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LATINO LIFE 2004:
BOOKS ABOUT THE HISPANIC EXPERIENCE
Booklists for Adults
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“Latino Life" is a list of recent books concerning the Latino experience, and is published as part of the Boston Public Library's observance of Hispanic Heritage Month each year.

This list is dedicated to the memory of Jacquelyn Hogan, who gave over 30 years of service to the Boston Public Library. A generous person, Jackie was a role model to many, and her guidance and support were invaluable.

* appropriate for Teens
+ available in Spanish or bilingual

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

8 Minutes in the Morning to a Flat Belly: Lose Up to 6 Inches in Less than 4 Weeks—Guaranteed!
by Jorge Cruise.
Jorge Cruise, the New York Times bestselling author, creates a step-by-step weight control plan that is guaranteed to sculpt your belly. RM222.2.C773 2004

The Cuban Family: Custom and Change in an Era of Hardship
by Rosemarie Skaine.
This is a historical perspective of the Cuban family today in the United States and the impacts of their cultural integration. HQ580.S58 2004

Desert Memories: Journeys Through the Chilean North
by Ariel Dorfman.
This memoir interweaves a colorful history of culture, family and landscape through the past and present Chile. F3205.D67 2004

La Vida Rica: The Latina's Guide to Success
by Yrma Rico and Nancy Garascia.
The Suze Orman of Latinas, Yrma Rico shows us how to reach financial freedom in easy to follow steps and personal experiences. E184.S75R53 2004

My Cocaine Museum
by Michael Taussig.
This book takes an evocative descriptive look into the dangerous world of cocaine production from the rain forest of Columbia’s Pacific coast.
F2269.1 .S24T28 2004

Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy
by Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon.
Two reporters for the New York Times give their account of the citizens movement that ended 7 decades of one party rule in Mexico. F1236.P72 2004

The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What It Means for America
by Nicolás C. Vaca.
This historical overview examines the commonalities and tensions between the two largest minority groups in the U.S. E185.615.V33 2004

+ The Seven Beliefs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help Latinas Recognize and Overcome Depression
by Belisa Lozano-Vranich and Jorge Petit.
RC537.L69 2003

Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language
by Ilan Stavans.
The award-winning essayist reflects on how the Spanish language is changing along with our demographics. PE3102.M4S63 2003

BIOGRAPHIES

Armando Marsans: A Cuban Pioneer in the Major Leagues
by Peter T. Toot.
This story of the first Cuban star of major league baseball also examines ethnic and racial stereotyping of early 20th century America. GV865.M3463T66 2004

Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana
by Stephanie Elizondo Griest.
This engaging travel memoir takes the author on a four-year tour (1996-2000) of the major Communist countries and finally back to her own Mexican-American roots.
PN4874.G747A3 2004

Bandido: The Death and Resurrection Of Oscar “Zeta” Acosta
by Ilan Stavans.
This biography/appreciation examines the life and disappearance of the writer, civil rights lawyer, and leading figure of the 1960s Chicano Movement.
CT275.A186S73 2003

Burro Genius: A Memoir
by Victor Villaseñor.
Mexican-American Villaseñor recalls how his difficult yet often humorous boyhood as a Latino in an English-only world spurred him to become a successful American writer. PS3572.I384Z464 2004

+ Celia: My Life
by Celia Cruz with Ana Cristina Reymundo.
This book is the story of the beloved singer, from her working-class Havana roots to her spectacular worldwide success as the “Queen of Salsa”. ML420.C957A313 2004x

Dancing With Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution
by Alma Guillermoprieto.
The Mexican-born author recalls teaching dance in 1970 Cuba, where the harsh realities of life under Castro made her realize her true calling was journalism.
F1765.3.G85 2004

Gabriela Mistral: The Audacious Traveler
ed. by Marjorie Agosín.
This essay collection explores the vision of the Chilean poet, political activist, and wanderer, the only Latin-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
PQ8097.G6Z5633 2003

