home           about           blog           archives           domain           exits           ask

More books, endless books.

One question I just got in my ask box regarding books I've loved or I've read that are not novels prompted me to write an entire entry dedicated to it. Actually, I have quite a lot of non-novel books on my shelves (nonfiction, poetry, anthologies) that I really hold quite dear to me. Most of them I got from Book Sale and other similar bookstores, some I got from UP Press because several are by Filipino authors. I have to admit that it's usually these anthologies that are the result of impulse book buying because more often than not these little gems I find buried amongst a sea of other equally glorious books have so much to offer from a variety of different authors that it's just too much to pass up.

I guess I can say that my most prized find among all these are the Norton Anthology of English Literature and the Norton Anthology of Poetry that I found for only Php120 each at Books For Less. For the uninitiated, the Norton Anthologies are THE authority and source for everything you will ever need in the world of literature. It's the Holy Grail of literature, I'm telling you. The Norton Anthologies are almost always a requirement for all of my classes, and getting your hands on a copy in our library is such a difficult task because (1) it's in the Reserve Section and (2) I think there is only one copy per edition. It probably won't mean as much and be such a delight to read for people who are not Literature majors but it's definitely a great book to feast your eyes on.

But a lot of my favorites are not as intimidating as Norton. The thing with anthologies is that it gives you a taste of different flavors all in one book. Whether an anthology for one author or anthology of a specific type of writing, you can get such a diverse set of writings for just the price of one book. I don't usually read them in one sitting or in one go, unlike my novels. I love taking them in one at a time, alternating from one book to another, never fully reading them page after page. I enjoy them better that way, I guess.

Here are some of my favorites (and where I found them):
  • Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. In my opinion, he is one of the best fiction writers of this decade. He is such a loss to the literary world. This is one of the rare books that got me literally laughing while reading his short stories. Signifying Nothing and Forever Overboard are my favorites. I've only seen copies of this so far in Powerbooks in MOA and Trinoma. I don't think Fully Booked has DFW nonfiction (but I'm not so sure about this.)

  • The Likhaan Anthology of Philippine Literature in English. It is such a joy to read our local literature in English. These anthologies, updated every few years or so, published by the UP Press, showcases a myriad of different forms of fiction, drama, and poetry by some of our best Filipino writers which I think should be required reading even in high school. They boast of immense talent and cultural relativity. I think this is the local equivalent of the Norton Anthologies. That being said, I got this at (where else?) UP Press.

  • The Ladlad Anthology of Philippine Gay Literature. The three books in this collection were required for my CL184 (Gay Literature) class two semesters ago, but I'm going to be honest and say I'd buy them anyway even if it were not for academics. Of course, the apparent topic of discourse here is homosexuality in the local setting and how our gay community thrives amidst all the hullabaloo and controversies, but more than that it really is such an excellent collection of some of the best works of fiction and poetry out there. You don't need to be gay or lesbian to appreciate the literature in these books; anyone with a keen eye for a great work of art would be impressed. All National Bookstore Branches have this.

  • Fast Food Fiction. A local anthology of short short stories edited by Noelle Q. De Jesus. I bought this at a book sale in our college; I spent my emergency one-hundred on this! :)) Worth it.

  • Laughing Matters (Global City Review). An anthology of stories, poems and plays on laughter and humor. A gem I found at one of the book sales held at our Faculty Center for only Php25.

  • The Playboy Book of Humor and Satire. Similar to the previous one, it is a collection of essays, dramas, and stories on humor. A lot of the works are really laugh-out-loud funny. Php90 at Book Sale MOA.

  • Reconnaissance. A collection of stories by UP graduate Tara FT Sering. My favorite here is the title story, "Reconnaissance" which I first read for our CL111 class. I got this for a hundred bucks at the Manila International Book Fair last year.

  • The Proxy Eros. Poems by Mookie Katigbak. A great Christmas gift from one friend two years ago.

Being the bookworm that I am, I must admit that reading novels can, at times, get exhausting too, especially if most of them are required of me and not really those that suit my tastes. Reading anthologies like these can be a good way of getting your mind stimulated without the commitment that novels usually entail. I think I've read more anthologies in the last few months or so than novels (mostly for acads), which is not really a shame considering the diversity of writings one can gain from them. Both my bedside table in the dorm and at home have at least one fiction/nonfiction/poetry anthology on it, just to satiate my sudden appetite for small doses of literature. Glad to say they always deliver.

Labels: ,