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?

As I still have quite a score of works of American literature on my reading queue, I have decided to extend my September American literature reading month. As such, I will be again reading works of American literature this October, most of which are part of my active 2022 reading challenges. I have recently realized how badly I am doing in many of these challenges. Although not part of any reading challenges, my current read is part of my goal of reading at least 20 books on the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. My current read is Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, which, I believe is the 11th book from the aforementioned list I read this year; my goal is to read at least 20 books. When I first encountered the book, I was kind of apprehensive. The title was interesting but the book’s structure held me back. After this initial resistance, I finally decided to give Egan’s prose a chance. The book, after all, won the Pulitzer Prize. Moreover, its sequel, The Candy House, was released this year and was one of the primary drivers for the overturning of my apprehensions. Unfortunately, I have just started the book so any impressions I have of it will be shared in this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

Concluding my September reading journey was the work of a familiar writer. I mean, who hasn’t heard of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his popular book of the Jazz era, The Great Gatsby? I’ve already read three of his books, including the aforementioned The Great Gatsby but it has been four years since my last book by Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night. As such, I listed The Beautiful and Damned in my 2022 Top 22 Reading List and Beat the Backlist Challenges; hitting two birds with one stone! Also, With this book, I have also completed all his completed novels published during his lifetime. At the heart of The Beautiful and Damned was Anthony Patch, the stubborn grandson of a wealthy grandfather. When Anthony returned to the Big Apple after living in Rome, Anthony was under the impression that his grandfather was dying and that he would finally receive his inheritance. But then fate played one of its cruel jokes as Grandfather Patch rallied and was able to recover. Nevertheless, Anthony decided to stay in New York City and be part of its partying scene where he met Gloria Gilbert, a beautiful flapper from Kansas City. Fitzgerald, a master of capturing the spirit of a time and place, juxtaposed the book’s romantic on an idyllic, if not a tumultuous backdrop. Both characters were flawed and unapologetic and yes, the novel was about the author and his wife Zelda. Overall, a good read.

Since 2018, I have started an annual tradition wherein I list the 10 most anticipated releases for that year. It has been going on for some time but not once did I complete them. I did come close in 2020 when I was one book short of completing all 10 books on the list. Nevertheless, I always make it a point to do this list at the start of the year. For 2022, one of the books that made it to the list was Emma Straub’s This Time Tomorrow. Unlike most of the writers on the said list, Straub has already been around the block although this is my first book by her; all the books on my most anticipated releases are by authors whose works I have not read previously. The heart of the novel was Alice, a woman approaching her forties. At the start, it seemed that it was a romance book for the story was preoccupied with her romantic relationship. But as expected, things are not what always they seem. After a night of getting wasted to celebrate her birthday, she woke up in her childhood bedroom, not as a forty-year-old woman but as her sixteen-year-old self. The novel’s strong points were its heartwarming exploration of the dynamics between parent and daughter and its philosophical approach to exploring mortality, the passage of time, and, like what most time travel-related books have underscored, the ripple effect of even the most minute of choices.

After completing A Visit from the Goon Squad, I am planning to read John Irving’s The World According to Garp. After reading three of Irving’s novels, I can say that his prose is quite familiar; I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany. Irving is also skilled at conjuring eccentric and flawed characters who move his stories forward. However, it has been almost four years since I read my last novel by Irving, hence, the sudden insertion of The World According to Garp. I do expect Garp to be another eccentric character.

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. Lastly, I am lining up Paul Auster’s Moon Palace. I have read one of Auster’s works before, The New York Trilogy, but it has been some time since I read the book. As such, I included Moon Palace in my 2022 Beat the Backlist reading challenge. By the way, both The World According to Garp and Moon Palace were listed as among the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

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!