* Jennifer Lopez
by Heidi Hurst.
This is an illustrated biography of the woman who began life as the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants in the Bronx and became the world’s highest-paid Latina actress. PN2287.L634H87 2004

+ Living to Tell the Tale
by Gabriel García Márquez.
He covers his Colombian childhood through his early writing career in this first volume of a planned trilogy. PQ8180.17.A73Z47813 2003

Memories of a Hyphenated Man
by Ramón Eduardo Ruiz Urueta.
Born and raised in the United States, Ruiz, author, historian, and academic, examines his life and what it really means to be American by birth but Mexican by culture. E175.5.R85A3 2003

The Noise of Infinite Longing: A Memoir of a Family—and an Island
by Luisita López Torregrosa.
This memoir tells of the strong pull of their Puerto Rican home on the family members as they disperse to other countries and cultures. F1960.L68 2004

Once a King Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King
by Reymundo Sanchez.
This powerful and brutally honest sequel to My Bloody Life tells the story of the author’s struggle to create a new life outside one of the nation's most notorious street gangs. F548.9.P85O53 2003

The Real Fidel Castro
by Leycester Coltman.
The former British Ambassador to Cuba and one of Castro’s personal acquaintances presents an intimate and unbiased view of the Cuban leader. F1788.22.C3C59 2003

Silver King: The Remarkable Life of the Count of Regla in Colonial Mexico
by Edith Boorstein Couturier.
This biography of a wealthy merchant, admired as a philanthropist yet sometimes despised by his workers, also details life in 1700s Mexico. F1231.R72C68 2003

Why You Crying? My Long, Hard Look at Life, Love, and Laughter
by George Lopez.
The Mexican-American comedian and TV star reveals how his ability to find humor in his unhappy, dysfunctional childhood became his ticket to a better life.
PN2287.L633A3 2004

HISTORY

At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay
by John Gimlette.
This account of the author’s travels across the nation of Paraguay illuminates its complicated history and its contradictory present. F2676.G56 2003x

* A Brief History of Mexico
by Lynn V. Foster.
The history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times through the present is explored in this illustrated book which includes brief biographies of important figures.
F1226.F67 2004.

The Bullet or the Bribe: Taking Down Colombia's Cali Drug Cartel
by Ron Chepesiuk.
This book recounts the 20 year global effort to bring down the strongest player in the cocaine trade. HV5840.C7C44 2003

The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America's Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas
by Todd Balf.
In 1854 while mapping a route for the Panama Canal the crew endured a 97-day ordeal of starvation, exhaustion, and madness. HE537.1.B35 2003

The Devil's Highway: A True Story
by Luis Alberto Urrea.
In 2001, 26 men attempted to cross the Mexican border into a part of Arizona known as The Devil’s Highway. Only 12 of the men survived. JV6475.U77 2004

Hard Line: Life and Death on the U.S.-Mexico Border
by Ken Ellingwood.
This book covers the history of border crossings and government attempts to stop them. It is also a portrait of U.S.-Mexican relations. HD8081.M6E4 2004

Lone Star Nation: How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence—and Changed America
by H.W. Brands.
This narrative of Texas’s journey to statehood covers the events and people involved. F390.B833 2004

Lone Star Rising: The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic
by William C. Davis.
This history of the Texas Revolution explores the influence of the native Tejano leader Juan Seguin and Mexican president Antonio Santa Ana. F390.D2757 2004

The Lost Apple: Operation Pedro Pan, Cuban Children in the U.S., and the Promise of a Better Future
by María de los Angeles Torres.
In 1960, the American government began a controversial program to bring children from Cuba into the United States to escape communism. HV640.5.C9T67

Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas
ed. by Richard L. Burger and Lucy C. Salazar.
This illustrated history of the royal Peruvian residence Machu Picchu includes notes from the time of its discovery, descriptions of artifacts and new archeological discoveries. F3429.1.M3M33 2004

The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon
by Robert Whitaker.
What happened when a French geographer and his Peruvian wife became separated in 18th century Peru? F2546.W46 2004

