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A Dream Called Home by Reyna Grandean inspiring account of one woman's quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time.
As an immigrant in an unfamiliar country, with an indifferent mother and abusive father, Reyna had few resources at her disposal. Taking refuge in words, Reyna's love of reading and writing propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco CantuNAMED A TOP 10 BOOK OF 2018 BY NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST, SHORTLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITIC CIRCLE'S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE
For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Driven to understand the hard realities of the landscape he loves, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Plagued by a growing awareness of his complicity in a dehumanizing enterprise, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the full extent of the violence it wreaks, on both sides of the line.
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph CassaraA gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and '90s, inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning It's 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city's glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone. As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus's life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences. Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.
The Water Museum by Luis Alberto UrreaFrom one of America's preeminent literary voices comes a story collection that proves once again why the writing of Luis Alberto Urrea has been called "wickedly good" (Kansas City Star), "cinematic and charged" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and "studded with delights" (Chicago Tribune). Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Urrea reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Suffused with wanderlust, compassion, and no small amount of rock and roll, The Water Museum is a collection that confirms Luis Alberto Urrea as an American master.
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo AnayaFrom "one of the nation's foremost Chicano literary artists" comes a coming-of-age classic and the bestselling Chicano novel of all time that follows a young boy as he questions his faith and beliefs — now one of PBS's "100 Great American Reads" (Denver Post).
Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past—a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world... and will nurture the birth of his soul.
The Devil's Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto UrreaIn May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the "Devil's Highway." Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. The result was a national bestseller, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a "book of the year" in multiple newspapers, and a work proclaimed as a modern American classic.
Homelands by Alfredo CorchadoFrom prizewinning journalist and immigration expert Alfredo Corchado comes the sweeping story of the great Mexican migration from the late 1980s to today. Homelands is the story of Mexican immigration to the United States over the last three decades. Written by Alfredo Corchado, one of the most prominent Mexican American journalists, it's told from the perspective of four friends who first meet in a Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia in 1987. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician, and the fourth, Alfredo, a hungry young reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Over the course of thirty years, the four friends continued to meet, coming together to share stories of the turning points in their lives-the death of parents, the births of children, professional milestones, stories from their families north and south of the border. Using the lens of this intimate narrative of friendship, the book chronicles one of modern America's most profound transformations-during which Mexican Americans swelled to become our largest single minority, changing the color, economy, and culture of America itself. In 1970, the Mexican population was just 700,000 people, but despite the recent decline in Mexican immigration to the United States, the Mexican American population has now passed three million-a result of high birth rates here in the United States. In the wake of the nativist sentiment unleased in the recent election, Homelands will be a must-read for policy makers, activists, Mexican Americas, and all those wishing to truly understand the background of our ongoing immigration debate.
The Spitboy Rule by Michelle Cruz GonzalesMichelle Cruz Gonzales played drums and wrote lyrics in the influential 1990s female hardcore band Spitboy, and now she's written a book - a punk rock herstory. Though not a riot grrl band, Spitboy blazed trails for women musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, but it wasn't easy. Misogyny, sexism, abusive fans, class and colour blindness and all-out racism were foes, especially for Gonzales, a Xicana and the only person of colour in the band. This memoir chronicles Spitboy's successes and failures, and for Gonzales, discovering her own identity.
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto UrreaIn his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Among the guests is Big Angel's half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life.
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra CisnerosA collection of stories by Sandra Cisneros, the winner of the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. The lovingly drawn characters of these stories give voice to the vibrant and varied life on both sides of the Mexican border with tales of pure discovery, filled with moments of infinite and intimate wisdom.
Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez"Olivarez steps into the 'inbetween' standing between Mexico and America in these compelling, emotional poems. Written with humor and sincerity" (Newsweek). Named a Best Book of the Year by Newsweek and NPR. In this "devastating debut" (Publishers Weekly), poet José Olivarez explores the stories, contradictions, joys, and sorrows that embody life in the spaces between Mexico and America. He paints vivid portraits of good kids, bad kids, families clinging to hope, life after the steel mills, gentrifying barrios, and everything in between. Drawing on the rich traditions of Latinx and Chicago writers like Sandra Cisneros and Gwendolyn Brooks, Olivarez creates a home out of life in the in-between. Combining wry humor with potent emotional force, Olivarez takes on complex issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and immigration using an everyday language that invites the reader in, with a unique voice that makes him a poet to watch. "The son of Mexican immigrants, Olivarez celebrates his Mexican-American identity and examines how those two sides conflict in a striking collection of poems." --USA Today
The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel VasquezSHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE A sweeping tale of conspiracy theories, assassinations, and twisted obsessions -- the much anticipated masterpiece from Juan Gabriel Vásquez. The Shape of the Ruins is a masterly story of conspiracy, political obsession, and literary investigation. When a man is arrested at a museum for attempting to steal the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician, few notice. But soon this thwarted theft takes on greater meaning as it becomes a thread in a widening web of popular fixations with conspiracy theories, assassinations, and historical secrets; and it haunts those who feel that only they know the real truth behind these killings. This novel explores the darkest moments of a country's past and brings to life the ways in which past violence shapes our present lives. A compulsive read, beautiful and profound, eerily relevant to our times and deeply personal, The Shape of the Ruins is a tour-de-force story by a master at uncovering the incisive wounds of our memories.