With Christmas just a few weeks away, the spirit of giving and community is in the air. But before that, weeks of prepping and searching for the perfect gifts may be a crisis. Our tip? Try books. This list is composed of affordable books touching on Filipina feminism, written by local Filipina authors.
“Seek Ye Whore and other stories” by Yvette Tan
This short story collection by Yvette Tan captures the world of Philippine horror and mythology set in the mysterious island of Siquijor, (and yes, “Seek Ye Whore” is a play on the island’s name). The collection is composed of provocative stories that tackle real-life issues faced by Filipinas, like the story of an American ordering a mail-order bride.
“Tingle: Anthology of Filipina Lesbian Writing” by Jhoanna Lyn Cruz
“What makes you tingle as a lesbian?” This question is answered in the 45 pieces in “Tingle.” This book is for, by, and about Filipina sapphics and WLW. Providing queer women representation and visibility across genres, this book isn’t just about the desire to tingle but also about queer love—and the need to be loved.
“I think the most significant aspect of the anthology is who is represented in it, and each one of us who has decided to publish our work in it contributes to its collective triumph. I am so proud to have been able to bring together our ‘foremothers’ and the youngest writers across the country [by letting them write] about what makes them ‘tingle’ as lesbians [and] what electrifies them,” Cruz told Preen in a previous interview.
“Lost and Found and other essays” by Rica Bolipata-Santos
Rica Bolipata-Santos navigates the mundanity of her life, specifically the realities of motherhood and marriage, through this nonfiction collection. “Lost and Found” shows us a raw portrait and provides comfort for fellow moms.
“The Age of Umbrage” by Jessica Zafra
A great piece of coming-of-age fiction, “The Age of Umbrage” tells the story of misfits and outcasts through its protagonist Guada. It’s a warm hug of validation that still serves heaps of sarcasm and deadpan humor set in Manila.
“College Boy” by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta
It looks into toxic masculinity found in different places—parks, playgrounds, and even parking lots. The 90-page work explores the hardships of men and women in a society steeped in toxic masculinity. It pushes us to reflect on the need to write about women’s issues and why we tend to expose them in our writing even when we don’t mean to.
“Young Enough to Play” by Angela Gabrielle Fabulan
Another coming-of-age entry is Angela Fabulan’s poetry on her experiences as a Filipina American. Her confessional poetry portrays the delicacy of girlhood and the longing to break free from societal expectations.