The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability
ed. by Peter Kornbluh.
This book exposes the role of the United States in the regime of Chilean dictator Pinochet, known for his human rights violations and international terrorism. F3103.P56K67

Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan
by Hugh Thomas.
This history of Spain's first thirty years in the Americas traces Columbus' famous pioneering voyage through Magellan's first circumnavigation of the earth. F1411.T36

Survivors in Mexico
by Rebecca West, ed. by Bernard Schweizer.
West’s narrative takes on all of Mexican history and explores the inner lives of such figures as Cortés, Montezuma, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky. F1216.5.W57 2003

Xuxub Must Die: The Lost Histories of a Murder on the Yucatan
by Paul Sullivan.
In 1872 American entrepreneur Robert Stephens became manager of the Yucatan sugar plantation “Xuxub”. After three years, he was mysteriously murdered by rebel Maya. F1435.1.Y89S85 2004

EXPRESSIONS

21 Grams
by Guillermo Arriaga Jordán.
This screenplay, third in a series by the Mexican author of Amores Perros, was made into a movie starring Benicio del Toro and Sean Penn. PN1997.2.T84 2003x

Anna in the Tropics
by Nilo Cruz.
This 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play is set in a 1929 Cuban-American cigar factory, where readers are hired to educate and entertain the workers.
PS3603.R895A83 2003

Cuban Cinema
by Michael Chanan.
Films from both before and after the revolution are detailed, focusing on their social, political, and cultural relevance. PN1993.5.C8C48 2004

Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba
by Leonardo Acosta.
From Cuban musicians in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century to bebop, mambo, and Afro-Cuban jazz, this history covers it all. ML3509.C88A2713 2003

From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients
by Diana Kennedy.
Detailed descriptions of the primary ingredients used in Mexican cooking, from achiote to xoconostles, are found alongside regional recipes. TX716.M4K475 2003

The Great Ceviche Book
by Douglas Rodriguez.
A chef passionate about ceviche—fish “cooked” by the acid of a citrus marinade—offers over 50 innovative recipes. TX747.R635 2003

* Heroes, Lovers, and Others: The Story of Latinos in Hollywood
by Clara E. Rodríguez.
Actors in the movie industry from silent films to the present day are examined, including “invisibles” who changed their names in order to succeed. PN1995.9.H47R63 2004

La Comida del Barrio: Latin-American Cooking in the U.S.A.
by Aarón Sanchez.
Co-host of the Food Network’s Melting Pot, Sanchez serves up 120 recipes from the homes and restaurants of North America’s Latino neighborhoods.
TX716.A1S26 2003

Latin American & Caribbean Art: MoMA at El Museo
ed. by Miriam Basilio.
El Museo del Barrio, New York’s Latino center for arts and culture, celebrated its 35th anniversary with an exhibit of these paintings and sculptures. N6502.5.L37 2004x

The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond
by Ed Morales.
This guide traces the development of each musical type from its country of origin to its influence in American culture. ML3475.M67 2003

+ Looking Within: Selected Poems, 1954-2000 = Mirar Adentro: Poemas Escogidos, 1954-2000
by Nancy Morejón.
This bilingual collection by the Afro-Cuban poet touches on themes of revolution, feminism, and race. PQ7390.M68A25 2003

New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone
by Raquel Z. Rivera.
Freelance journalist Rivera examines how New York Puerto Ricans have been an essential part of hip hop culture since its beginnings in the 1970s.
F128.9.P85R584 2003x

Our Latin Table: Celebrations, Recipes, and Memories
by Fernando Saralegui.
Enjoy recipes for a year’s worth of special occasions—such as Guava Baked Ham for New Year’s Eve, Mami’s Gazpacho for July 4th, and Pumpkin Flan for Thanksgiving.
TX716.C8S27 2003

A Poet’s Truth: Conversations with Latino/Latina Poets
by Bruce Allen Dick.
Fifteen contemporary poets discuss their craft, their heritage, and social and political issues affecting Latinos. PS153.H56D53 2003

