As I get older, the importance of celebrating my Colombian roots becomes more and more profound. September 15th marks the first day of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month and one of the best ways to celebrate is with a great book from some of literature’s most remarkable voices. Head over to your local bookstore or one of my personal favorites, Little City Books in Hoboken, to support Latinx authors! Little City Books has a whole section dedicated to Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, full of classics and new releases that will pair beautifully with an empanada or two. Read on for a few book recommendations to dive into this month.
^ The Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month display at Little City Books
L.A. Weather by Maria Amparo Escandon
Keila Alvarado decides to leave her weather-obsessed husband, Oscar, after discovering a catastrophic secret that threatens to tear their family apart. As one can imagine, their three daughters are totally bewildered by this unprecedented turn of events. Each caught up in their own dramas, the Alvarado sisters scramble to figure out what on Earth is going on with their parents and end up facing the ugly reality of their own shortcomings in the process. L.A. Weather is an exploration into the experience of a Mexican-American family living in L.A. that will keep you wildly entertained, one betrayal at a time.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
From the incredible author of Mexican Gothic comes a riveting tale about an ordinary secretary named Maite, who gets caught up in the mysterious disappearance of her glamorous next-door neighbor, Leonora. In 1970s Mexico City, the political unrest was at an unsettling high and many people led double lives moonlighting as political activists. As Maite is increasingly consumed by finding out what really happened to Leonora, she knows she will not stop until the truth is exposed… Even if that means racing against the clock to find her before the shady gunman hired by a powerful, not-so-nice man actively hunting down political activists does. Little does Maite know that she will soon be wrapped up in a crazy noir drama much like the fictional kind she used to love losing herself in: complete with guns, secret government spies, and international agents all prepared to kill in order to keep Leonora’s secrets safe.
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
As if a horrendous breakup and crawling back to your family home isn’t bad enough, Lila Macapagal is now the prime suspect in her ex-boyfriend’s death that occurred mere minutes after an unfortunate encounter in which they may or may not have had a very public (and quite nasty, TBH) argument. In her defense, she’s under a lot of stress since her family basically dumped her aunt’s failing restaurant on her with the expectation that she will figure out how to save it. Enter a harsh food critic aka her now dead ex-boyfriend. In a valiant effort to avoid incarceration, Lila launches her own investigation with the help of her meddling aunts and best friend. Will Lila be able to save herself or end up falling victim once again to her severe misfortune?
The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova
It is not often that your dying grandmother sends you a mysterious letter to “Come and collect” your inheritance but when Orquidea does, her progeny knows better than to ignore their eccentric grandmother’s request. After a lifetime of bearing witness to inexplicable magic, the Montoyas know that showing up to their grandmother’s house in Four Rivers will be nothing short of interesting but hope to finally get some answers for a lifetime’s worth of questions. So you can imagine everyone’s fascination when they arrive and find tree roots anchoring her to the ground of her beloved home and branches intertwined with her limbs. When Orquidea completes her “transformation”, the Montoyas are left with even more questions than they arrived with. On a quest to piece together their grandmother’s past, her grandchildren Marimar and Rey travel to Ecuador to find out exactly who Orquidea was and what she was so scared of that she died keeping it a secret. In a heartwarming tale of family, destiny, and perseverance, The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina opens the reader’s eyes to a world of magic and enchants you from the very first page.
The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende’s memoir is a beautifully written masterpiece and intimate glimpse into her life as a woman, lover, wife, mother, daughter, feminist, and successful author. Like many little girls, Allende grew up witnessing what a resilient woman her mother was in the face of adversity and felt inspired to fight for the type of life that all women deserve. In the late 1960s, she was surrounded by strong, independent voices as the second wave of feminism washed over the nation. Through her relationships with men and women, she has learned how to stand up for herself, her dreams, her family, and all humankind. This book comes from one of the most influential voices of our time and will continue to inspire people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds to open his or her eyes to different perspectives.
One of the driving forces behind this book is Allende’s hope it will “light the torches of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished.”