The most recommended books about the Philippines

Who picked these books? Meet our 32 experts.

32 authors created a book list connected to the Philippines, and here are their favorite Philippines books.
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What type of Philippines book?


Angels of the Pacific

By Elise Hooper,

Book cover of Angels of the Pacific: A Novel of World War II

Gina Buonaguro Author Of The Virgins of Venice

From Gina's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Historical novelist Historical fiction reading fanatic Women’s fiction reading fanatic

Gina's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Gina love this book?

Wow. A part of WW2 that I knew absolutely nothing about. I’ve read so much that takes place in Europe but nothing at all in the Pacific, so it opened up a whole new setting for me.

Fascinating, sad, heroic. Wonderful, realistic characters. An important and beautiful book that takes place in the Philippines.

By Elise Hooper,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Angels of the Pacific as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Absolutely riveting. A stay-up-all night read about two very different women who discover just how strong they can be-and just how much they'll dare-during the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. This story of endurance and sisterhood will have you turning pages late into the night." -Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author

If you loved Beantown Girls by Jane Healey and Hazel Gaynor's When We Were Young & Brave, then you won't want to miss critically acclaimed author Elise Hooper's powerful new novel of the Angels of Bataan, nurses held as prisoners during the occupation…

Pau Hana

By Ronald Takaki,

Book cover of Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Local Geography: Essays on Multicultural Hawai'i

From the list on understanding contemporary multicultural Hawai‘i.

Who am I?

I lived most of my life in Hawai‘i’s multiethnic community—an amazing place, where, for the most part, people of diverse ancestries got along. The foundation of tolerance was the culture of Native Hawaiians, who lived isolated from outsiders for centuries before the nineteenth century and thus had few prejudicial ideas about others. The natives generally welcomed them and adopted their beliefs. While confrontations and violence occurred, they were limited, not long-term or widespread. Of course, outsiders brought their racial and cultural prejudices, but, today, with a high rate of intermarriages among all the ethnic groups, Hawai'i is one of the most integrated societies in the world.

Dennis' book list on understanding contemporary multicultural Hawai‘i

Why did Dennis love this book?

Pau Hana is a concise overview of the immigration of workers from around the Pacific and the world, which created Hawai‘i's multiethnic community in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The immigrants were recruited by the Hawaiian Monarchy and white sugar planters as laborers for their highly profitable plantations. Workers arrived from China, Portugal, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines, and even Norway, and settled in the islands. Takaki details the work they did, the camp housing, the abuses and retaliation, the opium and alcohol, the gambling and prostitution, and the worker strikes that eventually resulted in better wages and working conditions.

By Ronald Takaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pau Hana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1983: by Ronald Takaki- Life on the plantation from 1835-1920.

Blood Ties

By K. S. Villoso,

Book cover of Blood Ties

Raffael Coronelli Author Of How to Have an Adventure in Scandinavia: Norway & Denmark

From the list on rip-roaring adventure through the world.

Who am I?

I like to go on trips, particularly overseas. This gives me the ability to write travel books—but moreover, I love adventure. I love to see the fantastic in the world in which we live. I’ve written other kinds of books that helped shape my writing style, including a kaiju novel series, which gives me a bit of a different approach than more encyclopedic travel writers. That’s what I try to bring to the table—the magic and esotericism in the world, presented like a pulpy Saturday matinee that you can enter yourself if you follow my travel tips. 

Raffael's book list on rip-roaring adventure through the world

Why did Raffael love this book?

The Aswang mythology of the Philippines is fascinating and storied, a menagerie of creatures as horrific as any from Transylvania. This novel by a Filipina-Canadian author about a young man returning to his roots to find more werewolfery than he bargained for delves into its fascinating lore with cultural authenticity.

By K. S. Villoso,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood Ties as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A teenage boy discovers family in the last way anyone wants to: as bloodthirsty monsters from the countryside.

