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7 Books You’re Definitely Gonna Want To Add To Your 2019 Reading List

2018 brought us some amazing new works by Latinx writers, including Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s debut novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Reyna Grande’s memoir A Dream Called Home, and Yesika Salgado’s poetry collections, Corazón and Tesoro. But with everything out there, keeping up with the latest in literature can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss out on worthwhile reads.

Luckily, this guide is here to give you a rundown of some of the Latinx-authored books dropping in 2019 that you’ll want to check out.

Lilliam Rivera, “Dealing in Dreams”

Just before she released her first book, the LA Times called Lilliam Rivera a “Face to Watch,” and boy were they right. The Bronx native began her career as a journalist before writing fiction, and her debut young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez—which was described as “Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx”—received a ton of praise. Her forthcoming book Dealing in Dreams is also a young adult novel. Set in what Rivera calls a “near-future,” the book introduces us to the leader of the girl gang Las Mal Criadas, Nalah, who must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice in the name of a better life. Likened to The Hunger Games and Mad Max: Fury Road, Dealing in Dreams is available in March. Until then, a sneak peek can be found here.

Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “Sabrina and Corina”

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Slightly updated cover with this gorgeous quote from @officialsandracisneros! Cisneros has been my idol since I first read her work in high school. Years later, I read in ‘A House of My Own’ that the great short story writer, Ann Beattie, gave Cisneros one of her earliest blurbs for her story collection ‘Woman Hollering Creek.’ Ann Beattie gave me my first blurb for S&C, too, and I don’t know what this connection means, but I love it and I deeply respect the tradition of women authors supporting other women writers. I am grateful. . . . . . . #sabrinaandcorina #kalifajardoanstine #annbeattie #sandracisneros #shortstories #fiction #bookstagram #instabook #author #writer #denver #colorado #latinx #chicana #gustavorimada #iwrite #book #womenauthors #womensupportingwomen #bookcover #bibliophile #writerslife #weallgrowlatina #latina #latinas

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Fajardo-Anstine’s much-anticipated debut is a short story collection about women we don’t often hear from in literature: Indigenous Latinas from Denver, Colorado. Fajardo-Anstine herself grew up in Denver and explained that this lack of representation was one impetus for her subject matter. These stories of working-class women—from a sex worker to a woman just home from prison—have been hailed by Sandra Cisneros as “stories that blaze like wildfires.” And, in case you need any more reason to check it out, the gorgeous book cover features the work of Mexican-born artist Gustavo Rimada. Sabrina and Corina is available for pre-order and hits shelves on April 2, 2019.

Cherríe Moraga, “Native Country of the Heart”

Writer, educator, and activist Cherríe Moraga is a preeminent voice of queer Latinx feminism. She is perhaps best known for co-editing with Gloria Anzaldúa the foundational text This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (which, if new to you, should be at the top of your reading list). In her new memoir, Native Country of the Heart, Moraga traces her mother’s life in California and Mexico and her eventual memory loss from Alzheimer’s. Moraga connects her own coming-of-age as a Lesbian moving between Mexican and American worlds with her mother’s story in what is described as “a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.” You can find Moraga’s book in April of 2019.

Carmen Maria Machado, “In the Dream House: A Memoir”

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Speaking of memoirs, Carmen Maria Machado, whose 2017 debut short story collection Her Body and Other Parties was a finalist for a number of prestigious awards, will release In The Dream House: A Memoir in the second half of 2019. The publisher’s acquisition announcement describes the book as “An extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir about an abusive same-sex relationship in the author’s past, In the Dream House, sees Machado tackle a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, creating an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.” Machado’s style is known for its blending of genres, including horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and, given its description, her memoir promises to once again push the boundaries of writing.

Elizabeth Acevedo, With the Fire on High

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This has been an emotional ass week and for the first time I saw a copy of WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH. This is the story of Emoni Santiago, a teen mom who wants to be a chef but isn’t sure if following that dream is best for her family. This character arrived to me fully formed and whispering in my ear and on May 7th she will be in the world. To be honest, THE POET X has done so well that I’m scared anything I make after won’t be good enough…but part of being a storyteller and writer is stretching myself to tell new stories and believing in my talent enough not to give into the fear. So, I’m not going to psych myself out of joy and I’m going to trust the instinct that led me to write this in the first place. I can’t wait for you all to read this. ????

