Hola Amigos! Adult Reads for National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

The U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.1 million in 2020, up from 50.5 million in 2010, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.   In 2020, Hispanics made up nearly one-in-five people in the U.S. (19%), up from 16% in 2010 and just 5% in 1970.  What’s more, between 2010 and 2020, a little over half of the U.S. population growth stemmed from the increase in the Hispanic or Latino population.

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 America 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. 

In celebration of their special histories, cultures and contributions here are some adult fiction titles by Hispanic authors and/or about Hispanic characters, as well as memoirs,  all available with your Livingston Public Library card.

A Ballad Of Love And Glory : A Novel by Reyna Grande

An epic historical romance about a Mexican woman and an Irish-American soldier who fall in love in the thick of the Mexican-American War.

Crying In The Bathroom : A Memoir by  Erika L. Sánchez

An accomplished poet and novelist, Sánchez expands her oeuvre with this refreshingly candid memoir. Sánchez spares no detail in relating her life experiences, from the gang-run Chicago streets of her youth to her difficult years as an angsty goth teen, early dating life, marriage, divorce, professional success, and motherhood. 

The Daughter Of Doctor Moreau : A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The masterly author of Mexican Gothic retells the story of Doctor Moreau from the perspective of his daughter, Carlota, who grows up on a grand estate on the Yucatán peninsula as her father conducts experiments funded by the wealthy Lizaldes. The estate also serves as home to Montgomery Laughton, Doctor Moreau’s hard-drinking assistant, and the many part-human, part-animal hybrids that result from the doctor’s creepy experiments. The arrival of a Lizalde son disrupts everything.

Eat The Mouth That Feeds You by Carribean Fragoza

This stunningly original collection of stories illuminates a spectrum of Latinx, Chicanx, and immigrant women’s voices. In confrontations with fraught matrilineal lines, absent or abusive fathers, and the effects of historical violence, these women and girls navigate a male-dominated world where they rely on a resilient mujer network to get them through sometimes supernatural obstacles.

The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade

From an award-winning storyteller comes a stunning debut novel about a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of love and sacrifice. It’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans. Their reunion sets her own life down a startling path.

Flamin’ Hot : The Incredible True Story Of One Man’s Rise From Janitor To Top Executive by Richard P. Montanez

Montañez was working as a janitor for Frito Lay when the possibility of losing hours or maybe even his job drove him to action. Using Cheetos that were set to be discarded, Montañez experimented with his wife Judy’s chili sauce to give the crunchy snack a kick. When he perfected his recipe, he reached out to Frito Lay CEO,Roger Enrico, presented what he’d made, and the rest is history. Montañez’s journey to eventually becoming vice president at Pepsi involved learning the ins and outs of the company and being a problem solver.

The Girls In Queens : A Novel by  Christine Kandic Torres

 Two Latinx girls growing up close in Queens, NY, Brisma and Kelly are entering high school when shy Brisma becomes involved with local baseball legend Brian, creating a disruptive triangle that is eventually upended. Years later, the three reunite, but while Kelly sticks up for Brian when he is accused of sexual assault, Brisma looks back uncomfortably at problems in their relationship. 

The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, dark secrets, and the woman pulled into their clutches.

High-Risk Homosexual : A Memoir by Edgar Gomez

A debut memoir about coming of age as a gay, Latinx man in a culture of machismo.  The story opens in the ultimate anti-gay space: his uncle’s cockfighting ring in Nicaragua, where he was sent at twelve years old to become a man, and then moves through the queer spaces where he learned the joy of being gay and Latinx, including Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a drag queen convention in Los Angeles, and the doctor’s office where he was diagnosed a “high-risk homosexual.” 

In The Shadow Of The Mountain : A Memoir Of Courage by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

In 2016, Vasquez-Lavado earned the distinction of becoming the first Peruvian woman to stand atop Mount Everest and, in 2018, the first openly gay woman to complete the Seven Summits—the highest mountains on seven continents. A gifted writer, Vasquez-Lavado immediately draws readers into the account of her Everest expedition, but this is not a typical mountaineering tale focusing on harrowing hardships while ascending the infamous summit. Her intimate debut memoir also chronicles another kind of survival journey, one that includes years of sexual abuse by a family friend in Lima and her eventual escape to the U.S., thanks to a college scholarship. 

