Some Changes to the List

I’m always making changes to my great master list, and I thought perhaps you guys might be interested in an update. First, a fellow blogger suggested Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty is a Wound for my Indonesian list. I love it (though I did find it problematic in some ways, which I will write about when I get to that blog post) and it made me worried that my methodology was unsound, since I had read a bunch of not-very-good Indonesian books, and had somehow missed that one. Kurniawan was on the Booker International longlist for another work, Man Tiger, so I thought perhaps adding all Booker nominees to my list would be a good start. I am also increasingly concerned about gender parity, so I’ve been trying to adjust my lists a little to make sure I have, wherever possible, equal numbers of male and female authors. Additions and subtractions are detailed below.

Additions from Booker International finalists (note: I didn’t add authors from countries where I already have far too many writers, such as France, China, and the US. Also, some of the winners and finalists were already on my list.):

  • A Horse Walks into a Bar, David Grossman, 2014 (Israel)
  • War and Turpentine, Stefan Hertmans, 2013 (Belgium)
  • Fish Have No Feet, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, 2013 (Finland)
  • White Hunger, Aki Ollikainen, 2012 (Finland)
  • Tram 83, Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • The World Goes On, László Krasznahoraki, 2013 (Hungary)
  • Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi, 2013 (Iraq)
  • The Stolen Bicycle, Wu Ming-Yi, 2015 (Taiwan)

Subtractions: I had way too many male authors on my Philippines list. I also recently added two more because I can’t resist graphic novels. I had a hard time eliminating any (and I’ve already read 12 Philippine books, 10 of them by men, so my options were limited). The following books didn’t seem terribly interesting to me, so I struck them off:

  • The Mats, Francisco Arcellana, 1995
  • Happy Endings, Luis Joaquin M. Katigbak, 2000

However, I recently added these three books by male authors:

  • The Mythology Class: A Graphic Novel, Arnold Arre, 2005
  • Ilustrado, Miguel Syjuco, 2008
  • Tabi Po: Book I (graphic novel), Mervin Malonzo, 2011

So to balance it all out I added the following books by Filipina women:

  • State of War, Ninotchka Rosca, 1988
  • Dogeaters, Jessica Hagedorn, 1990
  • Twisted, Jessica Zafra, 1995
  • Comfort Woman: Slave of Destiny, Maria Rosa Henson, 1999 [I do not expect this to be very fun to read, but it is germane to the novel I’m currently trying to write, so thought I would include it]
  • Smaller and Smaller Circles, F.H. Batacan, 2002 (mystery, female author)
  • The Breakup Diaries, Maya Calica, 2003
  • Gun Dealers’ Daughter, Gina Apostol, 2010
  • Before Ever After, Samantha Sotto, 2011
  • It’s a Mens World, Bebang Siy, 2011
  • The Mango Bride, Marivi Soliven Blanco, 2013
  • In the Country, Mia Alvar, 2015 (born in Manila, raised in US and Bahrain)
  • America is not the Heart, Elaine Castillo, 2018 (this author is from America, not the Philippines, but I decided to include her because I think it will be interesting to hear a second-generation Filipino-American woman’s answer to Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart)

I also went on to Brunei; a few new books have come out since I made my list. I eliminated Time and the River because it never interested me very much, and I had only included it originally because of the dearth of Bruneian literature in English. The books I’ve added are:

  • Written in Black, K.H. Lim, 2014
  • Jewel: An Attempt at a Halal Romance, Aisha Malik, 2017


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