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A few years ago, AfroLatinx writer and award-winning slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo commanded our attention with “Hair,” a spoken-word piece in which she embraced the beauty and history of natural hair while fighting against the internalization of white beauty standards.  Last month, Acevedo won the National Book Award for her debut novel The Poet X, about a teenager named Xiomara growing up in Harlem and finding her voice through slam poetry. The prolific artist now brings us With the Fire on High, the story of Emoni Santiago—gifted cook, high school senior, and mother, and provider. Despite the stress of taking care of her daughter and abuela, Emoni realizes she is happiest while cooking, and that she must make some serious sacrifices to pursue her dreams. Catch this book in May.

Melissa Rivero, The Affairs of the Falcóns

The Affairs of the Falcóns is the debut novel of Peruvian-born Melissa Rivero, who grew up undocumented in Brooklyn. The work of fiction is particularly salient in our current climate, given that it tells us the story of the Ana Falcón and her family, who have left Peru in the midst of political upheaval in search of something better in the U.S. However, now undocumented in America and trying to raise her two children, Ana must decide if it’s better to live their lives in survival mode in New York City or return to the country they worked so hard to escape. The book is described as “a beautiful, deeply urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life, and a vivid rendering of the American immigrant experience.” You can find it in April.

Nina Moreno, “Don’t Date Rosa Santos”

Author Nina Moreno describes herself as a “Southern Bruja,” a fitting title given that the protagonist of her first novel, Rosa Santos, is said to be cursed by the sea. If you date Rosa, you’re in trouble. The book takes us along Rosa’s journey as she grapples not only with this supposed curse, but also her family, college, and the two places that are central to her identity: Florida and Cuba. Moreno’s writing style has been called a blend of “Southern fiction and telenovela,” and Don’t Date Rosa Santos sounds like a refreshing dose of drama and romance. The book arrives on shelves in May, making it the perfect beach (or pool) read.


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The Good, the Bad and the Evil: Supernatural and Spooky Works by Latinx Writers

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The Good, the Bad and the Evil: Supernatural and Spooky Works by Latinx Writers

Latinx are hardly strangers to supernatural folklore and magical realism has long been an essential element in some of the most renowned literature hailing from Latin America. That said, it should come as no surprise that the Latinas featured on this list tap into the creepier, darker sides of our cultura to develop their own supernatural page-turners. Imbued with Latinx folklore, inspired by supernatural staples like vampires, or a creepy tale that’s truly one-of-a-kind, the following works are an ode to the macabre and the spooky so read with caution and maybe some sage.

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli is one of Mexico’s most celebrated writers and her book “The Story of my Teeth” is a creepy and strange adventure that tells the life of a man through his dientes. Gustavo Sánchez Sánchez, known as “Highway” is the unreliable narrator auctioning his teeth claiming they belonged to the likes of Plato, Petrarch, and Virginia Woolf. Highway’s journey to sell his teeth becomes an opportunity to share his story, and that includes a magical encounter with malevolent clowns that only adds to the delusions of the narrator. Born in 1983, Luiselli lives in the Bronx and received the National Book Foundation ‘5 under 35’ award.

Learn more about her on our list of acclaimed Mexican writers.

Zoraida Córdova

Ecuadorian writer Zoraida Córdova is known for her “Brooklyn Brujas” series that features reluctant brujas, magic, and even Death herself. The first book in the series, “Labyrinth Lost,” won an International Latino Book Award and has been optioned by Paramount. She’s also published the “The Vicious Deep” trilogy about mermaids not of the Disney persuasion but rather razor-toothed, and has also included mermen, and a Kraken. Córdova is acclaimed for her unique voice in the paranormal genre in YA literature and is currently working on the third book in the Brujas series set for release next year.

