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 the rest of 2022 will be brimming with hope, healing, and recovery for everyone. I hope that the last two months of the year will be great.

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?

Woah. We are already in the eleventh month of the year. I am glad to say that the past two months have been successful in terms of ticking off all works of American literature in my reading challenges. With this in mind, I am now shifting my focus to the other books on the aforementioned reading challenges. A staple of my annual reading journey is my Top 20 (but 22 this year) Reading List. This is basically a list of books I want to read during the year. I must read them no matter what. One of the books on this list is Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier which I first encountered back in 2019 when it made it to the Booker List longlist. It did not win the prize but it earned other accolades such as being listed as a New York Times Notable Book for the year. Needless to say, I was on the lookout for the book and I was finally able to obtain a copy of it last year. I just started the book and it seems that the story revolves around a couple of travelers aboard the titular boat. There seems to be no robust plot, at least until the part that I have reached. It is a rather quick read that’s why I am not sure if I will be able to share my impressions on this week’s First Impression Friday update.

What have you finished reading?

Unlike the other books on this list, Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing is not part of any of my active reading challenges. This, however, did not preclude me from reading the book. The main reason I read it was because its movie adaptation has already been released earlier this year. To be honest, I wasn’t really planning on reading the book even though it was ubiquitous. Things changed when I learned that there is some sort of controversy surrounding the author. With my curiosity piqued, I ultimately bought a copy of the book which I made part of my immersion into the works of American Literature. At the heart of the story is Catherine Danielle Clark (shortly referred to as Kya). When she was still six years old, she watched her mother walk away from her family. Her departure was succeeded by the departure of Kya’s older siblings; she was the youngest. The reason for their departure was their father’s chronic alcoholism which led to physical abuse. Her father would change, if for a bit, but even he would depart, leaving Kya to her own devices in their shack in the midst of North Carolina’s marshlands. Kya, with the help of a handful of locals, The rest of the town called Kya the Marsh Girl. Apart from her coming-of-age, an important facet of the novel was her two love stories. One, however, ended in a tragedy that would put the highlight on Kya and on the townspeople. The story had bright moments but, overall, I found it a little predictable, cliched even. The writing was accessible but there was a shift midway through the story that led it astray. The courtroom drama was bland and unnecessarily cut off the interesting part of the story, the growth, and development of Kya.

In a way, Richard Powers’ The Overstory shared something with Where the Crawdads Sing. I kept encountering the book whenever I drop by the bookstore. There was something daunting about the book that made me avoid it. Things changed when Powers’ latest novel, Bewilderment, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; I also loved the book. I guess I might as well try The Overstory. After all, it won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. I then obtained a copy of the book and made it part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. The novel introduced a vast and eclectic cast of characters. But while they have separate strands, they ultimately converge through the novel’s main theme. Taking the spotlight in Powers’ twelfth book is a timely and seminal subject: nature. Trees, different types of them, form the literal backbone of the story. Activism was also an important part of the book. These two elements also figured prominently in Bewilderment. There was something, however, that sets the two books apart. Bewilderment followed two characters, hence, it provided a more intimate experience. The Overstory had more characters. On top of this, the latter was heavy on the tell than on the show. Long paragraphs and descriptions abound. There was very limited dialogue among the characters. Nevertheless, I am impressed by Powers’ storytelling. It is rather unconventional, mainly because his works focus on nature, but their unconventionality makes Powers’ works more impressionable.

It seems that the next month is going to be filled with works of European literature. From Ireland (Barry), I plan to read next a work of British literature. Like Kevin Barry, Rachel Joyce was an author whose works I have not read previously. This, however, did not stop me from obtaining a copy of her novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in late 2018. I was reluctant at first but that title was enough to pique my curiosity. The book is also part of my Beat the Backlist Challenge. I will follow it up with two novels that are part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading List. The first one is by French writer and Nobel Laureate in Literature Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio’s Wandering Star. This will be my first by the French writer. I am excited as the book will transport me to a new literary territory. Thankfully, this is also a work of historical fiction. The next book is by another Nobel Laureate in Literature, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (V.S. Naipaul). This will also be my first book by the Trinidadian-born British writer. I have been wanting to read the works of V.S. Naipaul but, unfortunately, obtaining a copy of his works is rather challenging, at least if you are from the Philippines.

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!