This week's question is:
Do you read Filipino literature? If yes, what are some books by Filipino authors that you can recommend to fellow readers?
Now let me be honest. I barely read Filipino literature. I rued about this sad, sad fact when I read and wrote about Syjuco's Ilustrado. I could probably count the number of Filipino books and authors I have read on my fingers. I am trying to get more Filipino authors into my to-be-read list, and hopefully this discussion will generate some good leads!
Ah, required highschool reading: Kangkong 1896, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterimo. I recall being extremely ho-hum about these books when we were studying them, probably because I really struggle with reading Tagalog books, and well because it's -- required reading!?
I recall being quite entertained by the shenanigans of the friars, the love story of Maria Clara and Ibarra, and the friendship of Ibarra and Elias. Quite memorable characters. And years after all those history lessons, I look back fondly at these books and have a better appreciation for their place in Filipino history. I am pretty keen on rereading both Noli and El Fili in English (which I have never done). What about you? (Please say yes!) Our teachers would have been proud!
I was gifted with an anthology by Filipina writers and I really enjoyed Songs of Ourselves: Writings by Filipino Women (edited by Edna Zapanta Manlapaz). It's been ages since I've read this (and I gave this away when I moved here) but I distinctly remember Gilda Cordero-Fernando's short stories in this. I recommend this book if you'd like to just get a taste of a range of writers, writing in various forms (essays, poems, short stories, memoirs), on topics that are near and dear to any Filipina's heart. Take a look at some of these reviews:
Some Filipino authors that I have read include F. Sionil Jose, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, Nick Joaquin, and Lualhati Bautista. But I have to admit that I have only read and reviewed on this blog is Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado. And I am not as well-versed on what they have written as say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Nor can I rattle off a list of books by Filipino authors. Very telling. Very, very embarassing.
Now, I really look forward to some of your recommendations!
Happy Friday everyone! Weekend na!