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'This is How You Lose Her' and 'Queen of America' - Latino Millennials Recommend the Best Books for Summer Reading

First Posted: Aug 03, 2014 07:10 AM EDT
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Enjoying a good book can be so rewarding: Imaginative stories can liven up long commutes, offer peace during restless hours and provide entertainment through the interpretation and exploration of text.

Latinos love reading; it’s evident by the countless books written by Latinos that are filling up the shelves in libraries and bookstores. It’s also evident from the countless Latinos who load novels onto their portable devices, pocket their books in bags and cradle spread pages to their chests as they ease toward sleep at night. Hispanic millennials, in particular, love reading, enjoying a variety of works, from different eras and from authors of different ethnicities and races. A few shared some of their favorites with Latin Post.

"Queen of America" by Luis Alberto Urrea

(Photo : Luis Alberto Urrea)

“It's a sequel to 'The Hummingbirds Daughter,' a book I read my senior year while taking a semester at San Francisco State University to study Raza literature and Latino theatre. You don't have to read them in order. I love Urrea's style and the way he layers history with prose. I also feel safe when I go to his books because I trust the places that he'll take me as an author. There's a comfort in reading his work because he seems to understand women. His writing is compassionate… and in Spanglish, which I find I connect to well. My favorite book of his is “Into the Beautiful North.”’

- Caroline, 24, Puerto Rican from Puerto Rico

"Lilith’s Brood" Series: “Dawn,” “Adulthood Rites” and “Imago” by Octavia Butler

(Photo : Octavia Butler)

“[Butler’s] writing always incorporates people of color. Latinos, oftentimes, are written into her books, and she writes very respectfully, accurately and historically about these communities. I feel like Latinos, especially politically-minded Latinos, read her because she creates stories that are extremely favorable when we are depicted in them. It focuses on uplifting the community and writing us as humans alongside our white counterparts, showing in her books that we're all complex, beautiful beings.

She never shies away from the shortcomings of men, or the systemic oppression in communities of color. It's extremely uplifting and empowering. And interestingly, it incorporates vampires, time travel and aliens to make it more entertaining, creative and imaginative. I don't see why Latinos wouldn't read such a bad*ss author like her.”

-Devin, 28, Salvadoran from Long Island

"The characters aren't racialized, but they are clearly very different in appearance. Everyone isn't pale with brown or blonde hair. In 'Lilith's Brood,' I love that the main character is a black woman. She's a good leader, but she also has weaknesses that make her relatable and human. I also like the way alien species merge with human species."

-Malika, 24, Dominican from the Bronx

“This Is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz

(Photo : “This Is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz)

“So, undergrad really ruined my ability to read for pleasure ... that is, until I picked up 'This Is How You Lose Her' by Junot Diaz. I think the book is brilliant and beautifully written. Diaz writes in a casual but elegant manner, and communicates with a variety of audiences in this way. The story is so much more than a man full of regret for one woman. At a glance, it can seem that way, but it really forces the reader to consider issues of intimacy and sympathize with someone who you may think is a villain otherwise. I have reread the book almost 5 times since I originally purchased it and have loaned it to at least 10 friends since then.”

-Mayra, 27, Mexican from Chicago

“The Language of Flowers: A Novel” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

(Photo : Vanessa Daunbaugh)

“'The Language of Flowers' is a beautifully written book, which really moved me. Books serve as an escape for me sometimes, and when a novel is able to engage me to where I’m unable to put it down, I know it has done its job. I felt the character and questioned my ability to define a situation through my own perceived morality. The book also intrigued me to consider the beauty in everyday things, like flowers."

-Mayra, 27, Mexican from Chicago

“Birds Without Wings” by Louis de Bernieres

(Photo : “Birds without Wings” by Louis de Bernieres)

“I really appreciate the style, as it is romantic and formal. Every sentence is a beautiful metaphor and an analogy. It has allowed me the ability to think critically about how I use language to communicate my ideas and emotions. It is an amazing book because it engages me although it doesn’t relate to me in any fashion: period, perspective, nor the lifestyle of the main character.”

-Mayra, 27, Mexican from Chicago

“Ammonite” by Nicola Griffith

(Photo : “Ammonite” by Nicola Griffith)

“I'm reading this because I love science fiction, but I rarely see queers or black people represented, and they're in this book. The characters are VERY diverse. In 'Ammonite,' the world is completely inhabited by women because of a virus that kills men. I like that even though all of the relationships are between women, the characters aren't stuck in weird gender roles."

-Malika, 24, Dominican from the Bronx

"And You Call Yourself a Christian” by E.N.Joy

(Photo : "And You Call Yourself a Christian” by E.N.Joy)

“I love urban Christian books, and what I love about them is they give you real life situations without the ghetto madness. 'And You Call Yourself a Christian' is a favorite of mine.”

-Melinda, 25, Puerto Rican from the Bronx


"The Submission" by Amy Walden

(Photo : "The Submission" by Amy Walden)

“I had to read it for a book club. It wasn't exactly what I would have chosen to read, but I decided to give it a chance. It's a fictional account of 9/11. It's about a Muslim who wins a contest when he enters his architectural design for the memorial. But, when people realize that a Muslim won, they are outraged. It goes into lots of detail about public responses, hatred, prejudices and racism. I liked that I could identify with an immigrant character from the book from Bangladesh; I think that her story reminded me of my parents’ struggle coming into this country.”

-Lolis, 28, Mexican from Chicago

“20 Years at Hull House” by Jane Addams

(Photo : “20 Years at Hull House” by Jane Adams

“I think its inspiring how Jane Addams helped so many people through her foundation, especially women and immigrants. In today’s xenophobic political climate, it’s nice to read about someone who was so open-minded and avant garde.”

-Miguel, 24, Honduran from Chicago

“A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings 2000-2010” by Cherrie L. Moraga

(Photo : “A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings 2000-2010” by Cherrie L. Moraga)

“It hits close to home at this moment in my life. Moraga, who I discovered in college though her collection of poetry and essays on self-discovery, self-love and resistance in 'Loving in the War Years,' has come back to my life six years later with 'A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness.' It is an older, more reflective continuation of the themes in the "War Years.” Instead of self-discovery, she knows who she is: radical, chicana, lesbian and mother, and she’s reflecting on how these experiences of self-discovery (becoming a mom, having a long term partnership, watching her parents die) add to and morphed her commitment towards resistance. As a queer Latina who went from being a punk anarchist teenager to someone who is expecting a baby soon, Moraga's writing really speaks to me and makes me look forward to the ways motherhood will impact my radical consciousness.”

-Victoria, 26, Peruvian from Queens

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