Jawbone by Moncia Ojeda (translated by Sarah Booker)

Edgar Allan Poe meets a few of the mean girls. A Catholic girls’ high school for the daughters of elite Ecuadorians provides the seemingly innocuous setting for Ojeda’s meta treatment of the creepypasta phenomenon. An extensive translator’s note helps place the creepypasta genre in context in the literary landscape of terror, horror, and suspense and explains the stylistic language choices favored by Ojeda.

The Man Who Could Move Clouds : A Memoir by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Contreras writes a spellbinding memoir that brings her extended family’s ancestral magic into the present day. At the center is her grandfather, Nono, a Colombian curandero. Contreras adroitly deepens her fascinating family stories by placing them within resonant historical, cultural, and linguistic contexts.

My Broken Language : A Memoir by  Quiara Alegría Hudes

With this riveting memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Hudes tells the story of attempting to find the language that best fits her, along with the languages (English and Spanish) she heard throughout her childhood. Beginning with the distant memory of her parents’ split, Hudes evocatively recalls life traveling between her abuela’s North Philly kitchen, her mother’s West Philly home, and her father’s farm in a homogenous Main Line suburb. Recollections of her mother’s and grandmother’s upbringings in Puerto Rico are rich with detail, as are depictions of aunts, uncles, and cousins who find their way in and around Philadelphia. 

Olga Dies Dreaming by  Xochitl Gonzalez

Warmhearted but tough-minded story of a sister and brother grappling with identity, family, and life goals in gentrifying Brooklyn. Olga and Prieto Acevedo grew up in Sunset Park, in one of the first Puerto Rican families to move into a then-White working-class neighborhood. Now Olga lives in a Fort Greene high-rise and is a very high-end wedding planner. Prieto is back in the family house with his grandmother after a divorce; he’s a congressman fighting for his district– Vivid portraits of various friends and relatives capture the richness of Nuyorican culture, and sharp-eyed observations of the Brooklyn social and political landscape underpin a busy plot.

Post-Traumatic : A Novel by Chantal V. Johnson

A dedicated lawyer who advocates for mentally ill patients, Vivian, contending with the memories and aftereffects of her own bad childhood, makes a bold move during a family reunion that leaves her alone in new and terrifying ways, causing her to unravel.

The Town Of Babylon : A Novel by Alejandro Varela

When his father falls ill, Andrés, a professor of public health, returns to his suburban hometown to tend to his father’s recovery. Reevaluating his rocky marriage in the wake of his husband’s infidelity and with little else to do, he decides to attend his twenty-year high school reunion, where he runs into the long-lost characters of his youth.

Trejo : My Life Of Crime, Redemption, And Hollywood by Danny Trejo

For the first time, the full, fascinating, and inspirational true story of Danny Trejo’s journey from crime, prison, addiction, and loss to unexpected fame as Hollywood’s favorite bad guy with a heart of gold.

Trust by Hernan Diaz

A stylish and propulsive novel rooted in early 20th century New York, about wealth and talent, trust and intimacy, truth and perception. Pulitzer Prize finalist Diaz returns with a multilayered novel that pieces together a searing portrait of a New York financial elite during the period through four discrete documents. 

Violeta : A Novel by Isabel Allende

This sweeping novel tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

West Side Love Story by Priscilla Oliveras

Romeo and Juliet gets a fresh retelling through two rival San Antonio families and their dueling mariachi bands. Oliveras paints with lush prose a lively mariachi scene and the community of the Capuletas’ and Monteros’ San Antonio. 

When Women Kill : Four Crimes Retold by Alia Trabucco Zerán

This book analyzes four homicides carried out by Chilean women over the course of the twentieth century. Drawing on her training as a lawyer, Alia Trabucco Zerán offers a nuanced close reading of their lives and crimes, foregoing sensationalism in favor of dissecting how all four were perpetrators of grievous violent acts at the same time as being victims of another, more insidious kind of violence. 

Woman Of Light : A Novel by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

A sprawling novel that follows five generations of a family of Mexican and Indigenous descent who live throughout the region now known as New Mexico and Colorado.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

2 Replies to “Hola Amigos! Adult Reads for National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022”

    1. Hi Cindy, While we do not offer a Spanish class in-person at the Library, we do offer access to the language learning platforms Mango, Rosetta Stone, and Little Pim, available with your Livingston Library card! -Jessica, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions

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