Pablo Santos probably shouldn't try to crack the secret question to his dad's email account. Probably. But after getting into trouble in school yet again--for something that he swears wasn't his fault--he decides to run off to the countryside with his best friend, Rachel Ann, to discover the answer to such a mind-numbingly simple question: "Where was my father born?" Because Pablo knows nothing about his father and even less about his past.

Come and explore the Bicol countryside with Pablo and…

Never Have I Ever

By Isabel Yap,

Book cover of Never Have I Ever: Stories

Charlie Jane Anders Author Of Even Greater Mistakes

From the list on short stories that could change your life.

Who am I?

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which Time Magazine listed as one of the hundred best fantasy novels of all time. Her other books include The City in the Middle of the Night, Victories Greater than Death, and Never Say You Can't Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times By Making Up Stories. She organizes the long-running spoken word series Writers With Drinks, helps to organize tours of local bookstores, and also co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct. Her short fiction has appeared in Tin House, Conjunctions, Wired Magazine, Slate, and the Boston Review.

Charlie's book list on short stories that could change your life

Why did Charlie love this book?

Yap's debut collection is full of brilliant moments and haunting images. She wraps together Filipino folklore with characters who are endlessly rich and fascinating, and the result is sometimes terrifying, sometimes weird and unsettling, and always gorgeous. This book will leave you feeling as if uncanny worlds are waiting for you to discover them, just out of view. Many of these stories go to dark places, but then you stumble on a sweet tale like "A Spell For Foolish Hearts," involving a gay magician, a love potion, and a complicated relationship. You'll wish you could read this book for the first time more than once.

By Isabel Yap,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Have I Ever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Am I dead?" Mebuyen sighs.
She was hoping the girl would not ask.

Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap's debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, "A Spell for Foolish Hearts" to the terrifying tension of the urban legend "Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez."

Blackbird Fly

By Erin Entrada Kelly, Betsy Peterschmidt (illustrator),

Book cover of Blackbird Fly

Jennifer Gennari Author Of Muffled

From the list on middle-grade about kids making music.

Who am I?

In fifth grade, I chose to play the clarinet. After a lot of cracked reeds and squeaky notes, I switched to choir. I still love to sing! I love books that explore young people’s first experiences with music, whether it’s as a star or as a way to express one’s true self. Music takes many forms, and for me, that includes the arrangement of sounds in a sentence. When I write for young people, I look for the musicality of words, how they flow, and how variety can make a story pop. Try reading aloud your own work or a favorite book and listen to the rhythm of language.

Jennifer's book list on middle-grade about kids making music

Why did Jennifer love this book?

Are you a fan of the Beatles?

I am, and so is Apple Yengko, who wants desperately to learn to play the guitar but her mother says no. The family moved to Louisiana from the Philippines, after the death of Apple’s father, and everything about her mom embarrasses Apple.

Then, at the start of sixth grade, Apple realizes her one-time best friend cares only about social tiers and lists, including the so-called dog log. I love that Erin Entrada Kelly doesn’t shy away from the meanness of middle school!

What saves Apple are two new friends, including one with a beautiful voice, and at last Apple is comfortable showing who she is: a naturally talented guitar player.

By Erin Entrada Kelly, Betsy Peterschmidt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blackbird Fly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Future rock star or friendless misfit? That's no choice at all. In this acclaimed novel by Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly, twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different; with friends and backstabbers; and with following her dreams.

Publishers Weekly called Blackbird Fly "a true triumph," and the Los Angeles Times Book Review said, "Apple soars like the eponymous blackbird of her favorite Beatles song."

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming "too…

Book cover of The Embarrassment of Slavery: Controversies Over Bondage and Nationalism in the American Colonial Philippines

Ulbe Bosma Author Of The Making of a Periphery: How Island Southeast Asia Became a Mass Exporter of Labor

From the list on slavery in Asia.

Who am I?

