10 books by Latin authors you should read, according to Sandra Cisneros


Sandra Cisneros is as well known for her writing as she is for her love of reading.


©Keith Dannemiller

“Everyone needs to know each other before they can be in any type of relationship, but most importantly a writer needs to read to write,” she said.

In a conversation with The Independentthe author of House on Mango Streetwho must speak during the Santa Fe Literary Festival, shared some of his recent readings. Cisneros will appear at the festival, to be held later this month, alongside American poet Joy Harjo. The duo join a line up that includes other award-winning authors such as George RR Martin, John Grisham, Margaret Atwood, Asma Khanand Jonn Krakauer.

Here is the list, in no particular order:

The Consequences: StoriesManuel Munoz

Located in the Central Valley of California, The Consequences: Stories is Manuel Muñoz’s first book in a decade. Munoz, author of what you see in the dark and Zigzagger: Stories (Latino Voice)tells the story of various characters from Southern California and Texas.

“I envy that I didn’t write these stories myself,” Cisneros says kindly. “He really just did his highest work, his most brilliant work of genius. And I am in awe.

The book is due out in October 2022.

Cry in the bathroomErika L. Sanchez

Move over, Sydney Sweeney, there’s a new crying queen in the bathroom.

In his collection of essays, Cry in the bathroom, Erika Sánchez, recounts the experience of being the daughter of Mexican immigrants while being everything a daughter of Mexican immigrants shouldn’t be: a crude, melancholic scum, in Sánchez’s own words. The result is a funny, raw window into the author’s life that is sure to be as relevant as it is funny.

“It’s a great book to talk about issues we don’t talk about,” says Sandra.

Not “a nation of immigrants”: settler colonialism, white supremacy and a history of erasure and exclusionRoxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

“I don’t usually read a book like this, but I liked it A History of the Native Peoples of the United StatesCisneros said, referring to Roxanne Dubar-Ortiz’s previous book.

In Not a nation of immigrantsDunbar-Ortiz works to debunk the myth that the United States was, as they say, “proudly founded by and for immigrants,” and shines a light on the more complicated and often ruthless history of immigration to the states. -United.

“I really want everyone to read it,” Cisneros said.

​​Hurricane SeasonFernanda Melchor

Named New York Public Library Best Books of 2020, Fernanda Melchor hurricane season tells the story of a Mexican village in which the witch of La Matosa was murdered and her body found by the town children. What unfolds is a mythical and violent story told by unreliable narrators trying to find out who killed the witch and why.

Cisneros, who read the Spanish and English editions at the same time, suggests bilingual readers do the same.

Dragonfly. Toad. Moon.Mary Jane White

“She has an amazing story,” Cisneros said of her ex-classmate and author of Dragonfly. Toad. Moon., Mary Jane White. “She was a single mother raising her child and they told her he was never going to develop speech…and he just finished his degree in robotics.”

In the poetry book, White tells the story of her and her son, who has autism and was told he would never be able to speak. She now plans to turn her story and that of her son into memoirs.

“I can’t wait for her to write the whole story,” Cisneros said.

Juliet breathesGaby Rivera

“This one is aimed at younger audiences,” Cisneros said.

In Juliet Takes a Breath, Gabby Rivera tells the story of Juliet Milagros Palante, after coming out to her family the day before an important trip. Juliet travels to Oregon where she begins a journey of self-discovery after arriving to study under the mentorship of a well-known feminist writer.

If that’s not enough to pique your interest, Roxane Gay’s reviewin which she used the phrase “outstanding f–king” to describe the book, may convince you.

The Nine Guardians: A NovelRosario Castellanos

In The Nine Guardians: A NovelRosario Castellanos writes primarily from the perspective of a seven-year-old girl as she watches her landowner, wealthy parents go about their business while cared for by Nana, their Indian nurturing servant, in the midst of the revolution. mexican.

“If you can read it in Spanish, so much the better,” Cisneros points out.

GordeJaime Cortez

Similar to The Consequences: Stories, Gorde by Jaime Cortez talks about farm workers and members of the farm worker community.

In his first-ever short story book, Cortez follows the life of Gordo, an immigrant child growing up in a migrant worker camp near Watsonville, California in the 1970s. We follow Gordo as he comes to terms with reality. of immigrant life and the macho attitudes of his alcoholic father throughout his life.

NPR’s Michael Schaub called the book “An unforgettable portrait of the working-class Mexican Americans who lived there in the 1970s.”

The distance between us: a memoirqueen great

For the 10th anniversary of Reyna Grande’s The distance between us: a memoir, which is slated for release later this year, Cisneros was able to write the intro. However, the author has spoken in the past about his love of the book and his admiration for Grande as a writer.

“I’ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, but how many times has the story been told by the immigrant herself? This what makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that through this heroine’s journey, she speaks on behalf of millions of immigrants whose voices have not been heard,” Cisneros said at the time the book came out in 2013.

Wild languages ​​cannot be tamed: 15 voices from the Latin diasporaSaraciea J. Fennell

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora, is an anthology edited by Saraciea J. Fennel, the founder of The Bronx readsan online bookstore that aims to “promote literacy and foster a love of reading in children, teens and adults”.

In the book, 15 different Latin writers share their experience of their experience in the Latino diaspora.

“I only know two [the 15 writers] and a whole bunch of these writers, I don’t know,” Cisneros said. “And I thought, ‘Wow, I’m so glad there are so many. “”

The first Santa Fe Literary Festival will take place May 20-23, 2022. The four-day event aims to explore issues in a time of extraordinary change – in politics, race, immigration, environment, etc The Independent, as the event’s international media partner, will cover every day of the festival as well as during the build-up with exclusive interviews with some of the lead writers. To learn more about the festival, visit our Santa Fe Literary Festival Chapter or visit the the festival website here. For more information on purchasing tickets Click here.

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