Reads for National Hispanic Heritage Month

The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2019, numbers 60.6 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constitute 18.5% of the nation’s total population, as per the U.S. Census Bureau.

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.  September 15 is a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Join us in celebration of their special histories, cultures and contributions by cracking open one of the fiction titles below by Hispanic authors, all available with your Livingston Public Library card.

It is also a great time to highlight the Spanish language magazines available through RBDigital.

index (14)The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

When fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera sustains a terrible injury, the Riveras leave behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risk everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved. This is a stunning novel of hopes and dreams, guilt and love

index (13)Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

In defiance of the brutal military government that took power in Uruguay in the 1970s, and under which homosexuality is a dangerous transgression, five women miraculously find one another—and, together, an isolated cape that they claim as their own. Over the next thirty-five years, they travel back and forth from this secret sanctuary. A groundbreaking, genre-defining work, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit.

index (12)Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, here are eight emotionally absorbing stories, rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity. At once wide in scope and intimate, they explore with quiet power and elegance the forces that pull us together or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.

index (11)Fruit of the Drunken Tree: a novel by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

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.

index (10)The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This coming-of-age classic tells the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, trying to find her place in an all-too-real world that isn’t kind to young girls of color. 

 

 

index (9)The King is Always Above the People: stories by Daniel Alarcon

A slyly political collection of stories about immigration, broken dreams, Los Angeles gang members, Latin American families, and other tales of high stakes journeys by a Peruvian American author, 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.

index (8)A Long Petal of the Sea: a novel by Isabel Allende

Translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson, 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.

 

index (7)Lost Children Archive: a novel by Valeria Luiselli

A fiercely imaginative novel about a family’s summer road trip across America–a journey that, with breathtaking imagery, spare lyricism, and profound humanity, probes the nature of justice and equality in America today.  Told through the voices of the mother and her son, as well as through a stunning tapestry of collected texts and images–including prior stories of migration and displacement–this is a story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most.

index (6)Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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. Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman.

index (5)Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.  Step into the isolated mansion with Noemí who arrives to save her cousin after receiving a frantic letter. This brave and glamorous socialite-turned-detective takes us on her journey to uncover the treacherous secrets that live between the walls, without knowing exactly who to trust. 

index (4)The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by Machado de Assis

A revelatory new translation of the playful, incomparable masterpiece of one of the greatest black authors in the Americas. The mixed-race grandson of ex-slaves, Assis is not only Brazil’s most celebrated writer but also a writer of world stature, who has been championed by the likes of Philip Roth, Susan Sontag, Allen Ginsburg, John Updike, and Salman Rushdie. In his masterpiece, the 1881 novel The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas (translated also as Epitaph of a Small Winner), the ghost of a decadent and disagreeable aristocrat decides to write his memoir. He dedicates it to the worms gnawing at his corpse and, in 160 brief chapters, tells of his failed romances and halfhearted political ambitions, serves up harebrained philosophies, and complains with gusto from the depths of his grave. Wildly imaginative, wickedly witty, and utterly unforgettable, it is a novel ahead of its time

index (3)Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean, this is a brilliant novel about the power of politics and personal memory from one of South America’s literary stars.  Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country’s most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges’ decisions, destroying politicians’ careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage.

After four decades of a brilliant career, he’s at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he’s paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world.

index (2)Sabrina & Corina: stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.

 

index (1)Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda by Pablo Neruda

Originally composed on napkins, playbills, receipts, and notebooks, Neruda’s lost poems are full of eros and heartache, complex wordplay and deep wonder. Translated by Forrest Gander and presented with the Spanish text, full-color reproductions of handwritten poems, and dynamic English translations, this volume simultaneously completes and advances the oeuvre of the world’s most beloved poet.

indexThe Undocumented Americans: A Homecoming by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian 

L-Town Radio: Episode 6

In this extra-spooky episode of L-Town Radio, Joe tells a tale of witchcraft from Livingston lore; the crew shares their favorite scary stories; Archana discusses forthcoming programs about the paranormal, Alfred Hitchcock, and personal health; Jessica shares her thoughts on Midnight Sun, and talks about “American Icons;” Katie offers a list of some highly-anticipated books coming out in October; Janea walks us through some of the video tutorials on our website. 

You can listen to the episode (and subscribe to the podcast series) on SoundCloudSpotifyApple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts — or, you can stream it below.