Do you read Filipino literature? If you do, tell us your favorite books by Filipino authors and name a few that you’d like to recommend to fellow readers.
I do read Filipino literature, when I find one that interests me. Mostly local myths and lore though. I can’t help it—that’s what really appeals to me! But they’re by no one in particular. I can’t remember even one author or any specific myth or lore book.
But I have a few books by Filipinos though:
1. Carlo Vergara’s Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah: bought his because of recommendation and sheer peer pressure. I think, if I gave in to OL and IRL friends, I would’ve bought Trese and other Filipino comic books too! But I’m leaving P. M. Junior’s Pugad Baboy series to my older brother. That’s his thing.
2. Bob Ong’s Ang Paboritong Libro Ni Hudas: my best friend gave it to me as a surprise belated birthday gift two years ago. I read it while lining up to be registered for the 2010 presidential elections. And this was also the reason why the people there didn’t talk to me—but that’s for another post.
3. The Best of Youngblood: back when I was still in high school, I really thought of making an article for this column. Not that I was gunning for being one of the picks for their next compilation (but that wouldn’t be so bad a goal); my article is somewhere inside a bag, along with other pieces I was contemplating to submit but never got the courage to.
4. Youngblood 2.0: a sequel but, personally, not as good as the first one.
If you don’t read much Filipino lit, tell us why.
Filipino authors write. They write well. They write enough. But I just don’t like what they write about.
Although our myths and lore are a rich source of inspiration, no one is inspired enough by them to write a book (and not just a repeat of the same story). I am not saying that someone has to write as awesome as Rick Riordan does for me to read them, but that could help. I have yet to see something that would really interest me. Unless there are works out there that I have yet to come across. If you know of one, please tell me. This goes for other genres that I like.
This is shallow but part of the reason why a book gets picked is the front cover. For covers for Filipino books, I’ve seen cheesy, blah, and injustice. Sometimes even all in one. It’s like the cover was made just so there would be a cover. I know Filipino artists could do better than what MS Paint provides.
Lastly—and please correct me if I am wrong with this one—I’ve yet to see a bookstore with a Filipino section up front, like it’s the first thing that would greet you (or be in your way) as you enter. Yes, I know that displaying the bestsellers front and center is a marketing strategy. But must they be in the far back and minus the seats and space? Isn’t where Filipino books are placed in bookstores (owned by Filipinos?) in the Philippines say something about the pride in Philippine literature and Filipino authors? If Filipino readers are supposed to be proud of having Filipino books by Filipino authors, shouldn’t Filipino bookstores do the same?