Celebrating through Books
Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 begins on Thursday, September 15, and ends on Saturday, October 15.
This month is set aside as a time to honor the respective cultures and histories of Latinx and Hispanic Americans. It is a time to celebrate and recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions of the authors, creators, and trailblazers whose stories are helping to redefine identity through writing, music, film, politics, and more.
Reading List for Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month
Solito by Javier Zamora
Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago--'one day, you'll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.' Javier's adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone except for a group of strangers and a "coyote" hired to lead them to safety, Javier's trip is supposed to last two short weeks. At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents' arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family. A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito not only provides an immediate and intimate account of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier's story, but it's also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.
Crying in the Bathroom by Erika L. Sánchez
Growing up as the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago in the nineties, Erika Sánchez was a self-described pariah, misfit, and disappointment--a foul-mouthed, melancholic rabble-rouser who painted her nails black but also loved comedy, often laughing so hard with her friends that she had to leave her school classroom. Twenty-five years later, she's now an award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, but she's still got an irrepressible laugh, an acerbic wit, and singular powers of perception about the world around her. In these essays, Sánchez writes about everything from sex to white feminism to debilitating depression, revealing an interior life rich with ideas, self-awareness, and perception. Raunchy, insightful, unapologetic, and brutally honest, Crying in the Bathroom is Sánchez at her best--a book that will make you feel that post-confessional high that comes from talking for hours with your best friend.
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
A blazing talent debuts with the tale of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots, all in the wake of Hurricane María. It's 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro "Prieto" Acevedo, are bold-faced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan's powerbrokers. Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the 1%, but she can't seem to find her own...until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets... Twenty-seven years ago, their mother, Blanca, a Young Lord-turned-radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives. Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico's history, Xochitl Gonzalez's Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American dream-all while asking what it really means to weather a storm
My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Quiara Alegria Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced in her grandmother's tight South Philly kitchen, "frizzy hair cut short, bangs teased into stiff clouds, sweat glistening in the summer fog, pamper-butt babies weaving between legs." Quiara was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken stories of the barrio -- even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering of powerful orishas with tragic wounds and she vowed to tell their stories--but first she'd have to get off the stairs and join the dance; she'd have to find her language. This is an inspired exploration of home, family, memory, and belonging, narrated by the obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty
Violeta (Spanish Edition) by Isabel Allende
Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth. Through her father's prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling. She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women's rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with César, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She's not sure what she will find--her cousin's husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemi knows little about the region. Noemi is also an unlikely rescuer: She's a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she's also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin's new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family's youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemi, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family's past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family's once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she'll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It's also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel's core.
Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez
Harvest of Empire spans five centuries—from the European colonization of the Americas to through the 2020 election. Latinos are now the largest minority group in the United States, and their impact on American culture and politics is greater than ever. Gonzalez highlights the complexity of a segment of the American population that is often discussed but frequently misrepresented. This landmark history is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the history and legacy of this influential and diverse group.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Trueba family embodies strong feelings. This family saga starts at the beginning of the 20th century and continues through the assassination of Allende in 1973.
Latinx photography in the United States : a visual history by Elizabeth Ferrer
Whether at UFW picket lines in California's Central Valley or capturing summertime street life in East Harlem Latinx photographers have documented fights for dignity and justice as well as the daily lives of ordinary people. Their powerful, innovative photographic art touches on family, identity, protest, borders, and other themes, including the experiences of immigration and marginalization common to many of their communities. Yet the work of these artists has largely been excluded from the documented history of photography in the United States.
Lessons on Expulsion by Erika L. Sanchez
Poet, novelist, and essayist Erika L. Sánchez powerful debut poetry collection explores what it means to live on both sides of the border -- the border between countries, languages, despair and possibility, and the living and the dead. Sánchez tells her own story as the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants and as part of a family steeped in faith, work, grief, and expectations. The poems confront sex, shame, race, and an America roiling with xenophobia, violence, and laws of suspicion and suppression. With candor and urgency, and with the unblinking eyes of a journalist, Sánchez roves from the individual life into the lives of sex workers, narco-traffickers, factory laborers, artists, and lovers. What emerges is a powerful, multifaceted portrait of survival. Lessons on Expulsion is the first book by a vibrant, essential new writer now breaking into the national literary landscape.
