5 Latinas Share the Books That Changed Their Lives

  Books have a way of unlocking a world of information

Photo: Unsplash/@thoughtcatalog

Photo: Unsplash/@thoughtcatalog

Books have a way of unlocking a world of information. Which is why book lovers are drawn to their fiction or nonfiction faves, among a universe of literary newcomers and timeless classics. As 2018 winds down and we move toward a new year, it’s the perfect time to take inventory on not just the past year but moments — and yes, books — that changed your life. We asked several Latinas to reflect on the books that have impacted their lives. These books draw on financial fitness and securing the bag to identity and the power of self-discovery. You’ll want to break from your timelines, pull up on your couch and dive into these great reads: wp_*posts

Cristina Mari Arreola, Senior Books Editor at Bustle

Photo: Amazon

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

A collection of the best “Dear Sugar” advice column written by Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things was gifted to Cristina Arreola about six months after her mother died by a woman who had also lost her mother in her early 20s. “Cheryl Strayed writes with such emotional bravery — to use her own words! — about all the messy, wondrous realities of being alive,” shares Arreola on the best gift she’s ever received. “Strayed also lost her mother in her early 20s, and her essays about grief, particularly ‘The Black Arc Of It,’ are imprinted upon my brain, but every single essay has spoken to me in some way, at some point in my life.” wp_*posts

Barbara Gonzalez, Associate Culture Editor at Cassius

Photo: Amazon

Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera

Barbara Gonzalez immediately connected with the coming-of-age tale Juliet Takes A Breath. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever believed that I’d read something that reflected my experience as a queer Nuyorican woman trying to figure life out for myself on my own terms,” says Gonzalez about the award-winning novel. “Gabby Rivera does exactly that with the story of Juliet Palante, a young Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who has to leave everything she knows in order to find herself. In following Juliet’s earnest self-interrogation and thoughtful navigation of the world(s) she inhabits, I felt the most seen I ever had by any piece of literature. Whenever I need a piece of encouragement or text to ground me, I still go back to an excerpt at the end of the book that reminds me of the type of person I want to be—unapologetically, radically soft, just as Gabby wrote Juliet to be.” wp_*posts

Ariel Lopez, CEO of 2020Shift

Photo: Amazon

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero

It’s rare you’ll find tech entrepreneur Ariel Lopez without a business or entrepreneurship book in tow. Out of the numerous reads, one book remains a standout: You Are a Badass at Making Money. “I think anyone who wants to manifest financial growth and overall happiness should read it,” she shares. “It’s also super funny with actionable advice.”wp_*posts

Saraciea Fennell, Publicist for Tor Books

Photo: Amazon

Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

It’s an autobiography that reads like fiction, shares Bronx Book Festival founder Saraciea Fennell on Down These Mean Streets. Chronicling the experience of Piri Thomas, an Afro-Puerto Rican and Cuban, growing up in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) in NYC, the story touches on race and culture, as well as the criminal justice system.  “It was one of the first books where I could really relate to the characters, whom were of Latino descent and centered a dark-skinned Latino at that! I could easily picture different family members who fit into that story, who lived that story and walked those same streets, and living conditions,” says Fennell. “It was utterly raw and lyrical. I read the book when I was a freshman in high school and it has stayed with me ever since.” wp_*posts

Mariela Rosario, Editor-in-Chief of HipLatina.com

Photo: Amazon

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The widely-read novel Things Fall Apart opened Mariela Rosario Pabón’s eyes to new possibilities within literature. “It taught me about Africa, a country that I knew formed an important part of my ancestry and heritage but that I knew nothing about, and also world literature in general. Until then, I’d mostly been exposed to old or dead white men’s literature and this was a critically-acclaimed classic written by an African man talking about cultures and traditions that were at once so foreign but also weirdly familiar.”

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