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Culture

15 Latinx Summer Reads to Beat the Boredom

It looks like we’re heading for more time at home during coronavirus, no matter how many states are reopening the economy. The safest place to be for now is en casa, which means that you’ll need some great entertainment to keep you busy during the summer months.

The season is also the time for diving into a fabulous book, so naturally we are already lining up our favorite summer reads. These 15 selections we discovered are by Latinx authors, and revolve around Latinx themes, making your upcoming June, July, and August reading that much more special.

Clap When You Land, Elizabeth Acevedo

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Y’ALL BETTER GO AHEAD AND SHOW UP & SHOW OUT. When my tours were canceled in March, I felt in my gut this book wasn’t going to have a chance of finding its way widely to readers. It felt like there were a million things to prioritize and who would be able to focus on books? But clearly I was tripping, because every step of the way folks have stepped up to blog, post pictures, interview, Goodreads, review, Tweet, Zoom, and love the shit out of this novel. Clearly I forgot that stories balm an ache inside the writer & the reader. Clearly I forgot that folks who dig my work would hold this book down. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m lucky to come from mentors (specifically at @brosis512) who taught me the principal of Ubuntu: “I am because you are.” Nothing that I ever do is in isolation. Including my wins. And I thank you for that. #ClapWhenYouLand

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We instantly want to know about any new books Elizabeth Acevedo has written. Her latest is Clap When You Land, a novel-in-verse that focuses on two Dominican girls–Camino, and Yahira Rios–whose lives are totally changed when their father dies in a plane crash. It’s through this tragedy that the two are able to connect after years of secrets.

Available at harpercollins.com, $11.99

The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care, by Anna Borges

If there is a time to read, and learn, about proper self-care it’s now. We need to take the extra time we are given to make sure we are healthy and happy mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Thankfully, there are a slew of helpful books on self-care, including Anna Borges’ The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care. In it, Borges separates things that will add to our life into a handy A-to-Z list.

Available at amazon.com, $10.77

Untamed Shore, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Next on our list of essential summer reads is Untamed Shore, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The suspense novel takes us back to 1979, in Baja California, where we meet 18-year-old Viridiana. Bored with her beachside existence, Viridiana gets the excitement she seeks when three rich American tourists arrive at Baja for the summer. When one ends up dead, everything goes from summer fun to spinning out of control.

Available at amazon.com, $25.99

Subduction, by Kristen Millares Young

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It is a pleasure to speak freely in the company of women. On the @fiercewomxnwriting podcast, I read from SUBDUCTION and share a prompt with host Sara Gallagher. If you’re ever stuck on a scene, try writing from the perspective of a character who is not your protagonist. I’ve found that this practice unlocks deep truths about motivation. It’s also useful to switch from third person (useful for its omniscience), to first (in which voice comes to the fore), or even second (which builds immediacy). What you produce may not be included in your final draft, but you’ll know more about how they think about what they do. That will allow you to harness the subtext to show the “ways that conversation pivots around what is unsaid.” Please listen to the #podcast, where I shout out to @elissawashuta & @elizrosner & @weikewang for their glimmering examinations of intergenerational trauma, via the link in my bio. #writingprompt #fiercewomxnwriting #latinxlit #debutnovel #elision #revision #redhenpress #authors #literaryfiction #authorsofig #literarypodcast

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Subduction topped the New Release in Hispanic American Literature Amazon Kindle chart, so you know it’s a good read for summer.  Kristen Millares Young’s book follows Claudia, a Latina anthropologist who escapes drama at home for Neah Bay, part of the Makah Reservation in Washington. Her life changes when she meets Peter, who is back at the reservation to help his mother, as well as to find answers about his father’s murder.

Available at amazon.com, $16.95

Getting lost in some wonderful poetry is a great idea for summer. You can read some of the best Latinx poetry on Latinidad in the book LatiNext, which is edited by Felicia Chavez, José Olivarez, and Willie Perdomo.

Available at haymarketbook.org, $9.98

The Worst Best Man, by Mia Sosa

Would it be summer reading without some fab chic lit? Mia Sosa brings the romance in her latest book, the rom-com The Worst Best Man. In it, Carolina Santos is a wedding planner who is left at the altar. She learns that she has to do a work presentation that can lead to major success–with Max, who is the brother of her ex-fiance, and the one who convinced him to not go through with the wedding.

