It’s the second day of the week! It’s also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesdays was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.
This week’s topic: Top 5 books with one word titles
Ulysses by James Joyce
Kicking off this list strongly with one of my more recent reads. Well, not really since I first read James Joyce’s renowned and complex novel, Ulysses. Back then, I gave up shortly after making it midway through the story. I then promised to have the book occupy my 1000th novel. It did. Nearly six years after my first encounter, I would read Ulysses again and with the wisdom, I gained between the first and the second reading, I was finally able to appreciate one of the most revered titles in the world of literature. It was still an eccentric book but there is certainly a reason why it is one of the most daunting works of literature. It is also one of its most loved, and also most disliked.
Segu by Maryse Condé
One of the writers I have been looking forward to for quite some time was Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé. In 2021, I finally got the opportunity to explore her prose with Crossing the Mangrove. I immediately followed it up in 2022 with one of her, if not her most popular works, Segu. In Segu, Condé delivered a literary masterpiece that challenged how we understand colonialism, religious fanaticism, and the scars they have left on different quarters of the world. The book was even more effective in undoing the preconceived notions most of us have formed about Africa, its customs, and its people.
Heaven by Mieko Kawakami
Heaven was my second novel by Japanese writer Mieko Kawakami, after her global sensation Breats and Eggs. Originally published in 2009 as Hevun, the novel charts the story of an anonymous fourteen-year-old male high school student in 1991 Japan. Deceptively thin, it was packed with powerful and evocative punches. The novel explored several seminal themes, such as bullying, power dynamics, and acceptance. With the depth of the message it carries, the novel also resonates on a global scale. The novel also underlined the power of Kawakami’s scintillating prose. It was simple but it captured powerful scenes with deftness.
Bewilderment by Richard Powers
Bewilderment was my first foray into the oeuvre of American writer Richard Powers. Had the book not been shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize, I don’t think I would have dipped my toes into the works of Powers. I previously encountered him through his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Overstory but I dismissed the book because I felt like it was not right up my alley. Reading Bewilderment changed my mind and made me understand why some fellow readers recommend him. There was a silent power to his storytelling that flowed throughout. The political shades were pervasive but the book’s message about our declining planet remained clear.
Satantango by László Krasznahorkai
I first came across Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai during the lead-up to the announcement of the 2018/2019 Nobel Prize in Literature winners. He immediately piqued my interest and in 2021, I got the opportunity to read my first novel by the Hungarian writer, Sátántangó. There was something ominous about the novel – you could say it is the title – but I was overcome by curiosity that I eventually overlooked it. I was enchanted by the world that the Hungarian writer conjured. There was something compelling about the story and the prose that reeled me in. Its complexity and maturity made it difficult to believe that it was a debut novel.