arctic Circle to pursue his recently deceased daughter’s research. What he discovered was the preserved frozen remains of a girl who appeared to have died of an ancient virus. Just like how COVID-19 reshaped our world’s landscape, the 30,000-year-old Arctic virus would reshape the course of history. One of the facets of the book that stands out was its structure. Rather than a straightforward story, he provided interlinking vignettes that provide a grim diagnosis of the future. Despite this bleak portrait, someone was winning in the background: the capitalists who make death a business. For a deceptively slim novel, How High We Go in the Dark unpacked a lot; it also explored the adverse impact of climate change.
Like Sequoia Nagamatsu, Hernan Diaz has a mixed heritage. He was born in Buenos Aires but was raised in Sweden. He is now an American national. However, I have never heard of him until the 2022 Booker Prize longlist was announced. Speaking of the Booker Prize, the shortlist was announced yesterday, and unfortunately, Trust failed to make the cut. I think I can understand why. Aside from Trust being my first novel by Diaz, it is also my first novel from the 2022 Booker Prize Longlist. Divided into four parts, the novel started with a novella entitled Bonds written by Harold Vanner. Set in 1920s New York prior to the great crash of the 1929 Crash, Bonds told the story of Benjamin Rask, a legendary financier, and his wife, Helen, with a focus on Rask’s controversial role in the economic crash. This novella, we learn, drew inspiration from a “real-life” character, Andrew Revel. Revel was livid, hence, he hired Ida Partenza to write the correct “biography”. There are several layers to the novel. The four parts give different textures to the story, with each part written in a different form, including a journal to a personal account. For a novel that purports to be a portrait of New York City, the city’s role was not that visible. The novel held promises – I liked the part that delves into the writing process – although, overall, I was a little underwhelmed.
What will you read next?
After The Virgin Suicides, I am planning to next read James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, a book that is part of both my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge and 2022 Top 22 Reading List. It has been five years since I acquired a copy of the book and after years of gathering dust on my bookshelf, I deem it the right time to immerse myself into this classic of American literature. I can’t recall when I first heard the book’s title. I think it was in high school when it was used as a sort of expression. Anyway, it stuck and I can’t believe I would encounter it years later, as a book.
Like Cooper, Emma Straub is a writer whose prose is unfamiliar to me. Like Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark, This Time Tomorrow was a book I encountered while researching for books to include on my 2022 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To List. It came in highly recommended, hence, its inclusion in my own list. Next up will be a very popular and familiar name. I have read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s other novels and I would be completing the set with The Beautiful and Damned, which is also the controversial writer’s sophomore novel.
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!