April is National Literature Month

March 24, 2015

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month happens every month of November. National Book Month, Book Festivals , National Poetry Month and/or National Literature Month happens in different times depending on the country where you live.

..international literary celebrations like the International Children’s Book Day, International Day of the Book or World Book Day, and World Intellectual Property Rights Day are held in April of every year;..

In the Philippines, President Ninoy Aquino III issued Proclamation No. 968, s. 2015 for April to be the National Literature Month.

Promoting and preserving literature is the same as promoting and preserving culture. Filipinos should never forget the stories of the past that helped shape the country of what it is today. The only notable work by a Filipino, recognised all over the world is that of Jose Rizal’s novels: Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

Jose Rizal’s works are the only books translated and made it as a Penguin Classics book. It’s not just part of the Philippine’s school curriculum but in other Spanish speaking countries, too.

I would love for a Filipino writer to write an adaptation of Filipino’s myths and folklore to make it relevant to this day’s reader.

FILIPINO LITERATURE AND THE WORLD

There was once a famous European book blogger. The topic was about reading diversely and she chose 6 books to read from six continents excluding Antartica.

I think her list wasn’t based on “Greats” books that was ever published in each continent, nor considered by Author from that said continent. Her Asian book choice is: “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.” This book was published in 2010 by an English author who has lived in Japan. It’s a historical novel set during the Dutch East India Company trading, a love story between a Dutch merchant and a Japanese midwife. The blogger was originally from Netherlands, a Dutch, so you would understand why this is her choice. Not even Haruki Murakami or Amy Tan made it in her list. Props to her for making me aware of David Mitchell's book though.

I was in the understanding that this girl works for a publishing company. Which one? She didn’t really say for privacy’s sake. I also understand that there are tons of great books, those considered a Penguin Classic and wanting her to talk about Jose Rizal is just for my ego’s sake.

Another blogger I had to call out and I asked her if she is aware of Jose Rizal’s books. She said yes, that she plans to read translated books, never really gotten around reading JR’s books but it’s in her TBR list. I get that Jose Rizal’s novels are too intense for pleasure reading. It’s the type of novels students read just because it’s a school requirement. Both books were indeed part of my High School and I do plan to reread them and, hopefully, read the translated version.

I have never read a fiction novel based around important events happening in the country. Historical movies were made but no published books. How about a fantasy novel based on our famous landmarks like: Chocolate Hills, The Hundred Islands, Banaue Rice Terraces, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park? Historical fiction novels based on each 7,107 islands history that never really made it in our academic History books? That’s 7,107 new Filipino authors already! Or a YA novel that's set in regional Philippines, themes like family or the environment, the typhoon disaster that we frequently experience? Or, a crime and mystery novel that is set around big events in the country like massacre of journalists, an elite team of army. Or, write about a fictional activist who is gunned down because we hear so many of those happening. Or, be the John Grisham who writes satires of our justice system in the country?

The books, writing and publishing industry has never been this exciting. With the bibliophiles all over the world fighting for diverse books, would’t it be great to be a widely read Filipino author?

Ironically, in honor of April being National Literature month, I am reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The book was not part of any of my English class reading curriculum. So, whoopsies!
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