I find it crucially important that we acknowledge that slavery is a global phenomenon that still exists this very day. Dutch historians like me have an obligation to show that the Dutch East India Company, called the world’s first multinational, was a major slave trader and employer of slavery. I am also personally involved in this endeavour as I am one of the leaders of the “Exploring the Slave Trade in Asia” project, an international consortium that brings together knowledge on this subject, and is currently a slave trade in Asia database.

Ulbe's book list on slavery in Asia

Why did Ulbe love this book?

Salman shows how the anti-slavery discourse became part of American imperialism and how contentious this issue became during US colonial administration over the Philippines. While the American administration acted with growing determination and harshness against slave-holding societies particularly in the Muslim southern part of the Philippines, it also adopted abolitionism as a legitimation for colonial rule over the entire Philippines. Salman exposes the paradoxes of imperialist rhetoric in which people were subjugated to free them from slavery. 

By Michael Salman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Embarrassment of Slavery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A series of controversies over the existence and meaning of slavery shaped American colonialism and nationalist resistance in the Philippines. While American officials claimed colonialism would free Filipinos from various forms of slavery and American anti-imperialists countered that colonialism itself would constitute new kinds of bondage, the first generation of Filipino nationalists had already appropriated anti-slavery rhetoric in their struggles with Spanish colonialism in the late nineteenth century. From these contentions about slavery as a political metaphor, new disputes erupted when American officials 'discovered' the practice of slavery among minority groups, such as the Moro (Muslim) societies of the southern…

Smart Mobs

By Howard Rheingold,

Book cover of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution

Mark Burgess Author Of Slogans: The end of sympathy

From the list on a vision of a near future society in trouble.

Who am I?

I am a scientist and technologist, trained in theoretical quantum physics, who became an Emeritus Professor of Network Technology from Oslo’s metropolitan university. I’ve strenuously tried to communicate the wonder of science to students and industry throughout my career. I’m also a long-standing fan of science fiction who grew up with heroes in both fact and fiction. The idea of future society has haunted me my whole life. I’m an optimist, who looks to the darker tales as warnings of futures we hope to avoid. Read these tales with a determination for us all to do better.

Mark's book list on a vision of a near future society in trouble

Why did Mark love this book?

This book is not fiction, but rather a popular book about the direction of technology.

It was part of the original source inspiration for my own book. Written in 2003, it looked into the research about how mobile devices were beginning to change society, and redraw the lines to lead to modern tribalism. The book is now dated, as we have lived through twenty years of experience and much has changed.

Nevertheless, as a portrait of a moment in history, eminently readable, this book is an eye-opener.

By Howard Rheingold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smart Mobs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the convergence of mobile communications and computing is driving the next social revolution-transforming the ways in which people meet, mate, work, buy, sell, govern, and create. When Howard Rheingold sneaks off down an untrodden trail, everyone else follows. He is always onto something marvelous no one has seen before. An ever-considerate guide, he navigates this new world with ease, compassion, and grace, and gives you the inside story, with no punches pulled. Tech talk? Howard could get your mother to understand. }From Tokyo to Helsinki, Manhattan to Manila, Howard Rheingold takes us on a journey around the world for…

Book cover of I Saw The Fall Of The Philippines

Kathryn J. Atwood Author Of Women Heroes of World War II—the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

From the list on Pacific Theater of World War II.

Who am I?

Kathryn J. Atwood’s young adult collective biographies on women and war have garnered multiple book awards. She has been seen on America: Facts vs. Fiction; heard on BBC America; published in The Historian and War, Literature & the Arts; and featured as a guest speaker at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, and the Atlanta History Center.

Kathryn's book list on Pacific Theater of World War II

Why did Kathryn love this book?

