A Long Petal of the Sea
From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home. A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.
The House on Mango Street
This bestselling coming-of-age classic should live on the bookshelves of all readers across the world. The House on Mango Street tells the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, trying to find her place in all-too-real world that isn’t kind to young girls of color. This compelling book is a quick read, but one you will never forget.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Erika L. Sánchez
When Julia’s sister, Olga, dies after a tragic accident on the streets of Chicago, Julia is left to piece together the mysteries surrounding her death. Though Olga was always considered to be the perfect child, Julia discovers that she, too, had some secrets—ones that would pull apart her Mexican-American family. With the help of her loved ones, Julia is determined to uncover her sister’s story and learn, through her death, what it means to live.
Fruit of the Drunken Tree
Ingrid Rojas Contreras
A new diverse voice in the literary world, Ingrid Rojas Contreras tells a mesmerizing tale in this debut. Set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar’s violent reign and inspired by Ingrid’s own life, this book is told through the alternating perspectives of Chula, a wealthy seven-year-old girl who’s just beginning to realize the world around her, and Petrona, a poverty-stricken young maid working for Chula’s family. The two coming-of-age stories are very different, but linked in a way that’s absolutely breathtaking.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
The King Is Always Above the People
It wasn’t terribly surprising to those who had read Peruvian-American author Daniel Alarcón’s 2017 collection of stories, The King Is Always Above the People, that it was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for fiction. The people featured in this collection bring to light the Latin American experience in a way that is wholly original, empathetic—and daring.
Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Juan Gabriel Vasquez’s 2016 novel, Reputations, showcases the Colombian author once again doing what he does best. Vasquez explores the culture, history, and politics of Colombia through an interesting, relatable protagonist’s eyes, this time with dialed-in political cartoonist Javier Mallarino. As ever, the beauty of Vasquez’s writing doesn’t come at the cost of the pace of the story.
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
“Orchestral and divine, resounding among the trees / like a language full of wars and songs.” To read Pablo Neruda is to fall in love with his work. The Chilean writer is a romantic through and through, and his writing—in this edition partnered with its original Spanish version—will move and inspire you all at once. This is the quintessential Neruda volume to keep on your nightstand.
Before We Were Free
In this YA classic, Julia Alvarez, author of the beloved How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, turns her attention to life in the Dominican Republic under the repressive Trujilo regime. Alvarez draws from her own life in this moving tale of a girl and her mother who are forced into hiding after her father and uncle are arrested for revolutionary activities. Readers will be captivated by the novel’s finely wrought depictions of the everyday and extraordinary challenges of its tween heroine.
The House of the Spirits
Isabel Allende’s debut novel is a contemporary classic. Allende weaves a spellbinding family saga set in an unnamed South American country, reminiscent of her native Chile under the repressive Pinochet regime. This sprawling, yet intimate tale with its masterful combination of both magic realism and journalistic realism, stays with the reader long after she’s closed its pages.
Jorge Luis Borges
There is no better guide to Argentina than its most celebrated writer, Jorge Luis Borges. In this collection of essays, poems, and stories, Borges brings the land of gauchos and tango to life. Be sure to put a copy in your carry-on bag before you head to Buenos Aires.
This Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic people who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. How, you ask? By reading and rereading books by remarkable Hispanic authors and recommending them to everyone we know.
Featured image: @ClicksdeMexico via Twenty20