Samanta Schweblin

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Cultura. Samanta Schweblin. Es una de las autoras argentinas más exitosas. Sus historias de fantasía y terror cautivan cada día a más lectores. Secretos de su estilo. Para la promoción de la última novela de Samanta Schweblin, “Kentukis”, la editorial que publica sus libros instaló grandes afiches en puntos estratégicos de la ciudad. Por estos días, cualquier transeúnte atento podrá descubrir el bello retrato de la escritora que ilustra la campaña, en estaciones de subte, colectivos y paredes vacías de Buenos Aires. Un despliegue inusual para el alicaído mercado editorial argentino que, más conservador que nunca, sólo apuesta sobre seguro. Y es que, aunque a primera vista la literatura de Schweblin está muy alejada de las fórmulas de los bestsellers habituales, algo en la química de sus textos -fantasía, terror y angustia psicológica combinados con un estilo impecable- funciona cada vez mejor en la Argentina y el mundo. Desde su primer libro de cuentos – “El núcleo del disturbio” (Booket)- hasta hoy, su narrativa ha ganado calidad, consolidándose como una voz muy personal dentro del panorama literario local. La lista de sus reconocimientos ya es muy larga. Por ejemplo, ganó el premio de Narrativa Breve Rivera del Duero en 2015 por su colección de cuentos “Siete casas vacías” (Páginas de espuma). También en 2017 fue seleccionada finalista del Man Booker International Prize por “Distancia de rescate” (Random House), su libro más celebrado, que además le permitió quedarse con el premio Tournament of Books y el Shirley Jackson, un galardón en homenaje a la gran autora de terror norteamericana. Justamente, ahora, Schweblin trabaja en una adaptación al cine de esta novela corta que le ha dado tantas satisfacciones, junto a la directora peruana Claudia Llosa. Nota en completa en Revista Noticias. Foto: Juan Ferrari @juanferrari1618 #revistanoticias #cultura #escritores #samantaschweblin #juanferrari

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Argentine author Samanta Schweblin has received acclaim for her terrifying psychological thriller “Fever Dream”. The ghost story serves as a grotesque page-turner where a dying woman in a clinic in Argentina is interrogated by a child named David about the events that led to her illness. It’s a vivid and surrealist cautionary tale about the dangers of toxins. Schweblin lives in Berlin and has had her work translated into more than 20 languages, the English translation of “Fever Dream” was released in 2017.

Learn more about her on our list of acclaimed Argentine writers.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Award-winning poet and writer Guadalupe Garcia McCall was inspired by her Mexican roots when she developed the young adult novel “The Summer of Mariposas”. The book tells the story of Odilla and her four sisters who find a dead body and set out on a journey to return him to his family in Mexico. Their return to Texas is filled with supernatural elements including La Llorona herself, a bruja, a coven of half-human barn owls and even chupacabras. The novel is a celebration of sisterhood and has been described as the Mexican-American interpretation of the “The Odyssey”. McCall was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila and resides in San Antonio where she works as a high school English teacher.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Martin Dee, 2017

Mexican-Canadian novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia is known for science fictions works for which she has won numerous accolades including the World Fantasy Award. From sorcery in Mexico City (“Signal to Noise”) to narco-vampires in Mexico City in “Certain Dark Things”, Moreno-Garcia books showcase a dark and other-worldly side of Mexico filled with magical elements and imaginative prose. She is the publisher of Innsmouth Free Press and also co-edits The Jewish Mexican Literary Review and the horror magazine The Dark.

Kathleen Alcalá

Kathleen Alcalá’s debut book “Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist” was critically acclaimed and awarded the King County Publication Award in 1992. The Mexican-American writer published the collection of 14 stories set in the Southwest and Mexico and infused with magical realism. Her debut novel “Spirits of the Ordinary” weaves together folklore and fantasy through the story a Jewish family in Mexico made up of an alchemist, a clairvoyant and a gold-obsessed and rebellious son. Magical realism once again plays a part in her writing, reminiscent of Isabel Allende’s iconic book “The House of Spirits.” Alcalá lives in Washington and teaches creative writing.

Yvonne Navarro

True horror fiction fans will delight in Yvonne Navarro’s 1993 debut novel “Afterage”, a finalist for the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. The story takes place in downtown Chicago after a vampire uprising that destroyed the human race and what remains of them is now reserved as food for the undead. A team of mortal guerrillas unites to set the captives free using what knowledge they have to defeat the vampires. Navarro is lzo known for contributing to the “Buffyverse” having written seven novels inspired by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

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10 Latina Poets Whose Collections Should Be On Your To-Read List

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10 Latina Poets Whose Collections Should Be On Your To-Read List

Poetry collections are having a wonderful moment right now and we’re hopeful that it will continue to bloom as more poets of color are working to get their work out into world through small presses and even self-publishing.

Many Latina poets start sharing their work across mediums such as Instagram, through the slam poetry scene and through their own poetry collectives. Recently, several talented Latinas have released collections of their work that are just the words we need right now.

Here are 10 Latina poets with collections to add to your to-read list!

