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:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What have you finished reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What are you currently reading?

With the year finally entering the -ber months, I have realized that I have been lagging behind in many of my active reading challenges. As such, I will be dedicating the next four months to reading books from these reading challenges. One of the books in these challenges is Donna Tart’s The Little Friend. My first encounter with Tartt was back in 2015 when I read her labyrinthine Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Goldfinch. It left a deep impression on me that I endeavored to read her other works. Her second work I read was her debut novel, The Secret History. However, nearly five years have passed since I read the book. So to get myself reacquainted with her prose, I listed her sophomore novel in both my 2022 Top 22 Reading List and 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. I just started the book but I somehow sense something eerie about it; it opened up with a suicide. Based on my previous experience with her works, this is not farfetched. I will be sharing more of my impressions in this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

Like The Little Friend, The Virgin Suicides is part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. It was also my third novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, a writer who I first encountered through must-read lists. His novel Middlesex immediately captured my interest; it was a book I knew I would love and I did. It was also the reason why I resolved to read his other works. I found The Marriage Plot barely impressive but it did not stop me from looking forward to The Virgin Suicides, Eugenides’ debut novel. As the title suggested, the core of the story is a string of suicides that occurred within a year. This event involved the five daughters of the Lisbon family: Cecilia, Lux, Bonnie, Mary, and Therese. Equally attractive, they were born into a devoutly Catholic family. It started with the youngest, Cecilia before her sisters took their own lives. However, we only get to study them through the neighborhood boys who observed them from a distance. Ronald, the family patriarch, was one of their math teachers at the local high school. It does seem like the story was about the Lisbon sisters. However, one soon realizes that they are vessels seminal for the coming-of-age of the neighborhood boys. Eugenides did a commendable job of shrouding the sisters in mystery. Beyond mental health and suicide, the book explored how death can define and affect a community or a group of people. While I was a little underwhelmed at first, I was reeled in when I pieced all of the book’s elements together.

It was during the Big Bad Wolf sale back in pre-COVID19 2020 that I was able to obtain a copy of Elif Batuman’s The Idiot. I think I first encountered it a couple of months back but I was reluctant to obtain a copy of the book. I eventually relented as my curiosity got the better of me in the end. Besides, the title did remind me of a book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky of the same title. The Russian writer was actually mentioned in the book with the primary characters discussing the merits of his oeuvre; his seminal work Crime and Punishment was even mentioned. So anyway, the book was narrated from the first-person point-of-view of Selin Karadağ, the novel’s heroine. She is a freshman undergrad student at Harvard majoring in linguistics in the mid-1990s. Because of this, language and communication played a seminal role in the story. The crux of her freshman experience, however, was her correspondence with an older Hungarian mathematics student, Ivan, who she first met in a Russian language class. For Selin, however, it was more than a correspondence as she slowly found herself falling in love with Ivan, although she was unsure most of the time of how she felt. Ivan, by the way, was in a relationship. I have mixed feelings about the book. The writing was accessible, hence, it was an easy read. However, it dragged at parts and Selin can be a frustrating character although her freshman experiences at Harvard were something many of us can relate to.

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!