Reviews of books by Filipino authors? Get them here

It has been said many times that the Philippines does not have a reading culture, but I disagree. Although reading is not as widespread here as in other countries, there is a huge population of Filipino readers of all ages who are interested in books, whether they buy them from a bookstore or a book fair, download as e-books or read online at sites such as Wattpad, Scribble Hub and Royal Road.

It is their curiosity and their thirst to know more that I will try to satisfy, at least a little, in this new book review and literary news column. My deepest thanks go to Rollie Estabillo, Editor of Manila Standard, for backing this idea, and Nickie Wang, Lifestyle Editor, for her support.

The column title, “No Shelf Control”, was crowd-sourced and has the approval of the majority of my Facebook friends I surveyed. It’s a nod to readers’ intense eagerness to get their hands on new books, whether or not they read them right away; just having them on the shelf or in your device is comforting knowing you can access them at your own pace.

This column might as well have been called “Tsundoku”, in reference to those of us who not only have shelves full but books stacked on tables and on the floor, knocking over furniture, supporting other objects , a veritable sea of ​​paper and ink containing the thoughts and ideas of the living and the dead, all for our quiet consumption.

Different people in the country of all ages are interested in reading

I have a stellar range of fiction and non-fiction books to share with you, including: I Was the President’s Mistress!!, the new book by Miguel Syjuco, soon to be released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Assembling Alice, a novel by poet Mookie Katigbak Lacuesta (Penguin Books, 2022), an interesting work of biofiction; White Lady, Black Christ by Charlson Ong (Milflores Publishing, 2021); The Sovereign Trickster: Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte by University of Washington History Professor Vicente L. Rafael (Duke University Press, 2022, reprinted by Ateneo de Manila University [ADMU] Hurry); The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata by Gina Apostol (Soho Press, Inc., 2021) – review copy took a long time to reach me due to the pandemic; Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala, the first of the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime, 2021); and George Deoso’s The Horseman’s Revolt and Other Horrors, a collection of horror stories set in the Philippines (UST Publishing House, 2020).

Also to be reviewed are translated works by Rogelio Sicat and Rowena Festin and Sophia Flor Perez, an anthology of short stories edited by Luna Sicat-Cleto, and the latest edition of Under the Stacks by lawyer-historian Saul Q. Hofileña, Jr.

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Congratulations to the new Board of Directors of the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP).

Its new president, attorney Andrea Pasion-Flores of Milflores Publishing, recently led a day of planning to put in place initiatives for a two-year term in the service of book development.

The new Board of Directors of the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP): (clockwise) Paolo Herras, Dr. John Jack Wigley, Jose Paolo Sibal, Honey de Peralta, Flornida Ramirez, Maria Karina Bolasco, Jose Maria Policarpio, Gladys Doronila, Anna Jhorie Arciga, Andrea Pasion-Flores and Ani Rosa Almario

“We are committed to working as hard as the previous board to help the industry recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic,” Pasion-Flores said.

Other leaders of the group are Nida Ramirez of Avenida Books (VP ​​for internal), Paolo Herras of Komiket (VP for external), Jose Maria Policarpio of JTP Learning (treasurer) and Honey of Peralta from representatives of the foreign publishers in the PH (Auditor).

Other BDAP Trustees are Ani Rosa Almario (former BDAP President and Trustee of Adarna House, Inc.), Professor of Literature Dr. John Jack Wigley (Administrator of the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House), Maria Karina Bolasco (ADMU Press), Jose Paolo Sibal (Central Books Supply, Inc. and Phoenix Publishing, Inc.), Flornida Ramirez (19th Avenida Publishing and Visprint Publishing), Gladys Doronila (OMF Literature) and Anna Jhorie Arciga (University of the Philippines Press).

Members of the organization are publishing houses and university presses, and among their flagship events include the Manila International Book Fair, first held in 1980 and the largest and oldest country book sale event; and the Gintong Aklat Awards, intended to recognize excellence in book creation.

BDAP is also part of the official Philippine delegation to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest in the world.

For feedback and comments, you can contact the author via Facebook and Twitter: @DrJennyO

Colin L. Johnson