The Reading Year in Review

It’s December already?!?

Well, shit. Where’d the entire year go?

(Also, this is apparently my 100th post. Took me eight years, but hey, I got there!)

In previous years, I would list specific goals and resolutions, and aim to get moving by January 1. (Or okay, on the first work day of January.) Then I’d fail to keep up with that list within the month or the next, then give up the whole charade before the first quarter ends.

I didn’t do that at all this year. I figured that this time around, I should do whatever I damn well please, and not make myself feel guilty about not having the same goals or success rates as others.

This relatively new “fuck it, and fuck you” attitude applied to reading as well. I gave up on doing any of those popular reading challenges, or pushing through with reading themes I don’t like anymore. (I promised myself I’d stop apologizing for not posting more often, although I quickly failed on that one.)

The point is that life’s too short to put up with anything I don’t like or agree with. And it’s okay for me not to finish reading a book, or admit I didn’t like a book.

It’s funny because these new changes made me read more books in a year than I ever did. I looked back at the posts I did for 2018, and my to-read list (which includes books I didn’t talk about in this blog). I finished reading 27 books in 2018!

2018 is also my most diverse reading year so far. I jumped from fiction to nonfiction, English to Filipino, novels to anthologies, text to graphic novels, popular and unpopular books, vanilla to erotica, textbooks to humor books.

Not bad. Not bad at all. 🙂

Read and Reviewed!

Food Trip!: I started the year with food-centric books like Lonely Planet’s A Fork in the Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure and Discovery on the Road, and Mary Roach’s Gulp: Travels Around the Gut. (I finished reading Clinton Palanca’s The Gullet: Dispatches on Filipino Food in 2017, so it’s not on this list.)

I was also really hungry throughout this reading spree. Wonder why.

Mytherotica, Oh My!: I reviewed Alma Anonas-Carpio’s debut novel How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Even Trying, which was published on the Philippines Graphic during the summer.

It’s still online at the Graphic website.

Required Reading on Writing: Several times this year, I was in dire need of reminders as to why I write, and how I can do better. Stephen King’s On Writing and Butch Dalisay’s The Knowing is In the Writing were good at getting me to move again. Read these classics if you’re looking for the same push and encouragement.

Fiction from New Voices and Other Places: There was a point this year when I was looking for something to read that wasn’t from the Philippines, US, and Europe; and weren’t from “marquee” fiction writers. I’d say Etgar Keret, Maxine Beneba Clarke, and the Chinese writers in the Invisible Planets anthology fit the bill.

Adaptation: I Read the Book First and Adaptation: I Saw the Movie First: I was taking a Literature & Film class back in May-August 2018, so I was really focused on literary adaptations during those months.

I used Mondomanila for my final class paper; and The Martian and Never Let Me Go for a report. As for I Kill Giants, I was just curious about it; and apparently I had my own legit copy.

Required Reading on Writing, Part 2: Yep, I remember this. This was back in August. I was starting to review for my comprehensive exams last November. Woman Enough and Other Essays and The Best of Barfly were on the required-reading list for grad-school students focusing on creative nonfiction (um, that would be me). So… off to the library!

Women Versus the World!: I’ve always been angry about how women (and their bodies) are seen and treated in this world, but (at least here in the Philippines) it’s only recently that I’ve begun to see fiction books on store shelves that openly talk about and make us reflect on our internal rage. The Refrigerator Monologues and Her Body and Other Parties are worth the wait.

The Rundown: At this point (which was just a few weeks ago, haha!), I took an unintentional three-month break due to work and comprehensive exams. I cracked open more books, but really finished only three: Sarena’s Story: The Loss of a KingdomSaga Volume 9, and the amazing Dead Balagtas, Tomo 1.

Done and Dusted

I did keep some books off the blog, particularly humor/novelty books, and some novels I read for graduate school. Sometimes, I just don’t want to repeat myself, you know?

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson (English translation by “Reg Keeland“)
    • I wrote a paper on fidelity in adaptations for my Literary Translation class. This book is a good case study: it’s a Swedish book that was translated to English, then translated again for the big screen. Complicated, no?
  • Stupid is Forever, Miriam Defensor Santiago
  • Stupid is Forevermore, Miriam Defensor Santiago
  • The Mammoth Book of Weird News, Geoff Tiballs
  • The Best of Is It Just Me or is Everything Shit? Volumes 1 and 2, Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur
  • Life in Five Seconds, H-52.


I also went back to reading books by theme. Maybe these two books I already finished going through will give you some clues on what to expect from this blog in 2019!

  • Puki-Usap, Liv Stromqvist and Beverly Wico Siy
  • Crimetime: Inspector SJ Tuason Case Files, Maria L.M. Fres-Felix

Unfinished Business

And then there are those books I began to read, but didn’t get to finish. I’ll get back to them, particularly the feminism books.

  • The Conjugal Dictatorship, Primitivo Mijares
  • Thirty Years Later: Catching Up with the Marcos-Era Crimes, Myles A. Garcia
  • Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman
  • Stories of Your Life and Others, Ted Chiang
  • Six Sketches of Filipino Women Writers, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo
  • More Pinay than We Admit: The Social Construction of the Filipina, Ma. Luisa T. Camagay (editor)
  • These books on The Rundown:
    • The Infinite Library and Other Stories, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
    • Literature and Feminism, Pam Morris
    • Sarilaysay: Tinig ng 20 Babae sa Sariling Danas Bilang Manunulat, Rosario Torres-Yu.

Book Wishlist

Just in case you wanna give me more books. 😉

Some of these titles, I’ve always wanted to get, but they’re not available in the Philippines, they’re out of print, or unavailable at big book chains. Some, I saw on the Instagram posts of people I follow (hi, add me!). Some, I’m just curious about.

  • Just Kids, Patti Smith
  • Sexographies, Gabriela Wiener
  • Musings and Meditations: Essays and Thoughts, Robert Silverberg
  • Snowpiercer 3: Terminus, Olivier Bocquet and Jean-Marc Rochette
  • Catalysts, Explorers & Secret Keepers: Women of Science Fiction
  • The Arab of the Future (3-book series), Riad Sattouf
  • The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, edited by Christopher Monks and John Warner
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Darwin’s Worms: On Life Stories and Death Stories, Adam Phillips
  • Space Plague, George O. Smith
  • Convenience Store Woman: A Novel, Sayaka Murata
  • Martial Law Babies, Arnold Arre
  • We Were Feminists Once, Andi Zeisler
  • An Orchestra of Minorities, Chigozie Obioma
  • How to Date Men When You Hate Men, Blythe Roberson
  • Praise Song for the Butterflies, Bernice L. McFadden
  • Pretty Things, Virginie Despentes (translated by Emma Ramadan)
  • Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, Eka Kurniawan
  • Signs Preceding the End of the World, Yuri Herrera
  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit
  • Rebellions: Notes on Independence, Katrina Stuart Santiago
  • Romances: Variations on Love, Katrina Stuart Santiago
  • The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette
  • How to Be a Heroine, Samantha Ellis
  • White Dancing Elephants, Chaya Bhuvaneswar
  • I am a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet, Leora Tanenbaum
  • El Periodismo Filipino: The First Century of Philippine Journalism, Wenceslao Emilio Retana

And that’s it. Guess I’ll see you next year! 😀