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 have finally reached the end of the tunnel. In the past week, I was able to complete two of my most important reading challenges, my 2022 Top 22 Reading List, and my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Now that I have those monkeys off my back, I can now lighten off a bit. Nevertheless, I still have one mission in mind. I will try to tick off as many new books as I can before the year ends. This new journey starts with Scottish writer Douglas Stuart’s sophomore novel, Young Mungo. Having read his Booker Prize-winning debut novel, Shuggie Bain, I already had a picture in my mind of how the story is going to shape up. In a way, Young Mungo is another variation of Shuggie Bain. We find ourselves in Glasgow where we meet the titular Mungo, fifteen years old when we first meet him. He had an older brother, Hamish, and an older sister, Jodie. There was no mention of their father, yet, but they were raised by their mother, Mo-Maw. It shares similar elements as Stuart’s debut novel, such as the adoption of vernacular in dialogues. While the similarities are taking my attention, I am enjoying the reading experience so far. The writing flows smoothly. Mungo is an enigma waiting to be uncovered. I still have quite a lot to unearth in Stuart’s second novel.

What have you finished reading?

After nearly two weeks, I was finally able to complete reading Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. I am more than relieved because that was one hefty book. There was a reason why I had to put it last among the books in my reading challenges; it was the last book in both my 2022 Top 22 Reading List and my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Speaking of reading challenges, with A Suitable Boy, I didn’t hit just two birds but I managed to hit three birds. The book was my 100th book for the year, marking the first time I achieved this feat. I never thought I would be able to pull it off for it has been my goal for the longest time. Completing the book also means I am getting closer to reading my 1,000th novel, a special number I have dedicated to the only book I have DNF’ed, James Joyce’s Ulysses.

But back to A Suitable Boy. Had it not been for must-read lists, I would have never encountered the book, which was also my first 1,000+ pager since Hungarian writer Péter Nádas’ Parallel Stories which I read back in 2020. It is daunting and the intimidation only grows as the novel moves forward. On the surface, the story seemed domestic enough, simple enough. We meet Lata, the youngest child of Mrs. Rupa Mehra. When we first meet the mother and daughter pair, we witness the marriage of Lata’s older sister, Savita. Savita’s marriage was arranged for by their mother; their father has already passed away. That leaves Lata who was nineteen when we first meet her. The story gets complicated as it moved forward. From one family, three more families were introduced, with one of their common connections being the Mehras. Their other main connection: is politics. Politics was integral in the story. It was, after all, set during the infancy of the Indian republic. It didn’t long before I found my footing in the story. The heft was really meant to daunt but like with Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, I found the novel easier than it looked. Overall, it was an insightful portrait of contemporary India, its colorful history and diverse people.

After Young Mungo, 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!