Happy Wednesday everyone! Before anything else, I want to greet everyone a happy new year! Speaking of greetings, a former colleague recently shared a discussion he had vis-a-vis the question of when must one greet everyone a happy new year. The answer he got was that it should end around the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany which will be celebrated on the sixth. So, again, happy new year!

I know that the future is still filled with uncertainties but I hope that 2023 will be a year of blessings and good news. I hope that this year will be a year of healing and growth. But more importantly, I hope that you will all be healthy, in body, mind, and spirit this year.

As it is midweek, it is time for a fresh WWW Wednesday update, my first this year. 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?

Opening up my 2023 reading journey is Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, Demon Copperhead. Just like in early 2022, I am currently in the midst of a 2022 book releases reading catchup. It was how I ended 2022 – I read three 2022 books in a row. Demon Copperhead – I kept mistaking it as Copperfield! – is my third novel by Kingsolver and quite honestly, I wasn’t really keen on reading the book when I learned about its release. The title did not appeal to me I guess. But I was eventually convinced later in 2022 when the book was included in many a Best 2022 Books list. When I read the blurb of the book, that was when it hit me, the connection that I failed to make. Demon Copperhead is, in a way, a play around David Copperfield, the Charles Dickens classic. David Copperfield also happens to be one of my all-time favorite reads. The modern take on this timeless classic commenced with the birth of Damon Fields, also known as Demon and nicknamed Copperhead because of his hair color. The book’s hero was born in a trailer in Lee County, Virginia, to a mother who has an addiction to substances. We then follow Demon, who narrates his own story, as he navigates the complexities of life. There were tender moments and moments of hilarity, perfectly balanced by Kingsolver’s prose. I am just over a hundred pages away from completing the book. I can’t wait to see how Demon Copperhead’s story concludes.

What have you finished reading?

As mentioned above, three new books capped y 2022 reading journey, with the last of the three books being the work of another unfamiliar writer. I first encountered Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis while browsing the books on sale by an online bookseller. Curious, I bought it along with Candice Carty-Williams’ People Person, another writer whose oeuvre I have not explored either. Unfortunately, both books were left to gather dust on my bookshelf although I have been meaning to read them; my pivot toward books in my reading challenges in the latter half of the year resulted in a detour.

Thankfully, the opportunity to read the book finally presented itself; my decision to read the book in 2022 was reinforced by the positive feedback from a fellow book reader. In a way, I did expect the premise of the story, considering that it was set in the Deep South. Moreover, the city of Memphis in Tennessee played a seminal role in America’s racial history. It bore witness to many important historical events. At the heart of Stringfellow’s debut novel were three generations of Black women and a house that was built by the family’s patriarch. The matriarch was Hazel who had two daughters: Miriam and August. Miriam would have two daughters herself: Joan and Mya. The story was nonlinear as it weaved in and out of different timelines, sometimes without a preamble. Hurdle this initial challenge and the story started to unfold. We read about a group of resilient women who had to endure racism, sorrow, heartbreaks, and different forms of domestic abuse. It was an engrossing read and the writing was captivating; I, later on, learned that Stringfellow was an accomplished poet but I find that some poets transitioning to prose is hit-and-miss. Anyway, Memphis is a perfect way to close what has been a record-breaking year. Hoping for an even grander reading journey in 2023!

I will be pursuing my 2022 reading catchup to open up my 2023 reading journey. As such, after Demon Copperhead (not Copperfield), I will be lining up more 2022 releases. The first book I have in sight is Shehan Karunatilaka’s The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. The Sri Lankan writer’s sophomore novel, the book initially caught my interest when it was longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize; the book title has that effect. My interest in the book skyrocketed after it was announced as the winner; South Asian writers won big in 2022. I just received my copy of the book and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

Next up is Jabari Asim’s Yonder, a book that was recommended by a fellow book reader. Prior to 2022, I have not encountered nor have I read any works by Jabari Asim. I learned that Asim has a very extensive writing resume, a career that spanned various genres such as essays, poetry, and children’s stories. Yonder was his third novel. Somehow, I feel like the novel has elements of magical realism. Lastly, I am planning to read Lidia Yuknavitch’s latest novel, Thrust. Whoa. This will make it three new writers in a row for me. Unlike the two books which are both works of historical fiction, Thrust is set in the future which makes me suspect that it is dystopian fiction. 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!