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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: 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 is 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 definitely 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 basically 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 through following the story of two women: a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, who were 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 in understanding our national hero, Jose Rizal—an interesting and explosive read told flawlessly with an inconspicuous mastery for 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

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

With a rating of 4.14 and over 5,000 reviews on Goodreads, you simply can’t miss this one! Jia Tolentino’ Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion is a peerless voice of her generation, tackling the conflicts, contradictions, and sea changes that define us and our time.

Trick Mirror is a collection of nine original essays that tackles the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly through a culture that revolves around the self.

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 of 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

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The plot is set on many worlds and spans a millennium. Nia, the ship’s captain, travels out of place and outside of time, so she experiences only eight months every 15 years.

One of the workers, Kaeda, is drawn to Nia. The story goes on as Kaeda finally becomes an old man, while Nia remains much the same. When a small child suddenly appears next to a wrecked ship and he does not speak, his only form of communication is the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in.

A well-crafted story, The Vanished Birds is a novel about friendship, family, finding identity, and love. 

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

Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo

Trese, an award-winning horror and crime comic book series that has been recently adapted into a Netflix TV series, is centered on a supernatural realm where creatures and monsters based from Philippine mythology exist within the human world. 

Check out more fun facts about Trese and its TV adaptation on the blog. 

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 beatifully 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 to the University of Michigan for college. When he discovers that his Filipino cousin, Jun, was murdered as part of the president’s 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 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 script writer, 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 definitely find yourself lost in the world of Ricky Lee and Para Kay B.

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