Entertainment

If You Are Looking To Grow Culturally, Here Are 23 Books Worth A Good Read

"Corazón." Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018. / epicreads / Instagram

When powerful, influential people try to write Latino stories for us, we rise up. Not only is it important to support Latino writers, but reading the words and alchemy they put down is truly a gift for us. There is nothing more profound that being able to deeply relate to the struggle to be seen, to feel different, to celebrate our curves, to unlearn religious-driven lessons of shame around sex, and to fill in the gaps of our white-washed history, told in full-color by Latinos, for Latinos.

Por favor, disfrute our round up of Latino authored books to feed your soul throughout 2018.

1. “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo

CREDIT: @epicreads / Instagram

This young adult fiction book has only been on the shelves since March 6th and it’s topping chart. Renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo tells the story of a young Afro-Latina girl growing up in Harlem and discovering her world and voice through slam poetry.

Follow @acevedowritesis on Instagram to see her actually perform!

2. “Getting Off” by Erica Garza

CREDIT: @ericadgarza / Instagram

Erica Garza’s memoir is at the top of my list. This Mexican-American author shares her candid experience of understanding how girls are disproportionately taught shame around sex from a young age and how it led her down a path of porn addiction. This one seems like a life-changer.

3. “You Have the Right to Remain Fat,” by Virgie Tovar

CREDIT: “You Have The Right To Be Fat.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Preach. Set your countdown for August 2018, when #bopo activist Virgie Tovar will be feeding brown round girls’ souls with her Mexicana guide to unlearn fatphobia, dismantle sexist fashion and reject diet culture. Because we’re more than our friggin bodies (and our bodies are fine as hell as is).

4. “Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical,” by Jacqueline Jones

CREDIT: “Goddess of Anarchy.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

When white male property-owners write most of the history we learn about in school, we don’t hear our ancestors stories.

That’s why award-winning Jacqueline Jones does some digging to uncover the stories of Texas’ most mysterious activsts: Lucy Parsons. She was African American, Native American and Mexican and she made waves for labor, women’s, racial and prison movements.

5. “The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary,” by NoNieqa Ramos

CREDIT: “The Disturbed Girls Dictionary”. Digital Image. ReadDisruptRepeat.com. 4 April 2018.

Another YA fiction to add to your list (no me importa how old you are, k?). The Puerto Rican writer follows Macy, a normal Bronx girl dealing with your not-so-average incarcerated father issues, your brother being kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and all the other joys of being a teenager in America. Spoiler alert: you’ll want to beg her school to stop calling her “disturbed” already.

6. “Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World,” The Women’s March Organizers and Condé Nast

CREDIT: “Together We Rise.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

On it’s one year anniversary, Chicana Carmen Perez and Colombian Paola Mendoza teamed up with Condé Nast to publish never-before-seen images of the largest protest in U.S. History: The Women’s March. And yes, you’ll find essays from activists America Ferrera, Roxane Gay, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and more. Let this baby carry you through 2019.

7. “Bruja Born,” by Zoraida Cordova

CREDIT: “Bruja Born.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

If you haven’t read the first YA installment, “Brooklyn Brujas,” you have until June 5, 2018 until “Brujas Born” comes out. Ecuadorian author focuses on two teen bruja sisters living in the Bronx.

I swear this sounds like all our tias own memoirs.

8. “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century,” by Iris Morales

CREDIT: “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in the 21st Century.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Edited by Puerto Rican activist, Iris Morales, “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century” aims to collect the voices and experiences of today’s leading Latina voices, including Aurora Levins Morales, Jennicet Gutíerrez, Ariana Brown and mitú’s very own Raquel Reichard.

Get this anthology of poetry and prose and prepare to feel rooted in this bat-shit crazy world.

9. “The Line Becomes the River” by Francisco Cantú

CREDIT: “The Line Becomes a River.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

The true life story and memoir of Francisco Cantú’s employment with Border Control and ethical dilemma of when doing his job causes so much personal harm.

You can also listen to an excerpt on This American Life’s “OK, I’ll Do It” Act One: “Line in the Sand.”

10. “Blanca & Roja,” By Anna-Marie McLemore

CREDIT: “Blanca Roja.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Prepare yourselves: this is the dark Latina retelling of the classic fairytale “Swan Lake” and it’s coming out October 9, 2018. Mexican-American award winner Anna-Marie McLemore shares your classic story of two sisters haunted by a curse that will force one of them to live as a swan if they can’t break the hex. Bless.