Available at target.com, $12.62

Buddha Takes the Mound: Enlightenment in 9 Innings, by Donald Lopez Ph.D.

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This one's for all our baseball fans out there! We wish we could be out on the field, but while we stay inside, we're satisfying our baseball-loving hearts—and minds— with BUDDHA TAKES THE MOUND, which officially comes out tomorrow! Buddhist scholar and award-winning author Donald Lopez, Ph.D. has written at once a love letter to the sport and an engaging introduction to Buddhism. He believes that Buddhism provides a lens for us to see baseball in a new way, a way that makes us love the game even more, a way that makes us ponder profound questions about winning and losing, about who we are, about finitude and infinitude, about birth and death. #stmartinsessentials #stmartinspress #buddhatakesthemound #mentalhealthmonth #selfcare #mentalhealthawareness #selfhelp #mindfulliving #bookstagram #bookworm #booklover #nonfiction #bookstoliveby #bookstoread #goodreads #bookish #booksaremagic #readingtime #reading #baseballbooks #baseball #baseballreads #sportsbooks

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There is life advice everywhere if you only take the time to look. Donald Lopez took the sport of baseball and found in it a deeper level that will make you love it more, one that explores “winning and losing, about who we are, about finitude and infinitude, about birth and death.”

Available at amazon.com, $19.99

A Taste of Sage, by Yaffa S. Santos

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Happy Pub day to A Taste of Sage by @yaffasantos.author 💛🍽🌿 This is a fun and meaningful read that’s great for those foodies out there who love tantalizing descriptions and recipes thrown in every couple chapters, along with a will they/won’t they love story! • The Taste of Sage follows chef Lumi Santana after her eclectic and Dominican inspired restaurant closes, she is forced to look for work elsewhere and ends up at a traditional French restaurant with a hard-headed but attractive new boss. The two chefs are constantly butting heads but also can’t deny the strong spark between them. Lumi also has the gift of synesthesia where she can perceive a person's emotions just by tasting their cooking. • I’m currently about halfway through this book and am really looking forward to seeing the love story play out along with finding more about Lumi’s strained past with her mother. Books about food are some of my favorites because they always have the best mouthwatering descriptions! I also love the added touch of recipes and I really want to make the avocado salad. • Thank you to @harperperennial for gifting me this copy. 💛 #oliveinfluencer 💛 || #atasteofsage #harperperennial #newbook #fiction #cooking #newread #reading #bookish #booklover #bookworm #booksofinstagram #booksoninstagram #bookstagram #bibliophile #carpelibrum #bookfeaturepage #igreads #readersofinstagram #bookishlife #readingbooks #ilovebooks #booksharks

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In A Taste of Sage, Lumi Santana is a Dominican chef who has to close her restaurant and decides to work for Julien Dax, a chef at a traditional French restaurant. The two do not get along. Lumi also has the gift of synesthesia; in her case she can feel the emotion of a person by tasting their food. When she finally decides to try chef Julien’s food, everything changes.

Available at harpercollins.com, $15.99

Afterlife, by Julia Alvarez

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In “Afterlife,” Alvarez probes the contours of private moral decisions that echo our national conversation, which excludes migrant communities from claiming their contributions to this country…it would be easy for Alvarez to create a wholly sympathetic narrator who does the right thing without question, even if most readers wouldn’t — or at least, haven’t yet. Instead, Alvarez puts Antonia through the paces of wrestling with the obligations of her privilege, gained through myriad assimilations that include marrying a doctor and moving to rural Vermont, where she “ended up teaching Americans their own language.” My latest @washingtonpost book review finds @writerjalvarez returning to themes that launched her debut “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” into the canon. It’s an honor to reflect on the lifelong literary contributions of a Latinx powerhouse. #juliaalvarez #afterlife #dominicana #novelist #latinxlit #bookreview #bookstagram #novel #cuban #bookreviewer #thewashingtonpost #bookworld I ❤️ my #freelance @WashPostLife. 🗞📖🌌 Link in bio.