1. Tesoro by Yesika Salgado

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The poet’s second collection of poetry is available November 1st from Not A Cult Press. If you are a fan of Salgado’s work from her slam poetry performed with her troupe, Chingona Fire, to her first collection, Corazon, you will want to grab this book and not put did down until its finished. If you are new to her work, follow Salgado on Instagram, and then order her book. Her poems about love, both romantic and her journey to self-love, will make you sigh, cry, yell and want to give yourself some much needed compassion.

2. Beast Meridian by Vanessa Angelica Villareal

Credit: Goodreads

This poet’s debut book out from Noemi Press has received wonderful buzz for its unique poetic narration that explores generational familial and cultural trauma, and imagines paths towards healing and reconciliation. This collection has been on several “best of” lists and is widely praised as a raw navigation of the violences that women, especially Latina women endure, and must face in order to reclaim the self.

3. The Carrying by Ada Limón

Credit: Goodreads

If you aren’t already reading Ada Limón’s work, you have some work to do! The Carrying, Limón’s fourth collection of poetry, has already set the bar high for poetry this year, depicting emotionally acute struggles that readers are not often exposed to-ruminations on chronic illness, infertility, and aging. In each of her collections, Limón is unafraid to be vulnerable with her readers, and with herself.

4. Lima :: Limón by Natalie Scenters-Zapico

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This book is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2019 and promising to be a must-read. As a Canto Mundo fellow, Scenters-Zapico has been a part of the Latinx poetry community for some time and her work reflects on life as a woman in the borderlands, illustrating the toxic masculinity that expects women to endure suffering in silence. Her work incorporates traditional corridos and music from her childhood to challenge borderland injustices and violence against women that is a part of the way immigrants are treated. This book will prove to be a force to be reckoned with.

5. Night Blooming Jasmin(n)e by Jasminne Mendez

Credit: Goodreads

Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e is a wonderful hybrid collection of essays and poems from Dominican American poet Jasmine Mendez. In this collection, the poet explores her ongoing struggles with chronic illness and infertility. This poetic memoir tells her story and navigates the way that women of color are frequently dismissed by the medical community. This masterful hybrid work shares inconvenient truths about Mendez’ diagnoses, falling in love, irreparable changes to her body and finding power in telling her truth, though it may not always be hopeful. Out now from Arte Público Press, you can pick up your copy at local bookstores, and find Mendez on her poetry tour!

6. Lessons on Expulsion by Erika L. Sanchez

Credit: Amazon

Though her wonderful new YA Novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is getting a lot of (rightful) attention, Erika L. Sanchez’s debut poetry collection will floor you. Her poems navigate the borders between countries, culture, the dead and the new possibilities of the living. The images that Sanchez uses will haunt you, like this line from “La Cueva: “Briefly, we see they’ve learned to wipe the smeared mirrors inside them.”

7. Virgin by Analicia Sotelo

Credit: Goodreads

Analicia Sotelo’s debut collection explores the poetics surrounding the minds of women and the ways in which we subvert the expected narratives of naivete and complicity. This collection incorporates autobiographic elements with storytelling that speaks to a wider feminine voice that is both mythic and relateable to those who have needed a voice as careful, as vulnerable, and as potent as Sotelo’s.

8. Nightbloom and Cenote by Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Credit: Goodreads

Schwartz’s second collection of poetry speaks to the themes that many of the other collections on this do: the legacy of abuse for young Latina women across familial generations and their resilience to survive and to heal. In one poem of this collection, the poet speaks to the resilience of living beings despite the labels imposed on them: “Call all thriving things illegal: /  The magnolia tree, its roots, / That vast network of veins that feeds itself / And others like it in dry soil, / Pushes space through concrete sidewalks / To breathe … Every tough, gnarled thing holding / Its own life in a fist of vitality is illegal.” This collection can be found from Saint Julian Press.

9. Muted Blood by Monica Teresa Ortiz

Credit: Black Radish Books Site

This debut collection from Tejana poet Monica Teresa Ortiz explores the intersections of queerness, ethnicity and language and how they are policed in spaces that seek to silence these voices. Told in a triptych, or three-part structure, navigates a decidedly Texan landscape while also nodding to Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, creating a conversation around fluid ideas of gender and culture and the ways that we connect across our stories.

lo terciario/the tertiary by Raquel Salas Rivera

Credit: Goodreads

Raquel Salas Rivera the 2018-2019 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. A widely published poet with several chapbooks and full length collections, their work is bilingual and speaks to decolonizing the queer Puerto Rican experience in the face of a growing debt crisis and the ongoing colonial control of the US over the territory. This poet’s prolific work has made them someone to follow and to read as someone who challenges what poetry can be.


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