11. “Broken Beautiful Hearts,” by Kami Garcia

CREDIT: “Broken Beautiful Hearts.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

She’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose latest novel is a mix of romance and mystery when a high school senior athlete learns her boyfriend’s dark secret and coincidentally falls down a flight of stairs, ruining her pro career and begging the question: who pushed her?

12. Corazón by Yesika Salgado

CREDIT: “Corazón.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Description: “Corazón is a love story. It is about the constant hunger for love. It is about feeding that hunger with another person and finding that sometimes it isn’t enough. Salgado creates a world in which the heart can live anywhere; her fat brown body, her parents home country, a lover, a toothbrush, a mango, or a song. It is a celebration of heartache, of how it can ruin us, but most importantly how we always survive it and return to ourselves whole.”

13. “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided” by Diane Guerrero

CREDIT: “In The Country We Love.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

You know Diane Guerrero from “Jane the Virgin” and “Orange is the New Black,” and her new addition to her activism for immigration reform. She was just fourteen years old when she came home from school to find her parents suddenly vanished…deported while she was in school.

14. “Empty Set” by Verónica Gerber Bicecci

CREDIT: “Empty Set.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

A self described “visual artist that writes,” Bicecci writes a beautiful, fragmented story, told with black and white drawings, diagrams and text about loneliness in breakups and families.

15. “The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez

CREDIT: “The Friend.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Your heart will break and fill back up again with this book. Chinese-Panamanian author, Sigrid Nunez, shares the story of a woman mourning her close friend’s suicide and the aftermath of taking in his grieving, massive Great Dane.

16. “Honor Among Thieves,” by Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine

CREDIT: “Honor Among Thieves.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

If you like sci-fi YA fiction thrillers, then new release “Honor Among Thieves” is for you. The story is about Zara Cole, a petty criminal selected by aliens to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passenger. Difrute!

 17.“Just Sit: A Meditation Guidebook for People Who Know They Should But Don’t,” by Sukey Novogratz and Elizabeth Novogratz

CREDIT: “Just Sit.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

It’s 2018. We all need to work a little extra to find zen this year and Boricua Sukey Novogratz tell us in the lamest terms how to make it happen in our day to day.

18. “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda

CREDIT: “Love Poems.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

If you weren’t forced to recite Pablo Neruda poetry in front of your class, then I wish I went to your school. This sweet, pocket sized book gives you both the English and Spanish versions of his best love poems.

Life hack: be like my girlfriend and give this to yours so they can hear how much you love them in all the ways. I know, I’m crying.

19. “The First Rule of Punk” by Celia C. Pérez

CREDIT: @girlsreadtheworld / Instagram

Mexican-Cuban author, Celia C. Pérez, shares the untold, yet ubiquitous, story of young punk Latinos in America. Follow the story of 12-year-old María Luia O’Neill-Morales, or as she prefers to be called, Malú. She’s half-Mexican, half-white and she’s angsty af, partly because her mother wants her to be “less punk rocker and more señorita” and partly because…why tf not?

20. “Sabers and Utopias: Visions of Latin America” by Mario Vargas Llosa

CREDIT: “Sabers and Utopias”. Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Ok, so you’ve read through 19 books, and have found another Nobel Prize winning author. This one is a deep dive into Latin American history told by one of the most talented, brilliant Latino minds alive today.

21. “Sidewalks” by Valeria Luiselli

CREDIT: “Sidewalks.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Born in Mexico City, Luiselli, “Sidewalks” is the translation of “Papeles Falsos” and a collection of essays about Mexico City, Manhattan, and a dizzying array of graveyard-esque stories in between. Read it to see what I mean.

22. “A Psalm for Us” by Reyna Biddy

CREDIT: “a psalm for us.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Twenty two-year-old Reyna “Biddy” Mays is mitad Mexicana and is gifting us this collection of prose, self-affirmations, spoken word poems, and short stories that question faith, marrying the intellect’s acceptance of feminist principles and dragging her heart to the fullest expression of self worth.

This book will opens your soul up.

23. “Islandborn” by Junot Díaz

CREDIT: “Islandborn | Lola.” Digital Image. JunotDiaz.com. 4 April 2018.

Dominican writer, Junot Díaz, has gifted us all vivid stories intermingled with our own childhood memories. Today, he’s gifting our world’s youngest story-lovers a tale of Lola, a Dominican girl living in the Bronx, asked to share her family’s story. As her imagination and memories swirl together around serious topics (i.e. dictator Rafael Trujillo), she learns about the heroes of her island, and the story of her family.

I’m 100 percent gifting this to my nietos.

