4 books to read at the beach

Posted at 04/06/12 11:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Whether at home or at the beach, many Filipinos also use the Holy Week break to catch up on their reading.

Here are four newly released books which should appeal to Filipino readers.

"From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant" by Alex Gilvarry

What is it about: An immigrant arrives in New York with big American dreams. But on the brink of fame and fortune, he is swept to America’s most notorious prison in Guantánamo, administered a Qur’an and locked away indefinitely to discover his link to a terrorist plot.

Why it’s interesting for Filipinos: The main character, Boyet Hernandez, is a Filipino-born fashion designer. Hernandez, an ex-Catholic, is equally at home discussing the Marcoses and Diane von Furstenberg.

What the critics say: “In this funny debut, flashy Filipino fashion designer Boy Hernandez sees his American dream become a nightmare when he’s ensnared in a terrorist plot and shipped to Guantanamo. Gilvarry nails the couture scene, but Boy’s rough journey from Manolo to Gitmo is no joke.” —Andrew Abrahams of People magazine

"King Larry" by James D. Scurlock

What is it about: This is a biography of billionaire Larry Hillblom who co-founded global logistics giant DHL, which became the fastest-growing corporation in history. But when he disappeared in 1995, he left behind an international fiasco that is still unraveling today.

Why it’s interesting for Filipinos: Hillblom was known to visit prostitution dens in Vietnam and the Philippines for pubescent girls. The author was able to track down some of his lovers in Southeast Asia.

What the critics say: “I won’t go into the sex stuff, but it’s almost as bad as you may think. Somehow, Mr. Scurlock manages to tell this side of the story without making you feel that you need to take a shower.” – Bryan Burrough for The New York Times

"Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitacker

What is it about: In this autobiography, the popular NFL quarterback writes an inspirational memoir about life as he chose to live it, revealing how his faith and family values, combined with his relentless will to succeed, have molded him into the person that he is today.

Why it’s interesting for Filipinos: In the book, Tebow discusses his life story as a child of Southern Baptist missionaries in the Philippines.

What the critics say: “Reading his book is almost like having a conversation with him. Tebow shares personal family stories, including several pages about the well-known story of his mother Pam's difficult pregnancy when she was advised by doctors to have an abortion.” – Lindsay H. Jones for The Denver Post

"Honor in the Dust" by Gregg Jones

What is it about: This history book looks at an up-and-coming Theodore Roosevelt, who was out to transform the US into a major world power at the turn of the 20th century. But what happened next is that the Spanish-American War would forever change America's standing in global affairs.

Why it’s interesting for Filipinos: From Admiral George Dewey's legendary naval victory in Manila Bay to the Rough Riders' heroic charge up San Juan Hill, from Roosevelt's rise to the presidency to charges of US military misconduct in the Philippines, the book captures an era brimming with American optimism and confidence as the nation expanded its influence abroad.

What the critics say: “"Fascinating....In the end, ‘Honor in the Dust’ is less about the freedom of the Philippines than the soul of the United States. This is the story of what happened when a powerful young country and its zealous young president were forced to face the high cost of their ambitions.” -- Candice Millard in The New York Times