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Books by Filipino authors for all kinds of moods

Books by Filipino authors for all kinds of moods

Home is where the heart is.

This month, we highlight Filipino authors in our Read Filipino collection, no matter where they are in the world. We are proud to feature books written by Filipinos coming from all different places, perspectives, and walks of life as they share the culture, diversity, and more often than not, the unfavorable realities of what it means to be Pinoy.

If you’re looking for a book to start browsing this August, Fully Booked wrapped up some Filipino authored titles you can enjoy reading for all kinds of #moods. 

MOOD: Fictionalize memoir

I Was The President's Mistress!! by Miguel Syjuco

In this masterful and audacious novel, Miguel Syjuco’s signature style—hilarious, insightful, playful, provocative—animates thirteen indelible voices whose stories present a cross-section of a complicated society. I Was the President’s Mistress!! hurtles headlong into love, politics, faith, history, memory, and the ongoing war over who will tell the stories the world shall know as truth.

MOOD: Friendship and magic

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

Jolina can't take Claudine's bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she's still in training to use her grandfather's arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion. Magic comes with a cost and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person's ability to love -- or hate -- will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm.

Magic and reality mingle in this brilliant new middle-grade novel by Gail D. Villanueva that asks whether it's ever okay to take away someone's free will.

MOOD: Delectable food with a hint of mystery

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

This book will make you hungry… Consider yourself warned! Kidding aside, Arsenic and Adobo are a fun and humorous cozy mystery featuring family moments and of course, yummy Filipino dishes.

Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup and was asked to save her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case. 

Both tasty and twisted, satisfaction will be served on a silver platter upon finishing this book.

MOOD: Light and feel-good

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Heartwarming and empowering, Hello, Universe is a funny and easily-relatable story about unexpected friendships told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls. 

The 2018 Newbery Medal winner Hello, Universe celebrates bravery, friendship, and finding your inner bayani (hero). It’s the kind of book you’ll want to read to slow down after a long and tiring day.

MOOD: Literary fiction in action

Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

The award-winning author Gina Apostol takes readers back to 1901 when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison by following the story of two women: a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, who was working on a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War.

In what the New York Times calls a “bravura performance,” Apostol also shares that this historical fiction offers a new perspective on understanding our national hero, Jose Rizal—an interesting and explosive read told flawlessly with an inconspicuous mastery of storytelling.

MOOD: Suspense and thriller

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan

If you’re looking for a Filipino mystery novel with a plot that will haunt you, Smaller and Smaller Circles could be what you’re looking for.

The winner of the Philippine National Book Award and Carlos Palanca Grand Prize, F.H. Batacan’s harrowing book follows two Catholic priests on the hunt through Manila for a brutal serial killer. It’s a contemporary Filipino detective novel that has a hint of suspense, crime, and mystery all in one book.

MOOD: Riveting literary criticism

How To Read Now by Elaine Castillo

How to Read Now explores the politics and ethics of reading, and insists that we are capable of something better: a more engaged relationship not just with our fiction and our art, but with our buried and entangled histories. Smart, funny, galvanizing, and sometimes profane, Castillo attacks the stale questions and less-than-critical proclamations that masquerade as vital discussion: reimagining the cartography of the classics, building a moral case against the settler-colonialism of lauded writers like Joan Didion, taking aim at Nobel Prize winners and toppling indie filmmakers, and celebrating glorious moments in everything from popular TV like The Watchmen to the films of Wong Kar-wai and the work of contemporary poets like Tommy Pico.

MOOD: Letting go and moving on

The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza

Short but heartfelt, The Last Time I’ll Write About You is a collection of poems on falling in love, painful heartbreaks, and moving on—finding the words you could be longing to say (or even hear).

Popular fiction and poetry author Dawn Lanuza featured beautiful and relatable poems that will serve as the perfect companion for anyone who has loved, lost, and emerged anew.

