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?

For September, I have been reading books (except for one) in my active 2022 reading challenges. I have recently realized how badly I am doing in many of these challenges. As such, the rest of the year is dedicated to reading books from these reading challenges. At the start of the year, I came up with a list of 22 books I resolve to read no matter what. One of those books was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. This is my fourth novel by the fabled American writer who is most popularly known for his The Great Gatsby, the quintessence of the Jazz age novel. So anyway, The Beautiful and Damned introduced Anthony Patch, the grandson of an affluent grandfather. The story, based on what I understand from what I read so far, is going to take the shape of a love story as he met Gloria Gilbert. So far, I have made it to their meeting. Based on my previous experience with Fitzgerald’s works, I expect that the novel reverberates with autobiographical elements; not surprising as most characters in his novels are based on real-life people. I will be sharing more of my impressions in this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

Another one of my active reading challenges is my 2022 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To list. It is basically a list of books that are going to be released during the year. In the past years, I have failed in this challenge although I did come close one time, back in 2020 when I was one book short of completing all ten books on the list. Anyway, one of the books on my 2022 list is Sarah Manguso’s Very Cold People. I have never heard of Manguso before; I learned that she was more renowned as a poet and that Very Cold People is her first foray into full prose. The novel charted the story of Ruthie, the story’s primary narrator as well. The story took time to develop, with the first hundred pages a series of observations about her parents, friends, and classmates. They were random and did not move the story forward. The action started picking up midway through the story. It was then that Manguso’s intentions started achieving some sort of clarity. Very Cold People is, at its heart, the coming-of-age story of a young woman during the 1980s in a small town called Waitsfield, on the outskirts of Boston. It captured the dichotomies that existed in suburban towns. We also read about the traumas and the dysfunctions that permeate small towns. These traumas are often hushed down, so much so that the young ones dream of escaping. It was, overall, an interesting and lyrical novel.

Like The Beautiful and Damned, James Fenimore Cooper is part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. As I acquired the book back in 2017, I have also listed it as part of my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. It is also one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. With one book then, I am hitting not just two stones but three. 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. The story started with Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of Lieutenant Colonel Munro traveling from  Fort Edward to Fort William Henry, where their father was in command. Accompanying them was Major Duncan Heyward and helping them navigate the wilderness was a native named Magua. However, the British party was dissatisfied with Magua which led them to roam around unguided. On one of these excursions, they encountered Natty Bumppo (known as Hawk-eye), a scout for the British. Along with Hawk-eye were his two Mohican friends, Chingachgook and his son Uncas; they were the titular last Mohicans. The historical contexts of the novel were among its most compelling. However, perhaps due to the period it was written, it was prone to stereotypes. Cooper also had the compunction for describing every inanimate object. This undermined the overall reading experience.

With October just over the horizon, I am planning to extend my foray into American Literature because I still have quite a lot from my reading challenges. One of these books is Emma Straub’s This Time Tomorrow. While popular among young adult readers, Straub is a writer whose prose is unfamiliar to me. Her book, 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.

On the other hand, Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, was not listed in any of my reading challenges. However, it is listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Besides, the book has long captured my interest although I have been holding back because of erroneous perceptions I have of the book. If time permits, I am hoping to read Egan’s latest novel, The Candy House, which was released just this year. I obtained a copy of Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs during the 2018 Big Bad Wolf Sale despite having no iota on who Russo was or what the book was about. However, like most of the books I purchased during the same book fair, it was left to gather dust on my bookshelf. I then listed it as part of my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge.

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!