Latinx Heritage Month Reading List
Happy September! Here is a list of some of our favorite reads by Latinx authors.
#1 - Crude: A Memoir by Pablo Fajardo & Sophie Tardy Joubert
Pablo Fajardo’s Crude: A Memoir is a graphic novel chronicling American oil company Texaco’s pollution of the Ecuadorian rainforest and its lasting impact on the community and the environment. Lawyer and activist Fajardo recounts his first-hand involvement in the increasingly arduous legal battles between Texaco and the Ecuadorian government through his advocacy for the indigenous peoples of the region, whose home, health and food were forever altered.
Crude beautifully exemplifies the power of narrative storytelling when combined with illustration. Not only does it highlight the atrocities done unto the Ecuadorian rainforest and its people, but it works to hold those in power accountable while commending those who have dedicated their lives and careers to fighting a globally overlooked case of environmental and racial injustice.
#2 - Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli
In this mere 128 page read, Valeria Luiselli chronicles the experiences of undocumented Latin-American children and the forty questions that they are asked by the Citizenship and Immigration Services that ultimately determines their fate in this country. Luiselli’s work as a translator for child migrants inspired this work as she was consistently confronted with their complex accounts of risk, fear and danger, only to enter into yet another system that was working against them and their safety.
Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions is a necessary, vulnerable, humanizing, compassionate account of the little understood experiences of Latin-American migrants and the atrocities that they face on their journey to the US and the bigotry and ignorance that awaits them within the US immigration system. Luiselli has a remarkable talent for calling readers to action through the power of her words and her rage.
#3 - Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
[Content Warnings: cannibalism, gore, death, rape, animal violence]
Disturbing, gruesome, chilling to the bone – all words to describe this dystopian horror story by Argentinian author Agustina Bazterrica. The novel takes place in a world in which consumption of animal meat has become outlawed due to a deadly virus that has infected non-human species – it is at this point that the government turns to the butchering of humans, or “special meat”.
Tender is the Flesh follows main character Marcos Tejos and his role at the local processing plant where he has made a career of his emotional detachment and constant occupation within the confines of ethical dilemma. Bazterrica painstakingly outlines the mechanics of meat processing and its impacts, forcing the reader to literally humanize the product of consumer culture. This interesting read places cannibalism as the antithesis of capitalism, and is absolutely worth the ride (if you have a strong stomach, of course).
#4 - In the Dream House by Carmen Maria-Machado
[Content Warning: domestic violence, sexual assault]
Carmen Maria Machado – the literary genius behind Her Body and Other Parties (Hardcover Hotties inaugural Book of the Month pick) – puts a new meaning to inventive and vulnerable writing in her memoir, In the Dream House. She offers context to others experiencing the atrocities of domestic physical and emotional violence in queer relationships by chronicling the horrors of her own journey. Her story is packed with complexity, poeticism and hidden meaning that is uncovered through her carefully constructed metaphors for the Dream House that title and frame each of the book’s sections – “Dream House as Noir”, “Dream House as Stoner Comedy”, “Dream House as Pop Single”, “Dream House as Accident”.
Machado’s incredible mastery of language allows her to articulate her experiences with a subject that is often characterized by the ensuing silence that it demands. In the Dream House will stay within the depths of your mind long after you finish it (which is an easy feat considering it’s awfully difficult to put down once you pick it up).
#5 - The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Moved to write a story that reflects the reality of Afro-Latinx youth after students protested, “these books aren’t about us,” Elizabeth Acevedo, an Afro-Latinx herself, leads readers through the striking coming of age of Xiomara Batista. Growing up in Harlem, Xio is caught between her passion for slam poetry and the expectations of her religious mother who cannot know about her writing- or her budding romance with a boy from school. While her twin brother, Xavier, emphasizes their stark contrast with his praiseworthy academic performance and calm demeanor, Xiomara grows increasingly isolated with the only relief rising from becoming The Poet X.
In her novel, Acevedo trades tired cliches for crushing realities as she portrays the effects of the sexualization of young women of color, the complexities of mother-daughter relationships in immigrant communities, and the fight to get your voice heard through rhythmic verses that will remind readers of the power of reading and writing in a young person’s life.
#6 - My Wicked Ways: Poems by Sandra Cisneros
#7 - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
#8 - Chula by Amanda Alcántara
#9 - Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
#10 - Being La Dominicana by Rachel Afi Quinn
#11 - Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings by Jorge Luis Borges
#12 - Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed by Saraciea J. Fennell
#13 - Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
#14 - El Paso Del Norte: Stories on the Border by Richard Yanez
#15 - Angelitos: A Graphic Novel by Ilan Stavans
#16 - One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
#17 - My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter by Aja Monet
#18 - The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
#19 - Gabo: Memories of A Magical Life by Oscar Pantoja
#20 - We Are Owed by Ariana Brown
What are you reading for this Latinx Heritage Month?
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