What’s on our reading list? — Myth, Magic, Cities

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For Frankfurt Book Fair 2021, we've got stories on crime, climate, indigenous textiles, and Philippine cuisine.

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Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest (and oldest!) international book fair, is happening this year on October 20 to 24, and will showcase over a hundred Filipino books curated by the National Book Development Board (NBDB). From contemporary fiction to children's literature, here are some of the titles that caught our eye, and why we're excited to read them.


Remains by Daryll Delgado

Remains is a fictional retelling of the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, set in the author’s hometown of Tacloban. Told from the perspective of a development worker, it’s a timely piece of climate fiction that interrogates the act of bearing witness to disasters, in an era of mass ecological collapse. Climate change is a reality we can no longer escape, and because of the topic’s “doom-and-gloom” nature many audiences tend to flee from it. But there are some stories that know how to captivate its readers without blunting the truth, and I’m curious to know whether this book is one of it.

Denise, Features Editor



Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture by Doreen Fernandez

Ever since we read a few excerpts of Tikim in a “Culture and the Senses” class a few years ago, I’ve wanted to get my hands on this book. Doreen Fernandez’s writing is warm and immersive; it reminds me of that favorite tita I assume everyone has, the one that will bring you around to try local delicacies while telling you all there is to know about each dish's heritage or that secret ingredient that makes it so delicious.

Gabby, Web Manager



Aramay's Sinnon: A Ga'dang Weaving Story By Margareth Balansi and Analyn Salvador-Amores

Growing up, I wasn’t a very avid reader. I'd look at the pictures and that was  it. Surprisingly, my one-year-old daughter can’t read enough: she always comes up to me and says, "BOOOOOOKS" before grabbing one from her shelf. Now I have no choice but to read the same books over and over again.

Being a part of GRID, I've always been drawn to stories about weaving, so finding out that there was a children’s book about it made me really happy. One of our stories also heavily references Analyn Amores’ anthropological work, so I know that my daughter is going to learn a lot from this.

Mike, Art Director



The Quiet Ones by Glenn Diaz

Looking forward to The Quiet Ones for the same reason I wrote and directed a short film about two people who meet at a call center. I think call centers provide an interesting background for people meeting, having fleeting connections, and in the case of this novel....committing fraud? Well, I'm down for a crime and caper novel set locally, and with commentary of the culture and economics that has let BPOs thrive in our country. I hope to find a brainy plot, humor, and real existential crises in this multi-awarded novel.

Miguel, President



NAIMAS! The Food Heritage of Ilocos Sur by DV Savellano and Heny Sison

At GRID, we love our food. We love eating food, talking about food, comparing notes and earning bragging rights on who discovered what dish first. We often joke that we should have made a food magazine instead. But I think food and travel really go hand in hand.

I first heard about NAIMAS! when Neal [Oshima] shared some of the images he shot for the book with me. He has a way of shooting that does not put the subject on display, but transports you to the location and immerses you in it, with just one image. His photography combined with the writing of DV Savellano and Chef Sison, who are both strong advocates of the heritage and cuisine of Ilocos Sur, make this a collection I am really looking forward to reading.

Nachi, Creative Director



The Gullet: Dispatches on Philippine Food by Clinton Palanca

I enjoy consuming food media as much as I enjoy eating. I’ve spent hours watching and rewatching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, and have put on Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat as background while I work. These shows are only as good as the writing behind them and it’s what’s encouraged me to pick up more books about food.

I’ve read a few of Clinton Palanca’s works online while trying to look for a copy of The Gullet and it pains me a little that I never got to share a meal with such an intelligent, funny, discerning, and down-to-earth guy. Based solely off the work I’ve read online, I’m excited to devour The Gullet.

Sonny, Photo Editor



Inabel: Philippine Textile from the Ilocos Region

I’m such a sucker for a good resource on Filipino weavers. We work on a lot of stories about weaving communities at GRID, and although there is a lot of good information available online and in studies, nothing comes close to the depth of the information found in these kinds of books. There’s also just the magic of seeing beautiful textiles—which take days of labor to create!—on paper, where you can almost run your fingers through the details. When I found INABEL in NBDB’s catalogue, I knew I wanted it on my shelf—Ilocos has such a rich and colorful weaving tradition and I don’t know enough about it.

Nina, Editor-in-Chief

Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society By William Henry Scott

When I was in school, our discussion of Filipino history and culture started with Magellan’s arrival. Sure, pre-hispanic history and culture were given a nod, with the mention of powerful sultanates in Mindanao, or how “barangay” comes from the ancient word balangay. But if we’re to really explore Filipino identity, we have to look back further than the arrival of the Spanish.

In his book Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society, William Henry Scott offers a glimpse into what pre-Hispanic northern tribes might have been like, having spent much of his life living in Sagada.

We’re always being told of how the Filipino has adapted to Chinese, Malay,  Hindu, Spanish and American influences, but I believe that we need to give more attention to the influences of our own indigenous people, and how they are relevant today.

Paco, Executive Editor

StAY: 21 Comic Stories by Angelo Lacuesta

Graphic novels and short stories sometimes get a bad reputation in the reading world; not quite taken as seriously as the thick novels and text-heavy classics they share the shelves with. But for an avid reader with a notoriously bad attention span, I’ve always loved how they depict stories that are equally captivating, in completely different formats.

Angelo Lacuesta’s Stay offers the best of both: a collection of short stories about the complexities of everyday experiences, with beautiful images and illustrations from different collaborators that help bring them to life. As with everything I read, I hope this book entertains, inspires, and offers life through a different lens.

Klea, Associate Digital Editor

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