Happy midweek everyone! Wow. We are already halfway through the week. I hope your week is doing well. Oh, happy first day of March by the way! I can’t believe that we have already chalked up two months of the year. I hope the year has been kind to everyone. I hope that the rest of the year will be filled with nothing but good news and good tidings.
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?
While I spent January catching up on books released in 2022, I spent February reading works of Irish and British literature. It was, as always, an exciting journey that gave me a diverse experience. In a way, my current read, Salman Rushdie’s Victory City is an extension of this journey as Rushdie identifies as a British Indian writer. Victory City is the latest novel by the prolific and award-winning writer, his first since the recent stabbing incident. Like most of the world, I was in shock when I learned about the attack. But as he has shown, he is resilient and he is not going to let himself be silenced. When I learned about his latest release, I was on the lookout and thankfully, I was able to obtain a copy of the book. This will be my 10th novel by Rushdie. As I am just about to start reading the book, I haven’t got much to share but I will be sharing my initial impressions on the book on this week’s First Impression Friday update.
What have you finished reading?
I had yet again another productive reading week even though I was traveling with my family. In the past week, I managed to complete three books, the first of which was Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It was years in the making but I have finally read the sequel to Adams’ popular series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy. I read the first book in the series way back in 2018 and I have since been promising to read the rest of the series. Reading the rest of the series has been part of my new year’s resolution since 2019. I am finally making good on that promise!
The second book reintroduces the main characters who we met in the first book: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Trillian, and Zaphod Beeblebrox. To the uninitiated, Arthur Dent is a middle-class British man who is the only human character in the story; the rest of the characters are different aliens from different planets and galaxies. We meet them again as they attempt to leave the planet Magrathea on the Heart of Gold. However, they were intercepted by a Vogon ship bribed by Gag Halfrunt and a group of psychiatrists; the ship fired at Dent and his crew. What ensued was a mixture of adventures and misadventures, reminiscent of the first book in the series. Adams’ humor and wit were yet again soaring in the second book in the series. But it was not all fun and games as the humor belied the vast territory of subjects it covered such as time manipulation, the end of time, and the relativity of life, death, and the afterlife. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
From outer space, my next read took me to a more familiar place: New York City, in particular, Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs that comprise the Big Apple. The spirit of Brooklyn was captured in Irish writer Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn. I kept encountering the popular and highly-heralded writer and his works in must-read challenges; it was through these challenges that I learned about several of the writers whose works I have been reading in the past few years. A couple of years since my first encounter with the Irish writer, I have finally read one of his novels.
Published in 2009, Brooklyn chronicled the story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman. After not being able to find work in 1950s Ireland, she immigrated to the United States with the assistance of a Catholic priest living in New York City named Father Flood; Rose, Eilis’ older sister, introduced them. Eilis was able to find employment in a department store. She also started taking night classes in bookkeeping, with assistance from Father Flood; Eilis has a knack for bookkeeping which was not left unnoticed. Being a licensed accountant myself, I did find this portion fascinating. Aside from this, the novel had elements of romance which I did find okay. However, I feel like the book’s strength lies in how Tóibín captured Brooklyn in the 1950s. It was a melting pot of different cultures as it was where several immigrants such as Irish and Italians settled. Brooklyn, overall, was an interesting story.
Capping this three-book run was Mary Westmacott’s The Rose and the Yew Tree. To the uninitiated, Mary Westmacott was the pseudonym used by the renowned Queen of Suspense, Agatha Christie. The origin of this pseudonym is a subject of many speculations as Christie was able to keep her identity as Westmacott a secret from the general public for almost 20 years. Some say that the idea was born out of a dark phase in her life. Christie once famously disappeared without any trace after her husband asked for a divorce. She would, later on, reappear but what transpired during the days she disappeared never came to light. It is speculation.
Anyway, she published six books as Mary Westmacott, one of which was The Rose and the Yew Tree. The novel is narrated by Hugh Norreys, an invalid who got crippled in a road accident. We first meet him in the story’s present when a woman burst into his life demanding for his time. She wanted him to visit John Gabriel, a man from Norreys’ past. Gabriel was dying. Norreys abhorred the idea of meeting the man he loathed but he would eventually concede. What ensued was the journey to the past as we learn the reason behind Norreys’ resentment. The book was interesting in more than one way. The most obvious was its deviation from Christie’s penchant for mystery. There was a little suspense but the story was mainly a tragic romance story. It was disorienting at first but I was soon invested as this book showed a different side of Christie’s prose and storytelling.
What will you read next?
After Rushdie’s latest novel, I am looking at continuing my journey to outer space by reading the third book in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I don’t want to lose my momentum so I am lining up Life, the Universe and Everything. Besides, the book looks like it is going to be a quick read anyway. After this, I am contemplating reading Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock. I have never read any of Greene’s works previously although he is a name I keep on encountering on must-read lists. I am looking forward to what his book has in store for me. Lastly, I am planning to read Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. I just realized that it has been over four years since I read a work by the popular English writer.
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!