Latin America Has Its Own Amazing Comic Book Tradition And These Iconic Titles Prove It

Entertainment

Latin America Has Its Own Amazing Comic Book Tradition And These Iconic Titles Prove It

mexicoretro / valenzrc / Instagram

Even though Marvel and DC Comics superhero comics are obviously very popular in Latin America (as they are in the rest of the world), the region has developed its own comic book industry. This industry has given birth to iconic characters. These characters and stories speak directly to Latin American reality and identity. They deal with challenges such as economic crisis, class division, racism, and State repression. Of course, they do this in an often funny way. Other comics have achieved cult status even if their quality is, well, not of the highest standards. These are ten titles that speak of the depth and breathe of Latin American creativity. 

Title: Condorito
Country of origin: Chile
So when was it first published? It has been published since 1949
Created by: René Ríos, known as Pepo

Credit: condoritooficial / Instagram

The adventures of a Chilean condor that lives among humans is told in short vignettes that always end with a character passing out and the iconic word PLOP. Simple stories deal, however, with issues such as unemployment, the military dictatorship in Chile and class division. Condorito is a working-class everyman who faces class discrimination. Before Pinochet took power the comic was a bit conservative, mocking hippies and left-wing politicians, but after the coup, it changed and silently denounced the dictatorship. A 3D animated movie was released in 2017, with iconic characters such as Cabeza de Huevo, Garganta de Lata and Pepe Cortisona. 

Title: La familia Burrón
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1948
Created by: Gabriel Vargas

Credit: peltre.cuina.mexicana / Instagram

It was published for 60 years and told half a million copies, a huge number by Mexican publishing standards. Cuevas got into the hearts and minds of a lower-class Mexico City family. It is a linguistic jewel: it used slang, Prehispanic words and invented words that appealed to the creativity of chilango vernacular. Vargas’s main influence was American comics, but he soon developed a style that was unique and influences generations of Latin American comic book artists. 

And this family is a true icon of Mexico City

Credit: yosoymims / Instagram

Up until today, this family is venerated by Mexicans. There are multiple murals, toys and museum exhibitions dedicated to the Burrones. A true representation of 20th century Mexican idiosyncrasy. 

Title: Las aventuras de Capulina
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1970s
Created by: Oscar González Guerrero on a character created by Gaspar Henaine Pérez

Comic books in the U.S. are an internationally known community of superheroes but Latin America boasts its own impressive rooster of comic superheroes.
Credit: mexicoretro / Instagram

Gaspar Henaine Pérez, better known as Capulina, was a comedian that became iconic on the 1970s and 1980s. He had a television show and a very successful duo with Marco Antonio Campos, better known as Viruta. The character of Capulina gained huge popularity in a comic book series with stories by comic artist Oscar González Guerrero and art by his son Oscar Gonzalez Loyo. 

Title: El libro vaquero
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1978
Created by: Mario de la Torre Barrón, c

Credit: 99.hawells / Instagram

A classic of Mexican kitsch! NSFW content that has plenty of blood and plenty of sex. It was considered mass entertainment for the lower classes but is now being reinterpreted as an important cultural icon that deals with gender, sex and national identity. As the title suggests, it all happens in a microcosm of cowboys and saloons. This comic book has enrolled some famous writers, such as Jordi Soler, to write stories, as it is now a cultural icon, popular among hipsters. 

Title: Memín Pinguín (yes, this one is quite problematic)
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1962-2010
Created by: Yolanda Vargas Dulché

Credit: miguelf039 / Instagram

First things first: this is a very controversial title because of how the Afro-Mexican main character is drawn, and because of the ways in which other characters refer to him. There are plenty of stereotypes here, but also a denouncement of racism. The class division in Mexico is also referred to when a rich student is enrolled in a public school and faces the wrath of the proletariat. An interesting object of study that makes us think of how representations of race that might have been seen as innocent at the time gain new dimensions as the effects of stereotypes are better understood. 

Title: Kaliman
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1965 (previously a radio show from 1963)
Created by: Modesto Vázquez González (radio show), Hector González Dueñas (Víctor Fox) y Clemente Uribe Ugarte (comic book)

Credit: valenzrc / Instagram

During the 1960s Mexico was a cultural powerhouse in the continent and Kaliman is good proof of this. The superhero was originally just a voice on the radio, but then became a comic book that was published for 26 uninterrupted years, which spanned 1351 issues. Kaliman is a superhero of unknown origin who was raised in India and fights alongside an Egyptian kid named Solin. Kaliman practices multiple martial arts and goes to mystical places like Tibet! A true transnational creation generated in Latin America

Title: Mafalda (but of course we couldn’t possibly forget her!)
Country of origin: Argentina
So when was it first published? 1964-1973
Created by: Quino

Credit: Giphy

More of a comic strip rather than a comic book, Mafalda is a young girl who hates soup, loves her family and despairs at the state of the world. Argentina’s answer to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts series is a funny, nostalgic and thought-provoking universe in which childhood’s point of view reveals the idiocy of the adult world. Mafalda is a symbol of pacifism and a true icon of Argentina. 

