Sunday, August 19, 2012

Judging the essay anthologies

Last month, I was invited to be one of the judges for the essay anthologies nominated for the 1st Readers' Choice Awards. Hmmm... Maybe I can finally put my opinionated book-ish thoughts to good use. Still, I had  my apprehensions, as I've never judged anything literary before. Well, except for student essays and papers.

Dear reader, I'm so glad I accepted, as the three anthologies were a joy to read. They couldn't be very similar with one another. Reading each book was definitely a rewarding experience.

Tweet Sering's Astigirl chronicled the events of one woman's life as she decides to be more in control of her life. Ambeth Ocampo's Chulalongkorn's Elephants collects his scholarly yet readable essays on Philippine history in the context of Asia. Finally, Bebang Siy's humorous It's a Mens World features essays that are so hysterically funny.

All the nominated writers made it a point to make the essays very personal, especially those of Sering and Siy. But even Ocampo made his book personal by recounting his travel experiences in various Asian cities.

So if you're looking for a different kind of reading material, why not try these three superb collections? And I hope you love reading them as much as I did.