As American readers keep pushing for diversity in literature, Austin360’s Cultura en Austin blog will continue to highlight works by Latino authors and books with Latino themes.
This roundup, which isn’t a comprehensive list, is based on advanced copies of books received in the last couple of months.
“Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me” by Ana Castillo
The Feminist Press at CUNY ($16.95), released May 2016
Celebrated Chicana writer and feminist Ana Castillo gives readers a glimpse into her life after the incarceration of her son. She weaves stories about her family’s history in Mexico and the U.S. and opens up about the love of her life who left her heartbroken. Castillo, who’s also a playwright, poet and scholar, is among the major voices in contemporary Chicano literature. Her classic collection of essays, “Massacre of the Dreamers” celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.
“The Clouds” by Juan José Saer
Open Letter at the University of Rochester ($14.95), released May 2016
Argentine author Juan José Saer’s faux historical novel gets translated from its original Spanish version in this latest release. Saer, who died in his adopted home of France in 2005, takes readers to present-day Paris in this novel where someone discovers a manuscript that could be either fictional or a memoir. In the manuscript, a nineteenth century physician takes five mental patients on an eventful trip to a new asylum.
“The Other Slavery” by Andrés Reséndez
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ($30), released April 2016
Professor and historian Andrés Reséndez shines a light on an eye-opening part of American history – the enslavement of American Indians across the U.S. dating back from the conquistadors to the early 20th century. Reséndez argues that “mass slavery was more damaging than the disease epidemics that decimated indigenous populations across North America.”
“The Inspiring Life of Texan Héctor P. García” by Cecilia García Akers
The History Press ($21.99), released April 2016
Cecilia García Akers, the daughter of influential Texan Héctor P. García, brings the accomplishments of her father to the forefront in this inspiring biography. In 1940, he was the only Mexican immigrant who graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. García went on to become a physician and activist who served in World War II and then later founded the American GI Forum.
“Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future” co-edited by Frederick Luis Aldama & Christopher González
University of Texas Press ($29.95), released April 2016
From boundary-pushing comics created by Latinos to the Latino superheroes found in mainstream comics, “Graphic Borders” explores the creative ways comics can express Latino identity and culture. It’s the first volume in a series dedicated to world comics and graphic nonfiction.
“Raza Rizing: Chicanos in North Texas” by Richard J. Gonzales
University of North Texas Press ($29.95), released March 2016
From marches on immigration reform to inside a Fort Worth public school classroom, author Richard J. Gonzales takes readers to important historical and political events in recent history that helped shape the Chicano community in North Texas.
“Latino Young Men and Boys in Search of Justice: Testimonies” Co-edited by Frank de Jesús Acosta and Henry A. J. Ramos
Arte Público Press ($16.95), released March 2016
This collection brings together moving first-person essays, poems and letters by Latino men and boys who have been or are incarcerated. In their writings they reflect on their past and future including writing letters to their younger selves. Some community advocates also write essays seeking criminal and juvenile justice system reform. Drawings and artwork are also featured.
“A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America” by Óscar Martínez
Verso Books ($24.95), released March 2016
Acclaimed Salvadorean author and journalist Óscar Martínez’ latest book chronicles the underbelly of some of the world’s most dangerous places. Martínez, who is also the author of the award-winning book “The Beast,” goes undercover to drink with narcos, rides in trafficking boats and hides out with a gang informer as part of his immersive account of the region.
“Verdict in the Desert” by Patricia Santos Marcantonio
Arte Público Press ($17.95), released March 2016
Former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio crafts a courtroom drama exploring race and class in 1950s America. Her latest novel also weaves in a tale of forbidden love as it tells the story of the unlikely meeting of an alcoholic lawyer and a college-educated Mexican American woman who are brought together by a murder case.
“Look into My Eyes: Nuevomexicanos por Vida” by Kevin Bubriski
Museum of New Mexico Press ($39.95), released March 2016
New Mexican photographer Kevin Bubriski captures stunning photos of life in the Land of Enchantment from 1981-1983. The striking black and white portraits document everyone from lowrider bikers to festival queens.
“Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art” edited by Inés Hernández-Ávila & Norma Elia Cantú
University of Texas Press ($34.95), released February 2016
More than fifty authors and eight artists make up the first Tejana literature and art anthology. The project, according to the editors, took nearly 20 years to complete. The book highlights everything from poetry, artwork and personal essays from some of the state’s most influential women including Pat Mora, the 2015 Texas Book Festival Texas Writer Award recipient and the late Chicana feminist writer and scholar Gloria Anzaldúa.
“The Coyote’s Bicycle: The Untold Story of Seven Thousand Bicycles and the Rise of a Borderland Empire” by Kimball Taylor
Tin House Books ($26. 95), released February 2016
Journalist Kimball Taylor grew curious when he first encountered abandoned bicycles across the Tijuana border. That curiosity led him to uncover the story behind a multi-million dollar business led by a coyote who brought undocumented immigrants into the U.S. on bicycles.
“Perfect Days” by Raphael Montes
Penguin Press ($25.00), released February 2016
One of Brazil’s rising crime novelists brings a twisted tale of suspense that’s been described as creepier than “Gone Girl.” In his psychological thriller, author Raphael Montes tells the story of unrequited love between a loner and an aspiring screenwriter who’s his exact opposite. When she rejects him, he kidnaps her and attempts to retrace a bizarre road trip she wrote about in one of her screenplays.
“Blood Sugar Canto” by Ire’ne Lara Silva
Saddle Road Press ($16.00), released January 2016
Award-winning Austin poet Ire’ne Lara Silva explores the struggles of diabetes in uniquely personal prose. A masterful wordsmith, Silva opens her heart with readers and shares stories about her own diagnosis and the healing process. Silva also co-coordinates Austin’s Flor De Nopal Literary Festival.