Revolución! : Cuban Poster Art
by Lincoln Cushing.
Colorful posters from the 1960s to the 1980s celebrate tobacco harvests, music festivals, and sporting events, as well as political life. NC1807.C8C87 2003

Rites of Rhythm: The Music of Cuba
by Jory Farr.
Part listener’s guide, part memoir, this book explores Cuba’s rich musical history and includes interviews with masters like Chucho Valdés and Papi Oviedo.
ML207.C8F37 2003

The South American Table: The Flavor and Soul of Authentic Home Cooking from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro, with 450 Recipes
by Maria Baez Kijac.
TX716.A1K55 2003

The Woman I Kept to Myself: Poems
by Julia Alvarez.
Autobiographical poems range in topic from her childhood in the Dominican Republic to reflections on her parents’ deaths. PS3551.L845W66 2004

Work Done Right: Poetry
by David Dominguez.
In these poems, Abraham, a Mexican-American sausage factory worker, struggles to find his place in the world. PS3604.O625 W67 2003

FICTION

After Havana
by Charles Fleming.
Set during the last days of the Batista regime in 1958, musicians, revolutionaries, crooked cops and gangsters all cross paths.

* The Afterlife: A Novel
by Gary Soto.
After Chuy is stabbed to death by a fellow student he lingers on as ghost and observes the reactions of his family and friends.

And the Shadows Took Him: A Novel
by Daniel Chacón.
After moving from multicultural California to Oregon, a Mexican-American boy struggles to come to terms with his family and his own Chicano identity.

Brownsville: Stories
by Oscar Casares.
Set in Brownsville, Texas, a border town, these stories deal with the universal themes of work, money, relationships and much more.

Burning Precinct Puerto Rico: A Luis Gonzalo Novel, Vol. 3
by Steven Torres.
Sheriff Gonzalo suspects a fatal arson fire in sleepy Angustias was a message sent by a powerful drug cartel in collusion with corrupt politicians.

Caramba! A Tale Told in Turns of the Card
by Nina Marie Martinez.
There are life truths behind the zany humor in this first novel featuring best girlfriends who are adventurous 20-somethings living in California near the Mexican border.

Carmen’s Rust
by Ana María del Río.
Adolescent Carmen’s brutal repression by her conservative family parallels the injustices of life in Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Cold Havana Ground
by Arnaldo Correa.
Since a recently buried corpse has disappeared from a Chinese cemetery in Havana, the Cuban police are seeking possible motives and suspects.

Confessions of a Deathmaiden
by Ruth Francisco.
A deathmaiden who helps the dying move to the other side suspects murder when a terminally ill Mexican boy is taken away suddenly and his organs are harvested.

Death of the River Master: A Texana Jones Mystery
by Allana Martin.
On the arid Mexico-Texas border a river master is found murdered and trading post owner Texana Jones’ husband is the accused.

Distant Palaces
by Abilio Estévez.
In present day Havana, Victor, a middle aged gay man, becomes homeless. He and some new-found friends move into a rundown theater and find solace.

The Dog Fighter
by Marc Bojanowski.
Set in 1940’s Mexico, a young man becomes involved in a brutally violent spectator sport and must choose his loyalties when he falls in love with a corrupt businessman’s mistress.

Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti
ed. by Francine Masiello.
Published for the first time in English, these 19th century stories feature women in adventurous and passionate situations in Latin America.

Every Night is Ladies’ Night: Stories
by Michael Jaime-Becerra.
A Mexican-American writer’s debut collection contains ten interrelated stories featuring Hispanic characters in a 1980’s Southern California town.

A Girl Like Che Guevara: A Novel
by Teresa de la Caridad Doval.
Idealistic Cuban teenager Lourdes learns about sex, racism and oppression while working on a state-run tobacco farm.

Havana: An Earl Swagger Novel
by Stephen Hunter.
A state police officer is sent by the CIA in 1953 to Havana to assassinate a young Cuban revolutionary named Castro.