The Philippine resistance of WWII was, in my opinion, the most admirable resistance organization of the war, whether European or Pacific. In fact, resistance among the Philippine people was so widespread, that the Japanese occupiers were almost correct in assuming any civilian they encountered was a resister on some level. Carlos Romulo, a Philippine aide de camp to General MacArthur and a hero to his countrymen, gives his personal account of the war in this excellent memoir.

The Twilight World

By Werner Herzog,

Book cover of The Twilight World

Peter Tasker Author Of On Kurosawa: A Tribute to the Master Director

From Peter's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Investor Japanophile Traveler with no destination

Peter's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Peter love this book?

I’m a huge fan of Werner Herzog, the director who gave us cinematic treats such as Fitzcarraldo and Bad Lieutenant, as well as startling documentaries like Grizzly Man.

As a multi-decade resident of Japan, I’ve been long intrigued by the story of Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who continued to patrol a remote island in the Philippines until he finally surrendered in 1974. Herzog’s first novel puts you inside the head of Onoda, a man that many would consider crazy, and makes you understand the obsessive logic of his worldview and marvel at his survivalist skills.

It’s a short book, but it made me think about how we construct the collective illusion we call reality. Those who refuse to accept it – like Onoda and the hero of Fitzcarraldo – we call madmen or geniuses.

By Werner Herzog,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twilight World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A potent, vaporous fever dream; a meditation on truth, lies, illusion and time' NEW YORK TIMES

In his first novel, the great filmmaker, Werner Herzog, tells the incredible story of a Japanese soldier who defended a small island for twenty-nine years after the end of World War II.

Hold the island until the Imperial army's return. You are to defend its territory by guerrilla tactics, at all costs... There is only one rule: you are forbidden to die by your own hand. In the event of your capture by the enemy, you are to give them all the misleading information…

When We Had Wings

By Kristina McMorris, Susan Meissner, Ariel Lawhon

Book cover of When We Had Wings

Cindy Thomson Author Of Enya's Son

From Cindy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author History-lover Word-weaver Spiritual seeker Reader Lover of all things Irish

Cindy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Cindy's 2, and 3-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Cindy love this book?

Three friends in three different traumatic settings during WWII find the strength they need to survive while serving others as nurses.

Not just about the horrors of war, although there is that, this novel explores relationships and how, when tested, they can endure. I love the different characters, each written by a different author.

It was completely engaging.

By Kristina McMorris, Susan Meissner, Ariel Lawhon

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Had Wings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From three bestselling authors comes an interwoven tale about a trio of World War II nurses stationed in the South Pacific who wage their own battle for freedom and survival.

The Philippines, 1941. When U.S. Navy nurse Eleanor Lindstrom, U.S. Army nurse Penny Franklin, and Filipina nurse Lita Capel forge a friendship at the Army Navy Club in Manila, they believe they're living a paradise assignment. All three are seeking a way to escape their pasts, but soon the beauty and promise of their surroundings give way to the heavy mantle of war.

Caught in the crosshairs of a fight…


By Frances B. Cogan,

Book cover of Captured: The Japanese Internment of American Civilians in the Philippines, 1941-1945

Bruce E. Johansen Author Of So Far from Home: Manila's Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1942-1945

From the list on World War II civilian prisoners of the Japanese.

Who am I?

As a professor of Communication, Environmental, and Native American Studies, Bruce E. Johansen taught, researched, and wrote at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1982 to 2019, retiring to emeritus status as Frederick W. Kayser research professor. He has published 55 books in several fields: history, anthropology, law, the Earth sciences, and others. Johansen’s writing has been published, debated, and reviewed in many academic venues, among them the William and Mary Quarterly, American Historical Review, Current History, and Nature, as well as in many popular newspapers and magazines. He's married to Patricia E. Keiffer, whose father, mother, and older sister were interned in the camp. Patricia was born there shortly before liberation.

Bruce's book list on World War II civilian prisoners of the Japanese

Why did Bruce love this book?