Title: Love and Rockets
Country of origin: United States
So when was it first published? 1981
Created by:the Hernandez brothers: Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario.

Credit: Love and Rockets / Fantagraphics Books

Perhaps the most daring and iconic comic book to come out of the Latino community in the United States. This universe of interrelated storylines have traits that make it uniquely Latino: some stories take place in the Central American fictional village of Palomar, while others have magical realism elements. The Locas series focuses on Maggie and Hopey, one of the first queer couples in the American comic book tradition. 

Title: Turey El Taíno
Country of origin: Puerto Rico
So when was it first published? 1989
Created by: Ricardo Álvarez-Rivón

Credit: n-14515802384n8gk. Digital image. Ilustra.org

A unique comic book in that it shows how an indigenous community, the Tainos of what is now Puerto Rico, lived before colonization by the Spanish. It shows the cultural richness of the island in pre-Columbus days and brings back indigenous words and tools. A real standout! 

Title: Elpidio Valdés
Country of origin: Cuba
So when was it first published? 1970
Created by: Juan Padrón

Credit: elpidio4(1). Digital image. Cuba Literaria

A true Cuban classic and perhaps the most famous comic book to come out of the island. In a truly nationalistic spirit (some might argue that these comic books are in fact propaganda), the story takes place in the nineteenth-century war of independence that Cubans waged against Spain. Elpidio Valdés is a multiplatform narrative, as there are movies and cartoons about this historical character.

READ: ‘La Borinqueña’ Is The Afro-Latina Superhero The Comic Book World Has Been Missing

Here Are Some Of The Tequila Brands Keeping The Beloved Art Of Creating The Liquor Alive And Well

Culture

Here Are Some Of The Tequila Brands Keeping The Beloved Art Of Creating The Liquor Alive And Well

@doncheposboca / @cazcabeltequila / Instagram

Tequila is perhaps the most iconic drink from Mexico (although mezcal has been making a BIG comeback for a few years now, particularly as part of urban hipster cultures). We recently reported how tech mogul Elon Musk is trying to get his controversial Teslaquila off the ground, and how Breaking Bad actors Bryan Craston and Aaron Paul are considering having their own label. That is all good if they bring money and jobs to the area of Tequila, Jalisco, where the ancient spirit is produced under Denomination of Origin. 

In the meantime, here are a few Mexican-owned tequila brands, some of which are the usual suspects (1800, Corralejo) while others are smaller but exciting brands. 

Sotol Hacienda de Chihuahua (just like tequila, but a bit different)
https://www.vinomex.com.mx/

Credit: sher_castroc/ Instagram

This tequila is housed in a legendary hacienda, as the company, Sotol, states: “The Hacienda Tabalaopa, a family jewel since it’s establishment in 1881, has historically embraced Sotol as the spirit of the region”. This premium spirit, Sotol, is a bit different to tequila as it is elaborated with a wild agavacea variety termed Dasylirion which only grows in the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico. This is an example of how the industry is diversifying, encompassing other regions of Mexico.

Tequila Moderno
https://tequilamoderno.com

Credit: brandsofmexico / Instagram

This beautiful bottle contains a premium tequila developed by a young Mexican entrepreneur. This relatively new brand is socially conscious and has programs to support agave growers in Jalisco. They source their agave azul from small growers, supporting the local farming industry. It has gotten some good reviews and is bound to become a staple of hipster bars worldwide. 

Tequila San Matias
https://www.sanmatias.com/us/products/

Credit: snmatiascristal / Instagram

This casa tequilera is as traditional as it comes: it has been operating since 1886 when it was founded by Don Delfino González. However, its owners have taken good care of the brand’s image, using a contemporary brand design that looks great on any bar shelf. Their crown jewel is the San Matias Cristal, which is clear and pure, distilling the floral notes to the nose and the palette that pure blue agave brings. It is the new face of an old distillery, so it brings together the new and the classic in interesting ways. 

