Today is the last day of Latinx Heritage Month, and what a month it’s been! We kicked off the celebration with Carolina De Robertis sharing her Favorite Books by Latinx Authors, and added a some books from her list to our TBR pile. Be sure to check it out in case you missed it! We’ve also been diving into a few favorites of our own—a couple of new releases and a handful that we keep coming back to again and again. As you browse the roundup below, be sure to add a few of these titles to your perennial shelves. The culture, contributions, and extraordinary voices of the Latinx community continue to teach and delight us, and even though Latinx Heritage Month technically ends today, we’d like to keep it going all year round!
Finding Latinx by Paola Ramos
In this empowering cross-country travelogue, journalist and activist Paola Ramos embarks on a journey to find the communities of people defining the controversial term, “Latinx.” She introduces us to the indigenous Oaxacans who rebuilt the main street in a postindustrial town in upstate New York, the “las Poderosas” who fight for reproductive rights in Texas, the musicians in Milwaukee whose beats reassure others of their belonging, as well as drag queens, environmental activists, farmworkers, and the migrants detained at our border. Drawing on intensive field research as well as her own personal story, Ramos chronicles how “Latinx” has given rise to a sense of collectivity and solidarity among Latinos unseen in this country for decades.
A vital and inspiring work of reportage, Finding Latinx calls on all of us to expand our understanding of what it means to be Latino and what it means to be American. The first step toward change, writes Ramos, is for us to recognize who we are.
“Ramos compels us to reconsider our understanding of what it means to belong. . . . Finding Latinx guides readers into a deeper understanding of who we are at our core and on the margins, nuanced identities that compose the great American mosaic.” —Stacey Abrams
Decoding Despacito by Leila Cobo
Decoding “Despacito” tracks the stories behind the biggest Latin hits of the past fifty years. From the salsa born in the streets of New York City, to Puerto Rican reggaetón and bilingual chart-toppers, this rich oral history is a veritable treasure trove of never-before heard anecdotes and insight from a who’s who of Latin music artists, executives, observers, and players. Their stories, told in their own words, take you inside the hits, to the inner sanctum of the creative minds behind the tracks that have defined eras and become hallmarks of history.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
“A love story of astonishing power.”—Newsweek
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The bestselling coming-of-age classic, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes—sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous—Sandra Cisneros’s masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
“Afortunado! Lucky! Lucky the generation who grew up with Esperanza and The House on Mango Street. And lucky future readers. This funny, beautiful book will always be with us.” —Maxine Hong Kingston
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
When fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera sustains a terrible injury, the Riveras leave behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risk everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved. The Book of Unknown Americans is a stunning novel of hopes and dreams, guilt and love—a book that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.
“Stories [that] illuminate the lives behind the current debates about Latino immigration.” —The New York Times Book Review
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Seven-year-old Chula lives a carefree life in her gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside her walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar reigns, capturing the attention of the nation. When her mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona’s mysterious ways. Inspired by the author’s own life, Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.
“Simultaneously propulsive and poetic, reminiscent of Isabel Allende. . . . Listen to this new author’s voice—she has something powerful to say.”—Entertainment Weekly
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
When an artist couple sets out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. Through ephemera such as songs, maps, and a Polaroid camera, the children try to make sense of both their family’s crisis and the larger one engulfing the news: the stories of thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States but getting detained—or lost in the desert along the way. A breathtaking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive is timely, compassionate, subtly hilarious, and formally inventive—a powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.
“An epic road trip [that also] captures the unruly intimacies of marriage and parenthood. . . . This is a novel that daylights our common humanity and challenges us to reconcile our differences.” —The Washington Post
Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
In defiance of the brutal military government that took power in Uruguay in the 1970s, and under which homosexuality is a dangerous transgression, five women miraculously find one another—and, together, an isolated cape that they claim as their own. Over the next thirty-five years, they travel back and forth from this secret sanctuary, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow or alone. Throughout it all, they will be tested repeatedly—by their families, lovers, society, and one another—as they fight to live authentic lives. A groundbreaking, genre-defining work, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit.
“Bold and unapologetic . . . a tribute to the power of love, friendship and political resistance.” —The New York Times Book Review
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival
Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life at the dawn of twentieth century Mexico blends poignant romance and bittersweet wit. This classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother’s womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef, using cooking to express herself and sharing recipes with readers along the way.
“A tall-tale, fairy-tale, soap-opera romance, Mexican cookbook and home-remedy handbook all rolled into one, Like Water for Chocolate is one tasty entree from first-time novelist Laura Esquivel.”—San Francisco Chronicle