This is evidence of the enduring appeal of the Santo Tomas story. More than half a century after the events that it describes, Cogan makes good use of interviews and printed sources. The Japanese Internment of American Civilians in the Philippines is especially valuable for its scholarly tone and comprehensive nature. It described the lives of internees in several camps.

By Frances B. Cogan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captured as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than five thousand American civilian men, women, and children living in the Philippines during World War II were confined to internment camps following Japan's late December 1941 victories in Manila. Captured tells the story of daily life in five different camps-the crowded housing, mounting familial and international tensions, heavy labor, and increasingly severe malnourishment that made the internees' rescue a race with starvation. Frances B. Cogan explores the events behind this nearly four-year captivity, explaining how and why this little-known internment occurred. A thorough historical account, the book addresses several controversial issues about the internment, including Japanese intentions toward…

They Were Expendable

By W. L. White,

Book cover of They Were Expendable

Marvin J. Wolf Author Of M-9

From the list on to safely satisfy your lust for action and mystery.

Who am I?

I was 13 years a soldier and saw combat in Vietnam. There I met some of the finest men this country has ever produced and became hooked on the exploits of brave men. I have written many books about men—and women—in peril, and strive always for accurate accounts.

Marvin's book list on to safely satisfy your lust for action and mystery

Why did Marvin love this book?

The author recreated as a novel the adventures of a handful of Navy officers whose tiny Patrol Torpedo Boats more than held their own against the full might of the Japanese Navy during the fall of the Philippines. Told in the first person by three of the principal characters, we meet Douglas MacArthur, seasick and soaking wet, as he flees Manila in an overloaded PT Boat, and eventually reaches a smaller island from which he is flown to safety in Australia. And we see and are in awe, of these young naval officers. In 1951, when I was ten and perched on my father's shoulders, I saw MacArthur from just a few feet away as he passed during a Chicago parade. I became fascinated with the man and his legend, and here he is presented as a very human creature.

By W. L. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Were Expendable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A national bestseller when it was originally published in 1942 and the subject of a 1945 John Ford film featuring John Wayne, this book offers a thrilling account of the role of the U.S. Navy's Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three during the disastrous Philippine campaign early in World War II. The author uses an unusual, but thorough, spellbinding format to tell the story: an interview with four heroic young participants. Ranked "with the great tales of war" by the Saturday Review of Literature, it is a deeply moving book that describes the four officers' extraordinary exploits from the first appearance…

Sugar and Civilization

By April Merleaux,

Book cover of Sugar and Civilization: American Empire and the Cultural Politics of Sweetness

Marc-William Palen Author Of The 'Conspiracy' of Free Trade: The Anglo-American Struggle over Empire and Economic Globalisation, 1846-1896

From the list on late-19th-century American capitalism and empire.

Who am I?

I am a historian based in England, raised in Texas. While undertaking a summertime spoken Latin course at the Vatican in 2001 I found myself in the midst of Italian protests against that year’s G8 summit in Genoa. The strength of the anti-globalization movement, and the violent response from the Carabinieri, sparked an early interest in the historical controversies surrounding globalization and US foreign policy. Ten years later, I had a PhD in History from the University of Texas at Austin and the first draft of what would become my book, The “Conspiracy” of Free Trade

Marc-William's book list on late-19th-century American capitalism and empire

Why did Marc-William love this book?

This easily digestible book is a must read for understanding the ways that the late-19th-century Sugar Trust and candy stores influenced early-20th-century imperial debates surrounding immigration and tariffs.

Merleaux’s enterprising study gets to the heart of how the American sweet tooth carved out many of the nation’s imperial cavities in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific. 

By April Merleaux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sugar and Civilization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the weeks and months after the end of the Spanish-American War, Americans celebrated their nation's triumph by eating sugar. Each of the nation's new imperial possessions, from Puerto Rico to the Philippines, had the potential for vastly expanding sugar production. As victory parties and commemorations prominently featured candy and other sweets, Americans saw sugar as the reward for their global ambitions.

