Culture

Get On It: 12 Books By Latino Authors You Should Have Read By Now

Summer is around the corner, and it’s time to come up with a reading list. Don’t forget to include these incredible books from your favorite — and soon-to-be favorite — Latino authors.

Brida

You expected The Alchemist to be first on the list, didn’t you? We’ll get to that later, worry not. In true Coelho style, this story tells of a mystical pilgrimage. The titular, Brida, struggles to find the balance between her destiny of becoming a witch (relatable) and her modern relationships, offering a powerful exploration of choice versus destiny in the form of a fable.

Labyrinths

This collection offers 23 of Jorge Luis Borges’ stories, literary essays and short parables. Of particular note is “The Library of Babel,” one of his most famous works, which imagines the universe as a massive library that contains every book imaginable — written and yet to be written — and the madness it all inspires. Who doesn’t want a little madness mixed in with their summer reading?

The Sound of Things Falling

In this novel, Juan Gabriel Vásquez tells a tale set in both ’90s Bogotá (the novel’s present-day) and at the height of the nation’s drug boom. True events are woven through the narrative, in an amazing mix of magical realism and heart-pounding action.

The Dreamer

Pam Muñoz Ryan presents a fictionalized, poetic biography of poet Pablo Neruda as a child, dreaming of becoming a poet despite his strict, unyielding father. The beautifully written tale is heartfelt and inspires young readers (and slightly older ones, too) to embrace one’s gifts fully.

Inés of My Soul

Isabel Allende tells the story of Inés de Suárez, the real-life mistress of Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, weaving real historical events into a compelling love story you will not be able to put down. The events are framed as the memories an aging Inés, from her early years as an impoverished seamstress in Spain to her lover’s horrific, ruthless struggle to establish Santiago.

The Darling

Lorraine M. Lopez writes the story of Caridad, a bibliophile obsessed with Russian literature.  The protagonist educates herself on matters of romance through reading and refuses to believe in the all-too realistic loves and losses she witnesses her mother and sisters experience.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist should be re-read once a year because of all the rich life lessons it imparts. It’s the ultimate guide to navigating the universe, folded into the story of a shepherd quite literally following a dream in order to pursue his Personal Legend.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz writes the beautiful story of two very different Mexican-American teens, Aristotle and Dante, who form a deep bond despite their different personalities. It’s a must-read for anyone who has 1) been a teenager and who has 2) been overjoyed/saddened/deeply perplexed by matters of love and identity. (So, all of us.)

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Here, Gabriel Garcia Márquez presents a captivating metaphysical murder mystery truly unlike any other. In a small South American village, a young bride is found to have lost her virginity before her wedding night. Her brothers decide they must kill the man responsible. And, as if the story itself wasn’t fascinating enough, there’s the matter of the lawsuit surrounding its origin.

The People of Paper

Salvador Plascencia’s work of experimental fiction centers around the idea of an author’s relationship to his creations. Plascencia places himself into his characters’ world, even going to war with them, and utilizes the literal page in innovative ways, playing with text, spacing and literally cutting a specific name completely out of the book. You won’t just read this book; you’ll experience it.

Ways of Going Home

In Ways of Going HomeChilean author Alejandro Zambra blurs the lines between the author and narrator to tell the story of a breakup, Chile’s history and two highly metaphorical earthquakes.

READ: These Latino Authors Will Help Get You Through a Breakup

Think we missed a book by your favorite Latino author?  Share your favorite, below.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Month, Isabel Allende Is Releasing a Memoir and HBO Is Releasing a Mini-Series Based on Her Life

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This Month, Isabel Allende Is Releasing a Memoir and HBO Is Releasing a Mini-Series Based on Her Life

Photo via Getty Images

March is a busy month for Isabel Allende. The most successful Spanish-language author of all time released a new memoir, “The Soul of a Woman”, on March 2nd. On March 12th, HBO released a mini-series based on her life entitled “ISABEL: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende”.

Both of these projects focus on the unifying themes of Isabel Allende’s life. How she has defied the patriarchy, bucked expectations, and pursued her dreams while the odds were against her.

The HBO mini-series, entitled “ISABEL: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende”, covers a lot of ground. From Allende’s childhood in Chile, to the chaotic years of her uncle’s assassination (who happened to be Chile’s president), and her subsequent flight to Venezuela.

The series will also touch on different phases of her life. Her career as a journalist for a progressive feminist magazine. Dealing with her all-consuming grief when her daughter died in 1992. Publishing her first novel–“House of Spirits”–in 1982.

A scene from the trailer of “ISABEL” sums up the hurtles that Allende had to overcome to create a career for herself in the male-dominated world of publishing. “They are going to raise the bar because you’re a woman,” her agent tells her bluntly. “You’ll have to work twice as hard as a man in order to obtain half the prestige.”