MOOD: Cookbook and memoir in one go

Amboy: Recipes from the Filipino-American Dream by Alexandra Cuerdo and Alvin Cailan

Amboy: Recipes from the Filipino-American Dream is a biography by Alvin Cailan, arguably the most high-profile chef in America’s Filipino food movement. When he opened the now-legendary Eggslut in Los Angeles, a foodie cult favorite specializing in affordable but sophisticated egg sandwiches, he took the food scene by storm.

This unique cookbook features scrumptious recipes and has a twist on Cailan’s personal experiences as an Amboy (the term for a Filipino raised in America) as he overcame cultural traditions and family expectations to find his path to success.

Watch the Fully Booked Chats with Alvin Cailan and discover more about the author, his book, and his life as a chef.

MOOD: Fun and child-like activities

Pan De Sal Saves the Day by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco

Kids and of course, kids at heart, will surely love this fun-filled book! Pan De Sal Saves the Day is a colorful bilingual Tagalog and English activity book that has games and puzzles.

The 32-page multicultural children’s book, designed for kids 4-8, highlights beautiful illustrations and interactive games. It also includes an answer key at the back to double-check answers and avoid frustration.

MOOD: Sci-fi, music, and imaginary worlds

Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap

Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, A Spell for Foolish Hearts to the terrifying tension of the urban legend Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez.

MOOD: Crime and thriller with Philippine folklore (in a graphic novel)

After Lambana by Eliza Victoria, Mervin Malonzo

On the shadowy, noir-tinged streets of Manila, multiple realities co-exist and intertwine as the two friends seek a cure for the magical malady. Slinky sirens and roaming wraith-like spirits populate a parallel world ruled by corruption and greed, which Conrad must enter to find the cure he seeks. He has little idea of the creatures he will encounter and the truths to be revealed along the way. Will Lambana spill its secrets and provide the healing balm Conrad needs? Or will he perish in the process?

Fans of Neil Gaiman, Emil Ferris, and Charles Burns will love love After Lambana!

MOOD: Self-discovery

Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan

The captivating novel is about a Filipino boy with albinism whose story travels from an immigrant childhood to Harvard to a gender transition and illuminates the illusions of race, disability, and gender.

A reflective book based on the life of Meredith Talusan’s experience as a transgender, Fairest is a beautifully written coming-of-age memoir and a story about the discovery of womanhood.

MOOD: Quick read on sisterhood and family

We Belong by Cookie Hiponia Everman

Interestingly, We Belong is a novel-in-verse that beautifully blends Filipino folklore and the migrant experience. It’s a story about Stella and Luna, who know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else.

One night, they asked her to tell them a story and their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and refugee; and that of the young life of a Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god.

The prose is undeniably lovely and the novel stayed true to the Filipino culture and norms throughout the telltale. 

MOOD: Grief, angst, and redemption

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

The story revolves around Jay Reguero, a typical teenager on his way to head the University of Michigan for college. When he discovers that his Filipino cousin, Jun, was murdered as part of the war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, he travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

If you’re on the lookout for a powerful and informative coming-of-age book, Patron Saints of Nothing offers nothing less but the best of both of those worlds: a haunting story about grief, growing up, and learning about yourself through discovering more about your culture.

MOOD: Nothing beats the classic

America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan

First published in 1946, the autobiography of the well-known Filipino poet describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant following the harvest trail in the rural West.

Timeless in such a way that some of the circumstances Bulosan experienced are still relevant to the present-day time, America is in the Heart reveals the poet’s stoic voice to the terrible events he witnessed.

MOOD: Quick but wildly entertaining

Para Kay B by Ricky Lee

Para Kay B is Ricky Lee, the award-winning scriptwriter, journalist, and playwright’s, first novel. It is a comical, cinematic, and entertaining read that will reveal to readers exotic episodes of both life and love. The book, written in both English and Filipino, tells the story of five women and their quest to find the meaning of love in their lives.

It’s quite short so you can most probably finish it in one sitting. After all, once you get a grip of it, you’ll find yourself lost in the world of Ricky Lee and Para Kay B.

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