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Julia Alvarez is another Latinx author who, when she drops a new book, everyone pays attention. Her latest work is Afterlife, in which retired college English Professor Antonia Vega loses her husband. After that, her sister disappears, and then she finds an undocumented, pregnant teen on her doorstep. In Afterlife, Antonia learns how to live this new version of what she once knew.

Available at barnesandnoble.com, $23.95

The Happy Ever After Playlist, by Abby Jimenez

The Happy Ever After Playlist is a book by Abby Jimenez that you should also add to your summer reading list. It follows Sloan Monroe, who is putting her life back together after losing her fiance. When she takes home a stray puppy, she has no idea it will change her life. It turns out Tucker belongs to musician Jason, and of course, a romance between Abby and Jason ensues.

Available at target.com, $12.79

Postcolonial Love Poem, by Natalie Diaz

Another poetry book you have to add to your online cart is Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem. In it, she tackles love and life through an Indigenous and Latinx filter. It is described as “an anthem of desire against erasure.”

Available at amazon.com, $10.99

With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero, by Margarita Engle

This cool book by Margarita Engle tells the story of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario, who started the Modernismo movement, in the novel-in-verse form. It’s beautiful as it’s poetry telling the story of poetry, by one poet to another.

Available at amazon.com, $12.79

Flying Free: My Victory Over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team, by Cecilia Rodriguez Aragon

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COVER REVEAL [email protected] Flying Free is the story of how Cecilia Aragon broke free from expectations and rose above her own limits by combining math and logic with her passion for flying in unexpected ways. You don’t have to be a math whiz or a science geek to learn from her story. You just have to want to soar. . . . Flying Free My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team by @ceciliararagon . . . The daughter of a Chilean father and a Filipina mother, Cecilia Rodriguez Aragon grew up as a shy, timid child in a small midwestern town during the 1960s. Targeted by school bullies and dismissed by many of her teachers, she worried that people would find out the truth: that she was INTF. Incompetent. Nerd. Terrified. Failure. This feeling stayed with her well into her twenties when she was told that “girls can’t do science” or “women just don’t know how to handle machines.” Yet in the span of just six years, Cecilia became the first Latina pilot to secure a place on the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Team and earn the right to represent her country at the Olympics of aviation, the World Aerobatic Championships. How did she do it? Using mathematical techniques to overcome her fear, Cecilia performed at air shows in front of millions of people. She jumped out of airplanes and taught others how to fly. She learned how to fund-raise and earn money to compete at the world level. She worked as a test pilot and contributed to the design of experimental airplanes, crafting curves of metal and fabric that shaped air to lift inanimate objects high above the earth. And best of all, she surprised everyone by overcoming the prejudices people held about her because of her race and her gender. . . . Cover design by @alenkadesign #flyingfree #aerobatic #aerobaticteam #latina #pilot #airshow #math #airplanes #race #journey #autobiography #victory #coverreveal #bookstagram #bookstoread #booknerd #bookclub #beautifulbooks #womenauthors #powerfulwomen #inspirationalwomen

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We weren’t and still aren’t, being taught all about Latinx history in school, and the heroes contained within. So, it’s important that we learn about it and share it. And read the narratives that have come out, like Cecilia Rodriguez Aragon’s account. She wrote Flying Free: My Victory Over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team, about how she beat the odds to make history.

Available at amazon.com, $26.99

Island Affair, by Priscilla Oliveras

Island Affair is just the tropical summer read you need to dive into while cozy en casa. Priscilla Olivera’s book is the first in the Keys to Love series and is about Sara Vance, a social media influencer who is recovering from an eating disorder. When her boyfriend leaves her hanging for a family vacation to Key West, she gets firefighter and dive captain Luis Navarro to pretend to be her fiance.

Available at amazon.com, $12.76

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Dropping on June 30, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic sounds just like the book you want to pick up and not put down until its final page. It follows Noemi Taboada, who gets a letter from her cousin, who just married, and who is asking for rescue. The lavish Noemi travels to High Place, where she walks right into mystery, secrets, and danger.

Available at amazon.com, $25.31