April Merleaux demonstrates that trade policies and consumer cultures are as crucial to understanding U.S. empire as military or diplomatic interventions. As the nation's sweet tooth grew, people debated tariffs, immigration, and empire, all of which hastened the…

Between Empires

By Koichi Hagimoto,

Book cover of Between Empires: Martí, Rizal, and the Intercolonial Alliance

Ignacio López-Calvo Author Of The Mexican Transpacific: Nikkei Writing, Visual Arts, and Performance

From the list on Asian-Latin American exchanges.

Who am I?

Extensive research on cultural production by Latin American authors of Asian ancestry has given me a comprehensive understanding of the development of Transpacific studies. For the last decade, my research has focused, for the most part, on South-South intercultural exchanges and cultural production by and about Latin American authors of Asian descent. I have written five books dealing with these topics: 2008 Imaging the Chinese in Cuban Literature and Culture (2009), The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru (2013), Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Writing Tusán in Peru (2014), Japanese Brazilian Saudades: Diasporic Identities and Cultural Production (2019), and The Mexican Transpacific: Nikkei Writing, Visual Arts, Performance (forthcoming).  

Ignacio's book list on Asian-Latin American exchanges

Why did Ignacio love this book?

Between Empires compares the anti-imperial literature and history of two former Spanish colonies, Cuba and the Philippines, but this time focusing on the late-nineteenth-century “intercolonial alliance” and, more specifically, on the oeuvres of two nationalist authors and national heroes: the Cuban José Martí and the Filipino José Rizal. Hagimoto explores a transpacific collective consciousness of resistance as well as the shared historical ties between Latin America and the Philippines. What I found more exciting about this book was that it reveals how, led by two national heroes and martyrs, there was still, well after the end of the Manila Galleon transpacific route, an end-of-nineteenth-century anti-colonial alliance between two far-away countries united by a shared history of colonial domination and oppression.

By Koichi Hagimoto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between Empires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1898, both Cuba and the Philippines achieved their independence from Spain and then immediately became targets of US expansionism. This book presents a comparative analysis of late-nineteenth-century literature and history in Cuba and the Philippines, focusing on the writings of Jose Marti and Jose Rizal to reveal shared anti-imperial struggles.

Sun, Sea and Sangria

By Victoria Cooke,

Book cover of Sun, Sea and Sangria

Victoria Browne Author Of Gut Feeling

From the list on vacation reads about love and friendship.

Who am I?

Romance and chick-lit books hooked me as a young adult. It was this genre that inspired me to write. Since publishing my first book Gut Feeling in 2012 I’ve since written three chick-lit novels and a holiday rom-com screenplay. The fiction world of perfectly unperfect romance never fails.   

Victoria's book list on vacation reads about love and friendship

Why did Victoria love this book?

An easy vacation read is my go-to, so this book was perfect. I also read this during lockdown, when a vacation was only a fantasy anyway. It will not disappoint, the sun is real, the life is real and the need for love is compelling. Kat is a cute character I can relate to because I also moved to a country where it is summer all year round, but the sun doesn’t take your worries away.  

By Victoria Cooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sun, Sea and Sangria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This has been the PERFECT escapist read. Lockdown has definitely been made better with this utter gem of a book.' - 5 stars, Netgalley reviewer

Kat swore off dating many years ago, after her marriage ended in a catastrophic mess. Having moved to the Canary Islands for a fresh start, she has never had much time for romance, channelling all her energy into managing an all-male dance troupe - the Heavenly Hunks.

With golden beaches, sparkling blue water and relaxing after work with a glass of sangria - or three - for Kat, it's summer all year round.

But despite…

In the Country

By Mia Alvar,

Book cover of In the Country: Stories

Renee Macalino Author Of The ABCs Of Asian American History: A Celebration from A to Z of All Asian Americans, from Bangladeshi Americans to Vietnamese Americans

From the list on the Asian American immigrant experience.

