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Mexican culture

5 Books to Understand and Honor Mexican Culture This Weekend

We could all learn a little more here.

It’s celebrated in so many places and it brings various cultures together, however Cinco de Mayo is more than just a special day of drinks and food and family. It’s a vital piece of Mexican history. Commonly, in American culture, Cinco de Mayo is mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day which is actually September 16th. Cinco de Mayo, or the Battle of Puebla, was a big victory battle over the French in 1862.

 

Now, as the bookworms we all are, we figured it’s time to take on the weekend with a little bit of light reading. Here are some excellent works, with their Amazon synopsis, that carry on the Mexican culture, tradition, and what it means to be human. Plus we could all use a little history lesson.

 

1. Faces in the Crowd by Valerie Luiselli 
 
Mexican Authors

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"In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains."

 
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"A passionate and subversive defense of the rights of women to study, to teach, and to write, it predates by almost a century and a half serious writings on any continent about the position and education of women."

 

3. Umami by Laia Jufresa 

 

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"Deep in the heart of Mexico City, where five houses cluster around a sun-drenched courtyard, lives Ana, a precocious twelve-year-old who spends her days buried in Agatha Christie novels to forget the mysterious death of her little sister years earlier. Over the summer she decides to plant a milpa in her backyard, and as she digs the ground and plants her seeds, her neighbors in turn delve into their past." 

 

4. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel

 

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"This classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef, using cooking to express herself and sharing recipes with readers along the way."

 

5. Pieces of Shadow: Selected Poems of Jaime Sabines (English, Spanish and Spanish Edition) by Jaime Sabines

 

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"A sampling of translated works from the poet's forty-five year career."

 

Bonus: History of the Conquest of Mexico (Modern Library Classics) by William H. Prescott and James Lockhart

 

Mexican books

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"What stands out in Prescott’s masterful history of Mexico’s conquest is his sketches of the various instrumental figures involved, from Montezuma to Cortés and his lieutenants. William H. Prescott published his History of the Conquest of Mexico in 1843 and The New York Times stated that it “has remained surprisingly unsurpassed since its publication.” Prescott was one of the most eminent historians of the 19th century. He died in 1859."

 

Feature Image Via Glenn Gary Gamboa's Mexican, Aztec, Mayan, Pre Columbian Food History