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When the cold weather is giving you a case of cabin fever, a mental escape via the pages of a book is sometimes all you need. Here are 5 page-turners by Latino/a-Americans and Latin Americans, (plus one American expat in Mexico), to pick up or pre-order in your quest to banish winter boredom.
Who can forget the 33 miners trapped in the San José mine which collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile? In August 2010, we all watched for more than two months as the rescue played out on live television and wondered how the men were dealing with the situation thousands of feet underground — even as family dramas and their lives before the accident became known to the entire world. Although we all know how it ended, this book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar, reveals the collective story of the miners' struggle for survival which will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
Raised in a Cuban-Colombian family, author Daisy Hernandez shares her poignant coming-of-age story in "A Cup of Water Under My Bed." In earnest prose, Hernandez writes of growing up bisexual in a New Jersey-based immigrant household with plenty of tías in addition to her parents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, cultural as well as religious conflicts abound between all, and Hernandez must navigate those relationships in addition to her own sexuality, which makes for an engaging read.
Carol Merchasin is an American expatriate in Mexico; her essays — which range from touching to hilarious — explore light-hearted topics such as the nuances of Mexican Spanish and the educational role telenovelas play in the culture, to the more serious, such as the nation's history, healthcare, and religious rituals. Her candid and curious examination of Mexican life exposes both the chaos and beauty of what it means to live in San Miguel de Allende.
Antonio Ruiz-Camacho's debut "Barefoot Dogs" is a collection of linked stories which tie together an exiled wealthy family scattered around the world following the kidnapping of the family's patriarch, José Victoriano Arteaga, in Mexico City. An overwhelming number of early reviews have nothing but praise for the book which has repeatedly been described as "brilliant." This is definitely one you'll want to pre-order.
The author of Latin American literature's modern classics such as "The Hummingbird's Daughter" and "Into The Beautiful North," brings us "Tijuana Book of the Dead" — a book of lyrical poetry about life on both sides of the border in an appropriate mix of English and Spanish. If you're already a fan of Urrea, you'll be counting down the days until you can get your hands on this.
If you haven't yet read Junot Díaz's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," then now is as good a time as any. Although this best-selling book was first published in 2007, it's garnering new attention. The story is about an overweight, science-fiction-obsessed Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey, a boy who is cursed, the same as the three generations of his family before him. Critics recently named "Oscar Wao" as "the best novel of the 21st century to date," so it's most definitely worth checking out if you've been meaning to. Time to bump it to the top of your "to read" list!