Allende’s memoir, “The Soul of a Woman“, on the other hand, reflects on her life through a distinctly feminist lens.

Her publisher describes it as “a passionate and inspiring mediation on what it means to be a woman.” And it doesn’t appear that Allende is shying away from the label of “feminist”. One of the first sentences of her book states: “When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, even before the concept was known in my family, I am not exaggerating.”

Despite being 78-years-young, Allende’s beliefs–about feminism, freedom and intersectionality–are incredibly modern. Throughout her lengthy press tour, Allende has been candid about the life experiences that have shaped her beliefs–mainly how witnessing her mother’s suffering at the hands of her father contributed to her “rage against chauvinism.”

Today, Allende remains incredibly in touch with the progressive issues of the moment, like the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements.

“In patriarchy, we are all left out: women, poor people, Black people, people with disabilities, people with different sexual orientations,” she recently told PopSugar. “We are all left out! Because it divides us into small groups to control us.”

Above all, Allende believes that we all–especially women–should recognize that we have many of the same goals and dreams. And we’re stronger when we’re united. “Talk to each other — women alone are vulnerable, women together are invincible,” she says.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

ipstori Creator, Ruth Resendiz, Wants People To Love Reading Again

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ipstori Creator, Ruth Resendiz, Wants People To Love Reading Again

When the pandemic hit, the Mexican book market saw print sales decline within the first half of February. By April it had plummeted 88.2 percent.

For former professor, Ruth Resendiz, the Mexican publishing crisis feels personal. The brains behind ipstori, Resendiz is on a mission to get people reading again.

“It was about 15 years ago that you started to see that [students] were not reading,” she told mitú.

In 2019 Mexico Daily News reported a noticeable decrease in reading practices following a recent survey. Results concluded that nearly half of respondents didn’t have time to read, while 21.7 percent showed no interest in reading.

Featured by Apple for Women’s History Month, Resendiz wants new readers to understand the power literature can offer. “There are a lot of writers that say literature can give you a sense of immortality,” she said.

ipstori is Resendiz’s love story to reading that started at a young age.

Courtesy of Apple

Resendiz’s fascination with literature began when she was eight after contracting the measles. Bedridden for two weeks the young girl began reading “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.

“I knew nothing about the United States and suddenly I was immersed in another family, in another era, in another culture, and that changed my life forever,” she said.

Resendiz continued saying: “With literature, you’re allowed to be unfaithful, you’re allowed to be in a lot of people’s arms.”

Resendiz created ipstori later in life with no tech experience.

Courtesy of Apple

Becoming an entrepreneur at 52, Resendiz launched ipstori in October 2019. With no prior tech experience she was passionate about getting stories into the hands of people everywhere. Despite facing challenges as a middle-aged woman in the field, Resendiz got help from her tech savvy children turning her solo passion into a family affair.

Considered “a Spotify for literature,” the app contains fictional short stories in genres ranging from romance to thrillers. Available on the App Store, each story has a reading time of one, three, five, or seven minutes.

One of Resendiz’s main focuses with ipstori is to highlight the emotional depth of a narrative. With a generation living on smartphones, Resendiz hopes this method of engagement sparks a change of attitude.

ipstori gives readers thousands of stories to read at any time.

Courtesy of Apple

As attention spans have declined with the rise of social media, Resendiz anticipates that reading short stories would eventually allow readers to adapt to longer novels.

For me, a success story would be that someone that started with ipstori, [their] next stage is going to a library or to Kindle or buy a whole book,” she stated. “We don’t want to compete with books. We just want to give you this kind of starting ritual.”

During the pandemic, 71 percent of the Mexican population was on the internet. Thanks to the digital market, e-books and audiobooks are helping print bookstores regain sales, but not by much.

Luckily, more than 70,000 users engaged with ipstori reading ‘diversidad’ and ‘erotic’ genres that especially gained traction during the pandemic.

“When you’re surrounded by death in every sense, not just corporal death, but [the] death of a lot of things you need to control it with life,” Resendiz observes. “And what is more lively than [the] erotic?”

With over 200 authors writing for ipstori from all over Latin America, Resendiz is expanding the app’s range to include “tiny audibles” read by professional theater actors.

While the publishing crisis remains, Resendiz wants her app to “be that bridge between the creators and the possible readers.”

Reading, she says, is “the difference between being alive and just surviving.”

“We are made by stories, the stories of our parents, and the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves,” Resendiz says.

The App Store featured ipstori for Women’s History Month.

READ: Many Native Languages Are Dying Off But Here’s How Indigenous Millennials Are Using Tech To Save Them

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