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?

October is basically an extension of my September American literature reading month; I have quite a lot of works of American literature on my reading challenges. My current read, Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs, is part of both my 2022 Top 22 Reading List and my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. It was a book I acquired back in early 2018 during the Big Bad Wolf Manila Book Fair. I didn’t have an iota about who Russo was but there was something that compelled me to purchase the book. I would, later on, learn that Russo won the Pulitzer Prize, albeit with a different work, Empire Falls. Bridge of Sighs is my first novel by Russo. Set in the fictional upstate New York town of Thomaston, the novel’s focal point was Louis Charles “Lucy” Lynch who we first meet in the present as a sixty-year-old man. The story then flashes back to the past as Russo built Lucy’s back story. We meet his family: an overly optimistic father contrasted by a realist mother. Lucy was their only child. But what figures prominently is the town Lucy’s story was juxtaposed to. We read about a town slowly descending into deterioration. Old establishments were closing. Denizens were selling their old homes and moving elsewhere. Lucy’s father, being the optimist that he is, insisted that his family stay put. I am nearly done with half of the book but there is still a lot that it will unpack, it seems. I will share more about my impressions in this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

I cannot recall which of John Irving’s works I read first: The Fourth Hand or A Prayer for Owen Meany. Nevertheless, I found the former pretty pedestrian in literary merits but I was more than astounded by the latter. Owen Meany is one of the most memorable literary characters I have encountered. However, it has been nearly four years since I read a book by the American writer. As such, despite The World According to Garp not being part of any of my active reading challenges – except perhaps for my goal to read at least 20 books listed on the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List – I queued the book for my October American Literature month. And what can I say? Irving is a master storyteller and like his other works I read, the focal point was an eccentric character. The titular Garp is the bastard son of Jenny Fielding, a nurse born into an affluent background. Jenny was a strong-willed woman who wanted a child but not the complications of marriage. It was this that drove her to perform illicit acts on one of her patients, Technical Sergeant Garp. This led to Garp’s conception. We then follow his story as he was raised by a single mother. It was, as always, an engaging read despite the distance between Garp and the reader; this is something I found common in Irving’s works, apart from the fact that his main characters are, oftentimes, eccentric. Irving packed his fourth novel and his first major literary breakthrough with subjects that remain seminal in the contemporary, from sexual liberties to family dynamics to the rise of feminism to the growing gap between males and females. Politics and toxic masculinity were also present in the novel. When reading an Irving novel, one thing is for sure: your mind will always be engaged.

I next plan to read 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. Like The World According to Garp, Moon Palace was listed as among the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I am also lining up Delia Owens’ Where The Crawdads Sing. I first encountered the book back in 2019, if my memory serves me right, but I didn’t bother with it. But the book was ubiquitous and in early 2021, I was finally convinced to dip my fingers into this novel. Honestly, I wasn’t planning to read the book anytime soon but I learned that the movie adaptation of the book is to be released this year, hence, the change in plans. Moreover, there are certain controversies attached to the book. I’ll see what it has to offer.

Lastly, I have on queue Richard Powers’ The Overstory, which like A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the Pulitzer Prize. My first encounter with the book was in 2020 when it was ubiquitous. The book cover, which seemed to reference a story about nature, caught my interest but not enough to make me want to read it. However, when Powers’ Bewilderment was longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction and I ended up liking the book, my interest in The Overstory was renewed. I have listed it as part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading List.

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!