Literatura latinoamericana mundial : Dispositivos y disidencias by Gustavo Guerrero(Editor)
From the perspective of Latin American Studies, this volume offers a critical contribution to the current debate on world literature. It is structured around three conceptual blocks: "gatekeepers", as the dispositives and actors mediating the international circulation of literature; "translation", as an unavoidable but always problematic mechanism; and "local literatures", as modes of writing that remain intrinsically tied to their contexts.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende; Nick Caistor (Translator); Amanda Hopkinson (Translator)
In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.
Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti; Dana SanMar (Illustrator)
In Oaxaca City, Mexico, ancient friends Life and Death discuss free will while engaged in a game of chance, with eleven-year-old Clara as the protagonist of their theories and a pawn in their game, moving inevitably towards her ultimate fate.
The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara; Ann Wright (Translator)
In January 1952, two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore South America on an ancient Norton motorbike. The journey would last six months and would take them thousands of miles, all the way up from Argentina to Venezuela. En route there would be disasters and discoveries, high drama, low comedy, fights, parties and a lot of serious drinking. They would meet an extraordinary range of people: native Indians and copper miners, lepers, police, wanderers and tourists. They would become stowaways, firemen and football coaches; they would join in a strike. They would sometimes fall in love, and frequently fall off the motorbike. Both of them kept diaries.
The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature by Ilan Stavans
A dazzling and definitive compendium of the Latino literary tradition. This groundbreaking Norton Anthology includes the work of 201 Latino writers from Chicano, Cuban-, Puerto Rican-, and Dominican-American traditions, as well as writing from other Spanish-speaking countries. Under the general editorship of award-winning cultural critic Ilan Stavans, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature traces four centuries of writing, from letters to the Spanish crown by sixteenth-century conquistadors to the cutting-edge expressions of twenty-first-century cartoonistas and artists of reggaeton.
Perla by Carolina De Robertis
Set in Buenos Aires, "Perla" is a coming-of-age story, based on a recent shocking chapter of Argentine history, about a young woman who makes a devastating discovery about her origins with the help of an enigmatic houseguest.
Poso Wells by María Gabriela Alemán Salvador; Dick Cluster
In the squalid settlement of Poso Wells, women have been regularly disappearing, but the authorities have shown little interest. When the leading presidential candidate comes to town, he and his entourage are electrocuted in a macabre accident witnessed by a throng of astonished spectators. The sole survivor-next in line for the presidency-inexplicably disappears from sight. Gustavo Varas, a principled journalist, picks up the trail, which leads him into a violent, lawless underworld. Bella Altamirano, a fearless local, is on her own crusade to pierce the settlement's code of silence, ignoring repeated death threats. It turns out that the disappearance of the candidate and those of the women are intimately connected, and not just to a local crime wave, but to a multinational magnate's plan to plunder the country's cloud forest preserve.
Recovering the U. S Hispanic Literary Heritage Series by Luisa Capetillo
Luisa Capetillo is best known in popular culture as the first woman to wear trousers. The splash of recognition following her 1915 arrest and acquittal for her choice of clothing today overshadows her significant contributions to the women's and the anarchist labor movements, both in her native Puerto Rico and in the migrant labor belt that stretched along the Eastern United States. This volume combines a facsimile of the original Spanish edition with a new English translation of Capetillo's landmark work, Mi opinion sobre las libertades, derechos y deberes de la mujer.
Shakespeare and Latinidad by Trevor Boffone
Shakespeare and Latinidad is a collection of scholarly and practitioner essays in the field of Latinx theatre that specifically focuses on Latinx productions and appropriations of Shakespeare's plays.
This Strange Way of Dying by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Perplexing and absorbing, these stories lift the veil of reality to expose the realms of what lies beyond with creatures that shed their skin and roam the night, vampires in Mexico City that struggle with disenchantment, an apocalypse with giant penguins, legends of magic scorpions, and tales of a ceiba tree surrounded by human skulls.