These Filipino Books Will Help You Out of a Reading Slump

As a passionate reader, I’m used to people telling me that they had the same hobby when they were younger. Technology changed their reading habits until they shifted from books to social media. Many tell me that they want to get into it again but don’t know where or how to get over their reading slump.

I totally get it. I also had a years-long reading slump that I overcame in 2021. The key? A book that I found absolutely engrossing (it was Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda).

For me, the only way to overcome a reading slump is to read either an old favorite or something light, easy, and gripping. Below, I compiled some easy and absorbing reads that may help you. Don’t get it twisted, though. They’re accessible to read but they’re great, too. Some are graphic novels and collections of short stories, which are more digestible than a 400-page book. And oh, all of them are Filipino because local literature is awesome.

Try these out:

Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah and Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila by Carlo Vergara

1 Zsazsa Zaturnnah Carlo Vergara

Photo / Avenida

Synopsis: Zsazsa Zaturnnah tells the story of Ada, a cynical resident of a small provincial town, who gains superhuman abilities through a stone that falls from the heavens. With the ability to transform into the voluptuous and powerful Zaturnnah, Ada defends his hometown from dangerous otherworldly threats.

Synopsis: After defeating a giant frog, a horde of zombies, and the extraterrestrial Amazonista, small-town beautician Ada begins a new chapter by moving to the big city with hunky Dodong, and taking up residence in the old house of his friend Gwyneth. Not only does earning his keep prove more difficult, Ada also finds himself dealing with a haunting past, the return of the Zaturnnah stone, new enemies and allies, startling revelations, true confessions, and the prospect of a new–and complicated–romance. Can Ada survive a place that seeks to wear out his mind, his body… and his heart?

Ang Mga Kaibigan Ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong

2 Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan Bob Ong

Photo / Avenida

Synopsis: A teenage boy visits his grandmother in the province and realizes that she has strange and unusual friends.

Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto

Synopsis: Chloe is officially off the waitlist at USC, and thus one step closer to realizing her dream of becoming an animator in the United States. But before she leaves home, her auntie insists on planning a traditional debut for Chloe’s eighteenth birthday (think sweet sixteen meets debutante ball). To make matters worse, her father, intent on finding Chloe the perfect escort for the party, keeps setting her up on one awkward kaishao—or arranged date—after another. But… why does her dad suddenly care so much about her love life? And what happens when she actually starts to fall for one of the guys, only to have to leave at the end of the summer?

Dead Balagtas Tomo 1: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa by Emiliana Kampilan

3 Dead Balagtas Emiliana Kampilan

Photo / Goodreads

Synopsis: Dead Balagtas is the first and most creative comics about the long and colorful history of the Philippines. In this first volume, a wise babaylan tells the story of the birth of the universe from the passionate love between Tungkung Langit and Laon Sina. Witness the rise of the continents, the clash of oceans, and the romance of sea and earth—forces that shaped and continue to mold our home and nation, the Philippines.

Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan

4 Elmer Gerry alanguilan

Photo / SLG Publishing

Synopsis: Elmer is a window into a world where chickens have suddenly acquired the intelligence and consciousness of humans, where they can now consider themselves a race no different than browns, black, or whites. Recognizing themselves to be sentient, the inexplicably evolved chickens push to attain rights for themselves as the newest members of the human race.

Tabi Po (Isyu 1-3) by Mervin Malonzo

5 Tabi Po Mervin Malonzo

Photo / Visprint

Synopsis: A young man wakes inside a hollow of a tree in the middle of a forest with no memory of who he is or where he’s from or even how to speak. The only things he knows for sure are the image of a young woman he sees every time he closes his eyes, and the maddeningly painful hunger that grows inside his navel-less belly… a hunger for flesh… and blood…

Tarantadong Kalbo by Kevin Eric Raymundo

5 Tarantadong Kalbo

Photo / Goodreads

Synopsis: Cited as one of the best books of 2020, Tarantadong Kalbo features an irreverent bald protagonist who gives razor-sharp social commentary during the pandemic era.

Dwellers by Eliza Victoria

6 Dwellers Eliza Victoria

Photo / Tuttle

Synopsis: Cousins from a clan of dwellers—people who inhabit the bodies and lives of others—become brothers when they take over the bodies of Jonah and Louis. An injury forces them to remain in the brothers’ house, where they discover that the basement holds a dead body! As old and new secrets come to light, it becomes clear there is no such thing as actions without consequences.

Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer by Wilfredo Liangco

Synopsis: Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer is a candid and hysterical account of the realities of life in and out of the Philippine General Hospital. Will Liangco’s collection of essays on his years of training as a medical intern and oncology fellow is everything you need to know about the making of a doctor: sleepless nights, late stipends, and life-and-death decisions in the context of the imperfect Philippine healthcare system.

Mars, May Zombie! by Chuckberry J. Pascual

6 Mars May Zombie Chuckberry Pascual

Photo / Adarna

Synopsis: It is 2028, eight years after the zombie apocalypse has taken over the world. Marcelo “Mars” Manapat is one of the survivors, and he is running out of toilet paper. Together with his neat freak of a grandmother Vicky, and his sassy best friend Billie, a self-confessed Beyonce stan, he has gotten used to navigating life in different zombie-infested Red Zones. Until one day, he hatches a plan to get into the nearest zombie-free Blue Zone and discovers a secret that may even be worse than flesh-eating monsters!

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan

Smaller and Smaller Circles

Photo / Soho Press

Synopsis: Smaller and Smaller Circles is a Pinoy detective novel, both fast-paced and intelligent, with a Jesuit priest who is a forensic anthropologist and a sleuth. This book won the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize for the English Novel in 1999.

Tales for a Rainy Season by Wincy Aquino Ong

Tales for a Rainy Season

Photo / Goodreads

Synopsis: In Tales For A Rainy Season, Wincy Aquino Ong brings a uniquely Filipino-flavored spin on the horror genre, and the frights come at you like an apocalyptic weather report. In this collection of eleven stories, Ong takes you through the corners of Manila and brings you fresh new monsters that come knocking on rain-speckled windows.  This anthology also finds Ong dipping his toe into literary pastiche and detective fiction in “The Ophthalmologist’s Case”, where Sherlock Holmes meets his most peculiar client yet—Dr. Jose Rizal.

Waking the Dead and Other Stories by Yvette Tan

Waking the Dead

Photo / Anvil

Synopsis: A young woman is irresistibly drawn to the polluted Pasig River. A couple finds a baby on their doorstep that may not be human. The author of this book receives random phone calls from her dead father. And in this new edition, a B movie-inspired tale joins the ranks, told with the author’s signature meld of Filipino folk beliefs and modern settings. These are some of the stories in the critically acclaimed Waking the Dead and Other Stories, considered a significant work in Pinoy horror literature. From supernatural terrors to human atrocities, each story in this collection makes us further question our understanding of the universe, and undermines our belief of what is real and what is not, and what true monsters are made of.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below!

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