Tequila Pueblo Viejo
https://www.tequilapuebloviejo.com/us/home.html

Credit: puebloviejomx / Instagram

One of the most traditional brands around (we can totally picture Jorge Negrete or Pedro Infante drinking straight from the bottle while delivering a serenata). This tequila is also the brainchild of Don Delfino González, who during the period that preceded the Mexican Revolution found the perfect conditions for growing agave azul and producing tequila in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. The red soil fields here are rich in iron and other minerals, which provides the perfect nourishment for the agave plants. 

Tequila La Malinche
http://tequilalamalinche.com/intro_eng/

Credit: tequilamalinche / Instagram

This tequila is manufactured by Tequilas del Señor, a house that has more than seven decades of expertise. It is named after the indigenous woman, La Malinche, that according to the legend served as a translator for the conquistadores. For those who enjoy a clear taste, La Malinche is a good option. To the nose, it provides intense notes of baked agave with hints of mint and citrus. It is silky in the mouth with pleasant herbal notes and lovely acidity. It is great to drink by itself… perhaps after a few carnitas tacos. 

Tequila Espinoza
http://tequilaespinoza.com/?lang=en

Credit: mecomunicacion / Instagram

Just look at this bottle! It would be envied by the most delicate whiskeys on the planet. The reposado (which basically means “rested”, as it has matured in oak barrels for years) variety has a smokey and deep flavor. This house is owned by Armando Orozco Espinoza, a young tequila master that comes from a long tradition of experts. The mantra of this house: ” passion, tradition, braveness, attitude, maturity, and youth.” Bound to become one of the classics. 

Tequila Don Sueños
http://donsuenos.com/

Credit: doncheposboca / Instagram

These tequilas fall in the super-premium category, so they are bound to be a bit pricey (so please don’t make cheap margaritas with it… go a bit more sophisticated and put together a fancy cocktail). This relatively new brand was years in the making: they hired a tequila master to spot the perfect agave plants to create a distinctive flavor. The family that runs this business has been growing agave for more than four decades. The fields and factory are located in the “Golden Triangle” region in Los Altos (Highlands) of Jalisco. 

Tequila 29 Two Nine
http://www.tequila29.com

Credit: theblogmx / Instagram

A young brand that has gotten some traction in the European market. The reposado variety is a delight: deep, peppery flavors thanks to the eight months it spends in oak barrels. Tequila 29 Two Nine is owned by a family who, according to company communications, wants to disrupt the game.

Tequila Corralejo
https://tequilacorralejo.mx/en

Credit: tequilacorralejo / Instagram

One of the most widely sold tequilas, both in Mexico and overseas. It is manufactured in the Hacienda Corralejo in Guanajuato, which as become a tourist attraction in its own right. As stated by the company, “visitors can satisfy their curiosity and excitement about the processes used to make tequila. The atmosphere is a delight to both sight and smell, as exemplified by casks for aging tequila located in beautiful cellars and filled with a suggestive and captivating aroma that evokes the honey of cooked agave”. Sounds like a perfect holiday to us! 


Tequila El Jefe
https://www.eljefetequila.com/

Credit: eljefetequila / Instagram

This is a luxury craft tequila owned by Mexican-Americans but manufactured the distiller Tequilera Las Juntas in Jalisco. It is made from 100 percent Blue Weber Agave grown in the region of Tequila. It has won multiple international awards. 

Tequila Tromba
http://tequilatromba.com

Credit: tequilatromba / Instagram

A young, hip brand whose slogan is #takelifebystorm. It was created by Marco, a master distiller with over 40 years of experience. He says: “I’m really proud of what I’ve done throughout my career at some of the best brands, but there are always limitations when you work for someone else. Tromba represents everything I think great tequila can be.” Marco is joined by Rodrigo Cedano, a young apprentice who really strives to create a tequila that distinguishes itself from the dozens of options in the market. Guess where the name comes from? “Tromba gets its name from the intense rainstorms of the Jalisco highlands that nourish its famed agave plants. It also represents energy and rejuvenation that fuels the passion and purpose of its founders”. 


Tequila Cazcabel

Credit: cazcabeltequila / Instagram

It takes its name from the famous poisonous rattlesnake. This brand specializes in blends that infuse tequila with flavors such as honey and coffee. It is created in the town of Arandas, in the Jalisco highlands. This brand makes sure that the agave plants are used in a sustainable way, and use every part of the plant in the production process. They have some pretty good ideas for cocktails: http://cazcabel.com/the-drinks/.

READ: Elon Musk’s ‘Teslaquila’ Drink Faces Legal Trouble From Mexican Tequila Industry

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