Who am I?

Born in the Philippines and raised in the US from the age of 4, Renee didn't see the stories of her culture reflected in books until she was a freshman in college at UC Berkeley. Renee wrote her first novel, The Hour of Daydreams, which was inspired by the ghost stories her family told. It received the inaugural Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Finalist award. Her children’s book One Hundred Percent Me is the book she wishes she could’ve read to her own daughters. With her latest book, The ABCs of Asian American History, Renee hopes young readers will celebrate the vast contributions of Asian Americans to US culture, politics, arts, and society.

Renee's book list on the Asian American immigrant experience

Why did Renee love this book?

Alvar’s stories of men and women of the Philippine diaspora take place all over the globe, shedding insight on the export of labor.

As they separate from the safety and familiarity of family, the characters’ longing and aspirations are universal. This is an important book that helps to illuminate a fascinating and often painful experience of leaving, losing, and searching for home.

By Mia Alvar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In these nine globe-trotting tales, Mia Alvar gives voice to the women and men of the Philippines and its diaspora.

From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar’s stories explore the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home—and marks the arrival of a formidable new voice in literature.

Lolas' House

By M. Evelina Galang,

Book cover of Lolas' House: Filipino Women Living with War

Peipei Qiu Author Of Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves

From the list on comfort women enslaved by the Japanese military.

Who am I?

A professor of Chinese and Japanese, Asian Studies, and Women’s Studies at Vassar College, my research has focused on the cross-cultural fertilization between Chinese and Japanese literary traditions. I’ve published widely on the subject, including a book, Bashô and the Dao: The Zhuangzi and the Transformation of Haikai. I began research on the “comfort women”—victims of Imperial Japan’s military sexual slavery during the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945)—in 2002  when working with a Vassar student on her thesis about the “comfort women” redress movement. Since then, I’ve worked closely with Chinese researchers and local volunteers,  interviewing the eyewitnesses and survivors of the Japanese military “comfort stations” in China, and visiting the now-defunct sites.

Peipei's book list on comfort women enslaved by the Japanese military

Why did Peipei love this book?

“Lolas” is the Tagalog word for “grannies,” referring to the aged women who survived Japanese military sex slavery in WWII. Lolas’ House skillfully weaves the heartrending first-person accounts of sixteen Filipina “comfort women,” snatched away from their homes and repeatedly violated by Japanese soldiers, with the riveting narratives of M. Evelina Galang, an American writer and professor of Filipina descent, who traveled with the Lolas to the sites of their abduction, protested with them at the gates of the Japanese Embassy in Manila, and became their trusted friends in documenting their stories. Galang says she “cannot rest until the stories are told.” I feel the same way. This book gives a powerful voice to the Filipina “comfort women.” 

By M. Evelina Galang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lolas' House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II more than one thousand Filipinas were kidnapped by the Imperial Japanese Army. Lolas' House tells the stories of sixteen surviving Filipino "comfort women."

M. Evelina Galang enters into the lives of the women at Lolas' House, a community center in metro Manila. She accompanies them to the sites of their abduction and protests with them at the gates of the Japanese embassy. Each woman gives her testimony, and even though the women relive their horror at each telling, they offer their stories so that no woman anywhere should suffer wartime rape and torture.

Lolas' House is…

The Onyx Seed

By R.W. Harrison,

Book cover of The Onyx Seed

Tai Stith Author Of Science, Submarines & Secrets: The Incredible Early Years of the Albany Research Center

From Tai's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Declassified documents enthusiast Coffee-powered Rabid researcher Night owl Mom of three

Tai's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Tai's 7, 11, and 13-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Tai love this book?

The Onyx Seed is the second novel I’ve read by independent author R.W. Harrison, and it was a delightful surprise.

