We’ve compiled a list of important literary works from some of the great Latin American Authors. This list includes memoirs from the Carribean, magic realism from Colombia and some healing from Brazil. Reading the books on this list is a great way to travel to some of the most beautiful places from the comfort of your couch. These ebooks and audiobooks are available in our digital platforms Hoopla and Overdrive.
Hispanic Diaspora – Fiction
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent by Julia Alvarez (Dominican Republic)
Summary from Hoopla: “In the 1960s, political tension forced the García family away from Santo Domingo and towards the Bronx. The sisters all hit their strides in America, adapting and thriving despite cultural differences, language barriers, and prejudice. But Mami and Papi are more traditional, and they have far more difficulty adjusting to their new country. Making matters worse, the girls–frequently embarrassed by their parents–find ways to rebel against them.”
The House in Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The House in Mango Street – Spanish
Audiobook – Overdrive
Summary from Overdrive: “The bestselling coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world from the winner of the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.
The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros’ masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.”
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago (Puerto Rico)
Ebook in Spanish – Overdrive
Summary from Overdrive: “One of “The Best Memoirs of a Generation” (Oprah’s Book Club): a young woman’s journey from the mango groves and barrios of Puerto Rico to Brooklyn, and eventually on to Harvard
In a childhood full of tropical beauty and domestic strife, poverty and tenderness, Esmeralda Santiago learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs, the taste of morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. But when her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually a new identity. In the first of her three acclaimed memoirs, Esmeralda brilliantly recreates her tremendous journey from the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years, to translating for her mother at the welfare office, and to high honors at Harvard.”
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz Dominican Republic
Audio Book– Overdrive
Summary from Overdrive: “This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today. Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku–the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim. D’az immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot D’az as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.”
Magic Realism – Fiction
One hundred years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia) – AudioBook- Overdrive
Summary from Overdrive: “One of the twentieth century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.
The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind.In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo,one sees all of Latin America.
Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility, the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth—these universal themes dominate the novel. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years ofSolitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an account of the history of the human race.”
Visit http://www.blackstoneaudio.com/docs/Family_Tree.pdf to access a bonus PDF with a family tree.
City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende
Summary from Hoopla: “When Alexander Cold’s mother falls ill, the fifteen-year-old is sent to stay with his eccentric grandmother in New York. A tough and prickly magazine reporter, Kate Cold takes Alex along with her on an expedition to the Amazon to verify the existence of the fierce, gigantic, legendary creature known as the Beast. Joining them on their adventure are a celebrated anthropologist; a local guide and his daughter, Nadia; a doctor; and a local entrepreneur. But not everyone’s intentions are pure-and dangerous discoveries await Alex and Nadia as they embark, with the aid of a jungle shaman, on an epic journey into the realm of the mythical Beasts of the Amazon. City of the Beasts is the first book in an extraordinary trilogy by Isabel Allende, one of the world’s most acclaimed authors.”
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Summary from Overdrive: “A love story of astonishing power.” – Newsweek
“The International Bestseller and modern literary classic by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia MarquezIn their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.”
In The Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Summary from Hoopla: “It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas-The Butterflies.” In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters-Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé-speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.”
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Summary from Hoopla: “The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the gargantuan powers of imagination, intelligence, and style of one of the greatest writers of this or any other century. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. More playful and approachable than the fictions themselves are Borges’s Prologues, brief elucidations that offer the uninitiated a passageway into the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.”
Paulo Coelho – Brazil
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Summary from Hoopla: “A special 25th anniversary edition of the extraordinary international bestseller, including a new Foreword by Paulo Coelho.
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different-and far more satisfying-than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.”
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
Summary from Hoopla: “Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings… and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.
Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life’s biggest questions.”