It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!
I’m a Filipino currently living and working in Singapore. So basically, most of the books that I read are outside my own culture because a lot of them are either set in a fantasy world or in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. I do think it’s great that there’s more of a push for readers to pay more attention to diversity in books. Reading is like a form of traveling in the sense that it opens your mind to what is outside your comfort zone and how things are different compared to the things that you’re used to. And at the same time, it also makes you realize how some things are the same wherever you are in the world (or even if you’re in a different world). I wouldn’t be reading the books that I read if I couldn’t relate to them. I can relate to the characters, their feelings and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in, even if we have different cultural backgrounds and we live in different places. I’ve also traveled outside of Asia so that gives me the small advantage of being able to relate to books set in some of the other cities/countries I’ve visited.
In the spirit of encouraging readers to pick up diverse books, here are that I would recommend that are either set in the Philippines or have Filipino characters:
Any of Mina V. Esguerra’s books – Mina writes contemporary romance or chick lit set in the Philippines with Filipino characters. I recommend her books because they give readers a good picture of what life is like for a young woman in her twenties back home.
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – Candy is also a Filipino author and her middle grade contemporary novel about two siblings is partially set in the Philippines.
Trese graphic novel series by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldissimo – I can now happily recommend this urban fantasy/horror graphic novel series because it’s available on Amazon! Written and illustrated by Filipinos, I love how this series has supernatural creatures based on Filipino myths and folklore.
Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano – This is such a perfect summer read because it’s set in Boracay, one of the most well-known beaches in the Philippines. It’s a sweet romantic novella with a Filipino guy and Korean girl as MCs.
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria – Another Filipino romance, this one is between two travel bloggers who win a free trip to Macau in exchange for featuring the country in their blogs.
How about you, care to recommend some diverse books?