My love for all things creepy and weird (think X-Files) and Harrison’s fast-paced plotline kept me turning pages. I cared about the characters and their outcomes (which were sometimes quite grisly!) It was clear that Harrison really spent some time researching World War II and mythological history to get the story’s details to ring with truth, which I truly appreciate. 

By R.W. Harrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Onyx Seed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The peacefulness of a small, post-World War II town in New York is shattered when Larry McConnell drowns mysteriously in a local lake. When a kind boarder joins Larry’s widow, Margaret, and her young son Davey, she begins to think her house may be haunted. The sheriff believes a rogue deputy is responsible for Larry’s death while Margaret reluctantly seeks the help of a palm reader. The psychic identifies a dresser in Davey’s room as the source of the haunting and the root of the evil that is now swirling around them and threatening Margaret’s son. Deeper research reveals that…

The Souvenir

By Louise Steinman,

Book cover of The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War

Carolyn Porter Author Of Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate

From the list on WWII family searches.

Who am I?

Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer, type designer, and unapologetic lover of old handwriting. “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and The Search for One Man’s Fate” recounts Porter’s obsessive search to learn about Marcel Heuzé, a French forced laborer who mailed love letters to his wife and daughters from a Nazi labor camp in Berlin—letters Porter found 60 years later at an antique store in Minnesota. Porter’s book was awarded gold medals from Independent Publisher and The Military Writers Society of America, and was a finalist for a 2018 Minnesota Book Award.

Carolyn's book list on WWII family searches

Why did Carolyn love this book?

After Steinman’s parents passed away, she found a trove of WWII-era letters her father wrote along with a silk flag inscribed to a man named Yoshio Shimizu. In this book, Steinman recounted her years-long quest to learn who Shimizu was, a search that resulted in a trip to Japan to return the precious artifact. At the same time, by reading her father’s letters, Steinman discovered a tender and expressive side of her father—a side that had been wiped away by trauma. Steinman’s book shines a light on the universal cost of war.

By Louise Steinman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Souvenir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A soldier’s daughter unravels the secrets of her father’s experience in the Pacific Theater in this “graceful, understated” World War II memoir for fans of The Things They Carried (The New York Times Book Review)
Louise Steinman’s American childhood in the fifties was bound by one unequivocal condition: “Never mention the war to your father.” That silence sustained itself until the fateful day Steinman opened an old ammunition box left behind after her parents’ death. In it, she discovered nearly 500 letters her father had written to her mother during his service in the Pacific War and a Japanese flag…

Book cover of Eastern Sun, Winter Moon: An Autobiographical Odyssey

Ronnie Blair Author Of Eisenhower Babies: Growing Up on Moonshots, Comic Books, and Black-and-White TV

From the list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining community, I enjoyed reading about the lives of other people and how their experiences differed from mine. I read biographies of famous people, such as Paul Revere or Stephen Foster, and an occasional memoir, such as Harlan Ellison writing about infiltrating a juvenile gang or David Gerrold revealing how he came to write for Star Trek. Fiction also took me to places that I had never seen. But something about a coming-of-age tale especially resonated with me and I hope these recommendations will help you make that same connection with how others have navigated the magic and miseries of childhood. 

Ronnie's book list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood

Why did Ronnie love this book?

Gary Paulsen is best known for his novels for young people, such as the popular Hatchet, but this R-rated memoir is aimed at an adult audience. Of my five recommendations, this one is far and away the most representative of the miseries of a dysfunctional childhood. Paulsen’s parents were both alcoholics, and his mother had affairs that she could have done a much better job of hiding from her young son. Somehow, despite the trauma (or maybe because of it), Paulsen emerged as a successful and extraordinarily prolific writer. For those of us with wonderful childhood memories, this book serves as a reminder that not everyone is so lucky.

By Gary Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eastern Sun, Winter Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work describes the author's experiences as a child during World War II. Along with his mother, who is alternatively protective and selfishly neglectful, Paulsen travelled to the Philippines to live with his father, a distant and imperious army officer.