02 January 2009

Manila TImes column for 02 Jan 2009 "The Year in Books"

original post here.

By Libay Linsangan Cantor
The year in books

It’s 2009, a new year to start new things, and to pick up some new things as well. For book lovers, I would like to suggest looking back to the past year’s books published to see a myriad of healthy choices—a good sign that our local authors are hard at work and that our readers would be supportive, as always.

Some new additions to my own library reflect an interesting mix of books from the arts and culture section of our society. For instance, noted film critique Dr. Nicanor Tiongson’s The Cinema of Manuel Conde is an interesting read about the life and work of the original “father of Philippine independent film.” Historians, filmmakers, students and film buffs alike would all be satisfied with the tons of photos from different collectors (mostly from the family of Conde) and the narratives about his films. This one was published by Cultural Center of the Philippines as a coffee table book and is available in their gift shop.

Anvil Publishing also came out with several titles this year, mostly of a literary nature. Professor and gay rights advocate Danton Remoto came out with his newest collection of translated essays and short stories called Rampa: Mga Sanaysay while anthologies like Belonging: Stories of Relationships collected essays and poems under the editing guidance of Erlinda Panlilio. Trilingual poet Marra Pl. Lanot came out with her latest book entitled Riding The Full Moon and other poems in Filipino and Spanish. And that’s all just from one publishing house. Imagine the other products of other publishers, not to mention the university presses. We’ll take a look at those next week.

While there were so many mainstream titles to choose from, the independent publishers were also active in releasing edgy and challenging titles. Poet Axel Pinpin launched his collection of poetry which he wrote while he was incarcerated due to a political nature. His collection is aptly titled Tugmaang Matatabil (Mga Akdang Isinulat sa Libingan ng mga Buhay). Meanwhile, other advocates, particularly lesbian rights advocates, also came out with a title of their own. The newly launched lesbian arts group Lunduyan ng Sining came out with their independent anthology entitled What These Hands Can Do: A Lesbian Literary and Art Folio featuring short stories, essays, poems, photographs and artworks by women who identify as lesbians.

That was indeed a happy and fruitful year in books. Let’s hope 2009 would be the same—or even better. Happy New Year.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

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