Though 2016 brought so many of us anger, grief and bewilderment, may 2017 be the year that we reckon with our humanity, fully.
While reflecting on the many lessons the past year has brought through literature, I started thinking more about the purpose of Libromance and what it meant for me as the blog’s creator and curator.
The books I wrote about were carefully selected, each brimming with a promise of enlightenment. They were also almost always socially and politically relevant, affirmations but also challenges to my own beliefs.
So many of the books I read and the pieces I published revolved around deepening political consciousness and nourishing emotional intelligence. This year, I resolve to do the same but focus more on specific themes:
- #DiverseBookBloggers: If there’s anything that I love more than anything, it’s finding out about the existence of book blogging communities online — and on Twitter nonetheless. I found out about #DiverseBookBloggers, folks who explore and write about books celebrating diversity and related issues. My challenge this year is to contribute to the conversation at least once a month, and encourage others to read books by diverse authors.
- Fil/Lit: Last year was all about Alain de Botton, a British philosopher whose work I admire and tout quite religiously. This year, I want to read and feature more work by Filipino writers; I’ve already started by reading Mia Alvar’s In the Country. Midway through last year, I read Juan Miguel Severo’s book of poems which broke my heart in a thousand ways. His work reminded me of the tenderness of Filipinos and Tagalog, and the many ways that my folks live and love.
- Book Look: I had ambitious projects for 2016 — none of which came to fruition as I tried to find the rhythm of posting three times a week while juggling reading, working full-time and organizing with the Filipino community. I have a better grasp of my capacity after a year’s worth of work, so I want to delve into a project called “Book Look” which will feature beloved readers in the community. I’m partnering up with Bay Area based-photographer John C. on this project, the genius behind thextinct.
While I’m getting ready for these projects and prepping behind the scenes, here’s a preview of this month’s book list:
Have any reading projects you’re starting this year? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Pia Cortez is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She runs a book blog called Libromance where she reviews books and publishes literary features with a queer Filipino immigrant lens. She is a contributor at Hella Pinay, an online magazine for Filipino-American women and at New Life Quarterly, a literary magazine based in Oakland, California. She is currently working on her first novel.