Favorite Latino Books of 2020

 

This year I have been reading many books by Latino authors. It has been part of my own quest to read books from different perspectives, and I want to share with you some of the most powerful books I have read this year.

Clap When You Land Book CoverClap When You Land - Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land was the favorite book from the LatinX Book Club at Rediscovered Books for 2020.  

Each page opens multiple doors and invites to to see things differently.  The language feels easy and simple as you read, and at the end you are reminded that a genius is one who can take complex ideas and explain them clearly and simply.  Elizabeth Acevedo is a genius.

 

 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree Book CoverFruit of the Drunken Tree - Ingrid Rojas Contreras

2020 is all about resiliency, and so is Fruit of the Drunken Tree. There is no hero's journey in this book, but there is the strength of women creating space for themselves in impossible situations.  Love and sisterhood take many forms, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras' story in Escobar era Columbia takes us there.  

 

 

 

House of Broken Angels Book CoverThe House of Broken Angels - Luis Alberto Urrea

The Cruz family, in all their complexity of hurting, healing, and living, are the instruments in Urrea's symphony of story.  Big Angel, the family patriarch, is celebrating his last birthday, and his family has come  to see him.  Weaving memories, and stories flawlessly, Urrea brings out a beautiful book that leaves you  grateful to have read.

 

 

 

Afterlife Book CoverAfterlife - Julia Alvarez

Antonia Vega, a recent widow, was always the one to put on the breaks and keep a safe distance.  Now with a pregnant, illegal teen on her doorstep and a missing sister, she is reinventing herself.  I loved reading this story of a retired educator navigating family, culture and community.

 

 

Mexican Gothic Book CoverMexican Gothic - Silvia Moreno Garcia

If you love a scary story, you will love Mexican Gothic.  Set in 1950's Mexico, Noemi goes to a remote mansion to help her cousin recover from a mysterious illness.  The plot inexorably moves to uncover more mysteries about this family at a pace that builds tension to an excruciating pleasure.  Just don't read the last 100 pages after midnight!

 

 

 

This Is All I Got Book CoverHonorable Mention - This Is All I Got by Lauren Sandler (Not by a Latino author, but still worth reading.  A NYT Notable Book)

I heard a radio interview with Lauren Sandler, and knew that this book was a perfect fit for our Human Rights Book Club to discuss in November.  Camila's story pulls you in and you keep pulling for her through her harsh reality.  This account of her first year of motherhood traveling the paths of homelessness moves you.  There is so much to discuss and opportunities to foster change, that I hope you read this  .

 

 

 

What is currently on my stack of to be read Latino novels?

 Of Women and Salt Book CoverOf Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (Released March 2021)

 

 

 

 

House on Mango Street CoverThe House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (I had to read it again after the Cabin event.)

 

 

 

 

Each of Us A Desert by Mark Oshiro