Special Navidad Shopping Guide

Dear Readers,A couple of columnas ago, I published a short list of my favorite books regarding Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, and urged ustedes to submit better choices so that gabachos can have a Christmas shopping list for their favorite Mexicans, or to understand nosotros better. Muchos responded, and below is a list of the most-recommended tomes, along with my brief descriptions.North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of the US by Carey McWilliams: Though first published in 1948 by the legendary former editor of The Nation and updated only twice since, this libro is nevertheless essential, setting the template for Chicano studies by treating Mexicans with respect instead of maracas.Pocho by José Antonio Villarreal: Another oldie-but-goodie—published in 1959, but still a lyrical examination of Mexican assimilation into los Estados Unidos.Chicana Falsa: And Other Stories of Death, Identity, & Oxnard by Michelle Serros: Assimilation the chica way.The Devil's Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea: A 2005 Pulitzer Prize non-fiction finalist details Mexican immigrants trying to cross the Arizona desert.The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes: An obvious choice but a necessary one, written by one of the titans of Mexican letters.The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz: The intellectual cover for nearly every stereotype Americans have about Mexicans—thanks a lot, Nobel Prize laureate!Drink Cultura: Chicanismo by José Antonio Burciaga: One of the literary godfathers of the Mexican, this collection of essays never ceases to entertain or inform.Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: For the sex-starved woman in your life!Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid by Xavier Garza: Seasonal, bilingual, and for the kiddies.Orange County: A Personal History and ¡Ask a Mexican! by Gustavo Arellano: Remember what I said about book publishing and humility?garellano@seattleweekly.com

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