Happy midweek everyone! Wow. We are already halfway through the week. I hope your week is doing well.
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:
- What are you currently reading?
- What have you finished reading?
- What will you read next?
What are you currently reading?
Finally! The moment has finally arrived. Nearly six years since I first started reading it, I have again crossed paths with James Joyce’s Ulysses. Originally part of my 2017 Top 20 reading list, I gave up reading the book. I was struggling to make sense of the story. Despite my best effort, it just wasn’t meant to be and up until now, it is the only book on my did-not-finish list. Well, that is about to change. Even though I gave up on the book, I resolved to read it later on. That moment has finally arrived as I specifically placed it to be the 1000th novel I will read. Strangely enough, I find the book easier to understand and appreciate. I guess letting myself “mature” as a reader helped me gain better insights. There are still parts of Ulysses that I find myself wondering but I find the story flowing this time around. The eventful one-day adventure of Leopold Bloom across Dublin has me invested in the landscape of the city and the diverse personalities of the characters Bloom encountered along the way. They gave the story and the city a distinct personality. I am just less than a hundred pages away from clearing off my did-not-finish list.
What have you finished reading?
When I finished my 999th novel, Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House, I was at an impasse. Should I go ahead to reading Ulysses? I recognize that immediately dipping my toes into one of the most revered and also one of the most daunting works of literature will not cut it. If my initial experience with Ulysses is any indicator. As such, rather than delving into the complex narrative, I first decided to pause and read one of Joyce’s other works, Dubliners. I was hoping that the book would prepare me for the daunting task of reading Ulysses. It was meant to be a primer of some sort to the Irish writer’s oeuvre.
Sure enough, this strategy worked. I guess I owe the smooth reading journey to Dubliners. My first official completed work by Joyce, Dubliners is, in a way, a deviation from what I typically read. It is a collection of short stories, something that I am not really that fond of. However, the occasion is too important for me to think about such trifles; I am glad I did. First published in 1914, Dubliners is comprised of fifteen short stories, each peopled by a character from different walks of life, from schoolboys to college student to a lumbering alcoholic scrivener to ordinary denizens. Each character has his or her own concern; the stories depicted the plights of the common Irish during the early years of the 20th century. These contrasts gave the short story collection different textures. While each story had its own differences, there was something palpably similar in them. I guess this is the function of Joyce’s storytelling as his language and writing were able to weave each piece into one lush tapestry.
What will you read next?
From Ireland, I am planning to take my literary journey to Scotland, with Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. It is a title that I kept on encountering in must-read lists, including the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. It would, however, take me a couple more persuasions to convince me to give the book a chance. I am actually curious about what the title means, especially since I can barely remember the blurb for the book, Nevertheless, I am curious about what the Scottish writer has to offer. I badly want to know what made many love Trainspotting.
Another book that has long captured my interest is Emma Donoghue’s The Room. The book was adapted into a film – Trainspotting was also adapted into one – and it was through this film that I encountered Donoghue. It naturally piqued my interest, hence, its inclusion in my perpetually growing reading list. I thought that the story was a domestic one, a typical mother and son story. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was a work of mystery fiction. Nevertheless, I am very excited to read what the story and Donoghue have to offer.
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!