The Bamboo Dancers, N.V.M. Gonzalez, 1959
- Philippines, #13
- Borrowed from SF public library
- Read December 2017
- Rating: 3.5/5
- Recommended for: Zooey Glass in Manila
Darangen: in original Maranao verse with English translation, vol. I, Anon. (oral epic), transcribed by Hadji Lawa Cali et al., translated by Ma. Delia Coronel, 1986 (original composition sometime before the 14th century)
I have, as usual, been falling behind on my book reviews. I’ve been reading, though, as much as I can while also being a full-time parent to a toddler and attempting to get in as much paid editing work as possible during nap times. I read 58 books last year, which is a fairly significant fall-off from 2017’s 89, for which I blame the fact that I weaned my daughter and thus no longer had several hours a day of being forced to sit still in a chair with nothing to do but read. Of the books I read, a little more than a third were for this project, all of them from the Philippines. I just managed to finish my last Filipino book on December 31, and have now moved on to Brunei, which is a blessedly short list. I also read a fair few books as background for the novel I’m writing: as many books as I could by Black British women, and a few memoirs set in prisons in the UK (and no, I am not writing the book that that sentence makes it seem I am writing). Anyway, only
a day a few days a week late, here’s a list of books I read last year, with some brief annotations.
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. Continue reading
According to Goodreads I have six books on the go right now. It was seven yesterday but last night I finally polished off the thoroughly mediocre Cuentos Filipinos that I’ve had from the library for six weeks so far (pro tip: if you’re thinking of producing a collection of short stories as a pretext for an extended geography lesson, please think again).