Happy Wednesday everyone! We’re in the final stretch of the year. The future holds a lot of uncertainties but it also beacons with hope; hope, after all, springs eternal. But as the year slowly draws to a close, I hope that the rest of the year will be 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?

The year is slowly drawing to a close. Thankfully, for the first time in a while, I will not be cramming, at least reading-wise. After dedicating the past three months mainly to reading books on my active reading challenges, I am finally seeing the end of the tunnel; at least on two of these challenges. For the past week, I have been reading Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, the last book in my 2022 Top 22 Reading List, and my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge, my two most crucial reading challenges. I am hitting three birds with one stone as I am also going to breach 100 reads for the year. This is a remarkable feat as this is the first time I am hitting 100 reads in a year. This has been a goal I’ve had for years but not once did I succeed although I did at least 90 books in the past two years, and three overall (four if we include this year). Several failed attempts made me believe I would never be able to accomplish it. I guessed wrong and I am savoring it as it might take years before it can happen again.

Had it not been for must-read lists, I would have never encountered Vikram Seth and A Suitable Boy; a good chunk of the books I read in the past half-decade was introduced to me through these lists. Although I acquired the book over four years ago, I had to pass up on the opportunity to read it. I was daunted by the book’s heft. A Suitable Boy is my first 1,000+ pager book since Hungarian writer Péter Nádas’ Parallel Stories which I read back in 2020 although I did read a 900+ pager earlier this year in Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob. Heft aside, A Suitable Boy was a book I have been looking forward to for so long, hence, its inclusion on two of my reading lists. Also, this is going to be my 988th novel, which means the day of reckoning with James Joyce’s Ulysses is looming. I did start reading the seminal literary work about five years ago but I had to stop midway through the story – it is, until today, the only book I DNF’ed. However, I reserved it for a very important slot: Ulysses is going to be my 1,000th novel.

But back to A Suitable Boy. Prior to reading the book, I did have some expectations of the story. However, none of it was correct. HAHA. Instead, what unfolded is the story of four Indian families whose lives intersected mainly through marital connections. The book was set during the infancy of the Indian republic but the ties of these four families go beyond. The first of these four families, and also the most prevalent, was the Mehra family whose head of the household was Mrs. Rupa Mehra; her husband has already passed away. When we first meet her, she successfully arranged the marriage of her oldest daughter, Savita. She still had one daughter, Lata, whose marriage she is still to arrange. Lata was already a university student. From the concerns surrounding her impending betrothal – to whom is the question, hence, the title – the book branched out to other seminal subjects such as the partition, the divide between the Muslims and Hindus, and the escalating political tensions as India tries to wrest full autonomy. I still have over 400 pages to go but the book has a lot to offer and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out in the end.

What have you finished reading?

After A Suitable Boy, anything goes I guess. Just kidding. I guess I will be resuming one of my goals this year which is to read more new books. Two of the three books I have aligned are new books. The first one is Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo. The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize with his debut (semi-autobiographical) novel Shuggie Bain, Stuart is certainly on the rise. Despite its repetitive images, Shuggie Bain was an insightful novel that contributed, in part, to my decision to read Stuart’s second novel, and, from the snippets I get from the Internet, it is a book that deals with subjects nearly similar to his debut novel, at least where coming-of-age and sexuality are concerned

The second new novel I have lined up is Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead, a book I was really not intent on reading. My mind changed after the book was listed in several Best Books of 2022 lists. The tip of the iceberg, I guess, was the book’s inclusion in the New York Times Notable Books of the Year. And man did I lose it when I realized what I missed at the onset: the homage, or at least the reference to one of the most beloved works of literature, Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield! I was beside myself when I was reading the synopsis. You see, David Copperfield was my first Dickens novel – which I read way back in the late 2000s – and the first one that made me fall in love with his prose. Now I can’t wait to dip my toes into Kingsolver’s latest novel, my third by her if ever.

Lastly, I have a book I have been meaning to read for the longest time. David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black first caught my attention when the book was announced as the winner of the 2021 International Booker Prize. I have never heard of him before. This presents a good opportunity to explore a new literary territory, something that I am always up for. That’s it for this week’s (late) WWW Wednesday. I hope you are all doing great. Happy reading and always stay safe! Happy Wednesday again!