Happy Wednesday everyone! We’re in the final stretch of the year. I can’t believe that in a matter of weeks we will be welcoming a new year. While the future holds a lot of uncertainties, it also beacons with hope; hope, after all, springs eternal. But as the year slowly draws to a close, I hope that 2022 is being kind to everyone. I hope that you get repaid for all your hard work this year. I hope that all your prayers have been answered or that you have reached a level of peace. More importantly, I hope that you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. Let’s rock the rest of the year!

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?

After spending the past few weeks focusing on my reading challenges, I am now unclenching. A little bit. I am now down to one book on both my 2022 Beat the Backlist challenge and 2022 Top 22 Reading List. The last book on both challenges is Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy which I have lined up to be my 100th read this year. This will be the first time that I will be breaching 100 books in a year; I am still amazed at readers who can do 200 in a year! Anyway, my current read, NoViolet Bulawayo’s latest novel Glory is my 98th read this year. My previous best was 93 books which I achieved in 2020. Anyway, Glory is the first book in the 2022 Booker Prize longlist I read. This is also my second by the Zimbabwean writer. We Need New Names, which was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize, barely made an impression on me which made me initially bypass Glory. Had it not been for the Booker Prize, I just might have skipped the book and I might have regretted it. Glory is a cynical work of fiction that satirizes Bulawayo’s country’s tumultuous contemporary history. With animals as characters, Bulawayo endeavored to paint a portrait of her homeland’s political and social conditions. The book is providing me a deeper and more complete picture of Bulawayo’s prose and storytelling. Thankfully, I have a little bit of an inkling of Zimbabwe’s current history which helped me understand some of the allegories. I can’t wait to finish the book.

What have you finished reading?

In the past week, I was able to complete just one book, Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk. It was still fine for the book was dense. Actually, I was looking forward to Palace Walk for quite some time. One of the first books by the Nobel Laureate in Literature that I acquired was Palace of Desire. I had to skip reading after I learned that it was the first book in Mahfouz’s acclaimed Cairo Trilogy. I resolved to acquire all books in the trilogy first before I am going to start reading it. Thankfully, I was able to do so back in 2020. It is then imperative for me to start reading the trilogy, hence, its inclusion in my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge.

My third book by the Nobel Laureate in Literatur, Palace Walk charted the story of an Egyptian family during the years immediately prior to the Egyptian Revolution and the First World War. At the helm of the family was al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, the patriarch. He owns a grocery store that sustains his family comprised of his wife, Amina, and their five children. The eldest was Yasin who was al-Sayyid Ahmad’s only child in his first marriage. Fahmy was Amina’s elder son while Khadija was the elder daughter. Aisha and Kamal were the younger children. They live in Cairo’s Gamaliya district, where the Beshtak Palace is also situated. Each child has his or her own character that gave texture to the story. Overall, they make up an interesting character study. In a way, the novel had two distinct parts. The first one was the exploration of family and cultural dynamics while the second part was preoccupied with politics and Egypt’s fight for independence. The second part and one of the characters reminded me of Miramar, the first Mahfouz novel I read. Compared to the first two Mahfouz novels I read, Palace Walk is more substantial in content, hence, it gave me better insight into Mahfouz’s body of art.

After Glory, I am lining up the latest novel by Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi, You Made A Fool of Death With Your Beauty. Her debut novel, Fresh Water – which was also my first novel by them – immediately won me over. Their second novel I read, The Death of Vivek Oji, however, was just right in the middle. This, however, did not preclude me from wanting to read their latest novel. I thought I wouldn’t be able to obtain a copy of their latest novel but I was in luck.

To finally close up two of my reading challenges, I am finally lining up Vikram Seth’s gargantuan book, A Suitable Boy. Like some of the books on this list, I had no iota of who Seth was nor have I read any of the Indian writer’s works previously. However, I kept encountering his novel A Suitable Boy on must-read lists. It was even listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Reading Before You Die. It was a no-brainer. I have to read the book. For the longest time – I acquired my copy of the book back in 2018 – I wanted to read the book. However, I am daunted by its length which is ironic because I am rarely challenged by a book’s length. Anyway, I have finally mustered the courage to read this novel. I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

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!