Books & Art

Poetry Is the Filipino's Favorite Book Genre, According to Study

What do you think it says about Filipino culture?
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When it comes to books, poetry is the most Googled genre in the Philippines. According to Study in Switzerland, a resource for international students, “poetry” had the highest Google search volume than any other genre in the Philippines. Romance, horror, and classics might be popular among local bookworms, but it looks like poetry takes the cake. 

Poetry appears to be the top genre in a number of other countries like Singapore, India, and more. Asia has produced some of the world’s greatest poets, such as Rumi, Lu You, and Wang Wei, and the Philippines’ most popular poets include Conchitina Cruz, Josel Rizal, and Ricardo M. de Ungria. Let’s not forget the bulk supply of Lang Leav, R.H. Sin, and Rupi Kaur books that you can find in almost every bookstore. 

Outside the Philippines, classics, romance, fantasy, and horror are among the top genres for global readers. 

English-speaking countries, like the U.K. and the U.S., favor classics above all other genres, which should come as no surprise as many English language shows and movies are based on or inspired by the classics.

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Down in South America, Latin countries adore horror stories, which is expected based on their rich ghost lore. Just watch Coco or Encanto for proof—ghosts and magic are entwined in local cultures, which birthed dark myths like La Llorona, El Cuco, and El Chupacabra. 

As for Europe, fantasy rules in the land of its inspiration. There’s a reason why fantasy has acquired a specific “look"—Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, even Harry Potter are all based on European cultures, myths, legends, and lore. 

Meanwhile, the Norwegians are voracious readers of crime, which explains why reading Nordic noir is an actual culture with its own name: “paskekrim” or Easter crime, because many locals read crime during snowy Easter time. Over in Dutch-speaking countries, thrillers are the guilty pleasure, and in Australia, South Korea, and Turkey, adventure books take the top spot. 

The genre preference of each country mentioned in the study is a curious reflection of their own cultures. Perhaps the Philippine bookworm’s preference for poetry might say something about our own culture—and our love for finding deeper meaning in whatever we read, or do. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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