The Havana World Series
by José Latour.
During the 1958 World Series a gang of ex-cons hired by the New York mafia set out to rob Meyer Lansky’s Havana casino.

The Importance of a Piece of Paper
by Jimmy Santiago Baca.
These stories set in the rural southwest are tales of Chicano outsiders: drug addicts, convicts, outlaw gangs, absentee mothers and runaways.

Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire that Never Was
by Angélica Gorodischer.
The Argentine award-winning author weaves together tales of an imaginary civilization and its social and political power struggles.

King Bongo: A Novel of Havana
by Thomas Sanchez.
Insurance agent by day and drummer by night, King Bongo searches for his sister, a popular showgirl who disappears in the aftermath of a 1957 nightclub bombing.

The Lady, the Chef, and the Courtesan: A Novel
by Marisol.
When Venezuelan-born Pilar Castillo inherits diaries which reveal her grandmother’s secret life, they inspire her to examine her own life choices.

Loving Che
by Ana Menéndez.
A young woman returns to Cuba to try to learn the identity of her father, who may or may not have been Che Guevara.

Luck of the Draw: A Novel
by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera.
In this humorous mystery a Cuban exile living in Miami sets off on a wild Las Vegas adventure to find her missing sister.

+ The Matter of Desire
by Edmundo Paz Soldán
A professor of Latin American studies in New York returns to his native Bolivia hoping to come to terms with his father’s political martyrdom.

* The Meaning of Consuelo
by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Consuelo is torn between sacrificing herself to the needs of her unhappy family in 1950’s Puerto Rico or following her cousin to an independent life in Nuevo York.

Minos: A Romilla Chacón Mystery
by Marcos M. Villatoro.
A Salvadoran-American policewoman is helped by a drug lord whose life she inadvertently saved to find the serial killer who murdered her sister.

+ The Movies of My Life: A Novel
by Alberto Fuguet.
A Chilean seismologist living in Los Angeles looks back on his life and relates it to his favorite movies.

My Tender Matador
by Pedro Lemebel.
Chile 1986: A heterosexual Marxist revolutionary and a gay cross dresser plot to kill Pinochet.

The News from Paraguay: A Novel
by Lily Tuck.
This historical epic of 19th century Paraguay is also an unusual love story between the country’s dictator and his beautiful Irish mistress.

The Night of the Radishes
by Sandra Benítez.
A married American woman journeys to Mexico in search of her long lost brother and meets the intriguing Joe Cruz.

No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew It Cauze Bill Bailey Ain’t Never Coming Home Again
by Edgardo Vega Yunqué.
A daughter comes to know her long lost father, a former jazz pianist whose hand was maimed in the Vietnam War, who now lives with his second family.

The Second Death of Unica Aveyano: A Novel
by Ernesto Mestre-Reed.
An elderly Cuban exile recalls the multigenerational story-fable of her family’s entanglements in the tragedy of contemporary Cuba.

The Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties
by Felicia Luna Lemus.
Letitia Torrez, a twenty something Mexican-American lesbian is torn between the traditional culture she was raised in and the hip punk world of Los Angeles.

+ The Way to Paradise
by Mario Vargas Llosa.
A fictional exploration of the life of painter Paul Gauguin is intertwined with the story of his feminist-socialist Peruvian grandmother.

+ Women With Big Eyes
by Angeles Mastretta.
A bilingual short story collection captures pivotal moments in the lives of 39 Mexican women.

Zigzagger
by Manuel Muñoz.
Set mostly in rural California, these short stories examine the lives of gay Latinos making the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

 

Compiled by Boston Public Library staff:

Joanne Bogart, Reader and Information Services, General Library

Francie Francis, South Boston Branch

Amy Manson, Chairperson, Connolly Branch

Sarah Markell, Honan-Allston Branch

Rubi Simon, Egleston Square Branch

Cordelia Sullivan, East Boston Branch

 

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