“What is supposedly wrong is the ‘excessive’ consumption of Xmas. This lets supposedly normal consumption off the hook… So-called ‘normal’ consumption is what calls for critique.”
With Christmas just around the corner, I guess it won’t be bad to engage in some wishful thinking. And what better subject to indulge in such thoughts of imagined “consumerism” for a bibliophile like me than books? Since Christmas is about gifts, it is just fitting to celebrate the holiday season by unveiling my book wishlist.
Sometimes I receive books for Christmas, my Birthday, or other occasions. Most of the time, these presents end up unread and forgotten in bookshelves. Worse, they get donated to libraries or rummage sales. This is mainly because of the lack of prior investigation. To remedy this problem, here are some tips as to my taste of books.
In general, I like to read books by authors of progressive or revolutionary credentials, be they novels, biographies, manifestos, primers, or social investigations (Engels, Fanon, Freire, Guerrero, Lenin, Liwanag Mao, Marx, Sison, Stalin).
I also love particular literary writers: Bulgakov, Chekhov, Frank Herbert, Le Guin, Nick Joaquin, Rosario Cruz-Lucero, Saramago.
Novels and short stories by 19th Century European realists (Balzac, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Zola) are also my thing. But not so much from the Anglo-American tradition. I also prefer fiction by Latin American writers like Borges, Carpentier, Cortazar, and Rulfo and mid-20th Century Japanese fiction, particularly those of Mishima.
I read collections of essays on literary criticism, cultural studies, philosophy, and critical theory. I also appreciate books on histories, travels, and philosophies.
As of the moment, the top three books that I would like to get hold of are as follows:
Some of the other titles topping my book wishlist include Nick Joaquín’s Tropical Gothic and Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo. There’s Mikhail Bulgakov’s The White Guard, about the Russia Civil War from the point of view of the losing forces of reaction. This is a favorite of Stalin.
I would like to read Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o's Petals of Blood, a hard-hitting indictment of the neocolonial subjugation of Africa; Subcomandante Marcos’ The Uncomfortable Dead: A Novel by Four Hands, the guerilla commander’s detective novel set in Zapatista guerilla zones in Chiapas.
Then there’s Mo Yan’s Red Sorghum, the controversial Nobel winner’s novel of the Chinese peasant resistance to the Japanese occupation; and Juan Goytisolo’s The Marx Family Saga, a “what if” novel on Marx and his family living in the present neoliberal era.
The rest of my book wishlist can be checked at Goodreads.