04 December 2012

Reading the second half of 2012

"I’m not one of those nationalist monsters who only reads what his native country produces", said one novelist who was fond of detectives for characters. By the second half of the year, I woke up to find the upper half of my body turned into a monster. I gobbled up a good share of writings by Filipino writers, in both Tagalog and English languages. I expect this nationalist fever to continue into the post-apocalyptic, post-doom new year and beyond. Yet the call of international and translated literature still persists. One's metamorphosis as a reader isn't ever complete.

The titles below were what I read from July to November. I decided to cut the year-end reading report to November. The last month was just too euphoric for me to post titles added to the reading list.

In this period I read a total of 36 books, bringing the year's total to 75 (or 6.8 books per month). As with my reading in the first half, graphic novels bloated the total. The stats are summarized below.

75 books read in 2012 -- 61 fiction (40 novels, 14 graphic, 7 short story collections), 7 poetry, 6 nonfiction, 1 mixed
62 books by male writers, 13 by female writers
40 translations -- 20 from Japanese, 11 from Spanish, 5 from German, 2 from Tagalog, 1 from French, 1 from Swedish
35 original language -- 18 Tagalog, 15 English, 1 mixed, 1 no language

Books read (July-November 2012)

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea by Mishima Yukio, trans. John Nathan
12 by Manix Abrera
Trese: Midnight Tribunal by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo
Confessions of a Mask by Mishima Yukio, trans. Meredith Weatherby
Dust Devils by Rio Alma, ed. and trans. Marne Kilates
Desert by J. M. G. Le Clézio, trans. C. Dickson
Luha ng Buwaya by Amado V. Hernandez
3 Strange Tales by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, trans. Glenn Anderson
Kikomachine Komix Blg. 4 by Manix Abrera
Maganda pa ang Daigdig by Lazaro Francisco
Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties by John J. L. Mood
It's a Mens World by Bebang Siy
El Filibusterismo by José Rizal, trans. Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin
Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles by Erik Matti and Ronald Stephen Y. Monteverde
Kapitan Sino by Bob Ong
Kikomachine Komix Blg. 3 by Manix Abrera
The Devil's Causeway by Matthew Westfall
Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag by Edgardo M. Reyes
The Aesthetics of Resistance, volume 1, by Peter Weiss, trans. Joachim Neugroschel
Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila #1 by Carlo Vergara
Sa Aking Panahon by Edgardo M. Reyes
My Prizes by Thomas Bernhard, trans. Carol Brown Janeway
Sugar and Salt by Ninotchka Rosca, illus. Christina Quisumbing Ramilo
The Gold in Makiling by Macario Pineda, trans. Soledad S. Reyes
A Contract With God by Will Eisner
Maoh: Juvenile Remix, Vol. 10, by Megumi Osuga and Kotaro Isaka, trans. Stephen Paul
Soledad's Sister by Jose Dalisay
Dekada '70 by Lualhati Bautista
This Craft of Verse by Jorge Luis Borges
Mondo Marcos: Writings on Martial Law and the Marcos Babies, eds. Frank Cimatu and Rolando B. Tolentino
Fair Play by Tove Jansson, trans. Thomas Teal
Ang Huling Dalagang Bukid at ang Authobiography na Mali by Jun Cruz Reyes
Style: The Art of Writing Well by F. L. Lucas
Lumayo Ka Nga sa Akin by Bob Ong
Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong
Masterworks of Latin American Short Fiction, ed. Cass Canfield Jr.

Also reviewed: "The Golden Hare" by Silvina Ocampo, trans. Andrea Rosenberg

Readalong co-hosted:

- The Savage Detectives Group Read

Reading events followed:

- German Literature Month II (November) by Caroline and Lizzy
- Literature and War Readalong by Caroline (July: Black Rain by Ibuse Masuji; November: The Stalin Front by Gert Ledig)
- José Saramago Month by Miguel
- Argentinean Literature of Doom
- Spanish Lit Month (July) by Stu and Richard
Japanese Literature Challenge 6 by Bellezza

Anticipated event: January in Japan by Tony


  1. I'm so jealous of all the Filipiniana you read. Lately I've been craving but don't know which titles to go for. Can you recommend me the ones you like best? Have you read Salamanca?

  2. (P.S. FYI, can't comment using my own url here, have to keep loggin on to my old WP acct.)

  3. Claire, I once revised the settings to a lower level where anonymous commenters can post comments, but I was inundated by spammers!

    I've heard of Salamanca by Dean Francis Alfar but I haven't seen a copy. I recently read one of his stories in the Fiction Issue of Esquire Phils. mag (Nov. 2012). It's a brilliant excerpt from a novel-in-progress called A Field Guide to the Streets of Manila.

    As to which ones to read, I think you can't go wrong with books written by the old masters: Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Rio Alma, Amado V. Hernandez, N.V.M. Gonzalez, Carlos Bulosan.

  4. Btw, the main reason I've read a lot of local writings is because I joined a group (in Goodreads) devoted to reading Pinoy books.

    1. I joined the group, Rise, thanks.

  5. I regret the days I often saw and ignored copies of Nick Joaquin, NVM Gonzalez, et al, on the Natl Bookstore shelves. I always went for foreign books. My fill of Filipiniana was taken from Sunday editions of newspapers. Wish I had paid more attention. Now it's difficult to acquire these titles but I've asked my siblings to purchase at least a couple to send me, for now. I wish, too, I'd brought my Noli and El Fili copies. Suddenly have the urge to reread.

    I saw on GoodReads a lot of Bob Ong. What type of books does he write? Mukhang alanganin kasi pero andaming readers..

    1. Claire, avoid Bob Ong at all costs! Haha. He's an amusing writer. He writes mostly comic books with social criticisms. His books are easy books and his laughs are easy laughs. But generally I don't like his books at all.

      Hopefully you acquire some Fil. titles you'd enjoy. There are now new Pinoy writers being published in the US, something you can access maybe. The likes of Han Ong, Jessica Hagedorn, Gina Apostol, Miguel Syjuco, R. Zamora Linmark, etc.

    2. I've read one book by Jessica Hagedorn and didn't like at all. Not The Dogeaters, something else I forget the title. I've Syjuco's Ilustrado still waiting. For sure will read it next year. Would you recommend any titles by these authors that you liked?

      Thanks for the Bob Ong warning haha! I knew there was something fishy.. instinct ba.

    3. I've still on tbr Dogeaters by Hagedorn and Gun Dealers' Daughter by Gina Apostol. For next year's reading list, maybe. Will be interested in what you think of Ilustrado, which is a great novel.

  6. great selection like myself I always seem to have more males read than females ,all the best stu

    1. Stu, it's something I always try to be conscious of. Hopefully I get to read more works by female writers.

  7. Which one is the '1 no language'?

    1. Miguel, that would be the "silent graphic" 12 by Manix Abrera.