14 Books that will inspire you to visit Mexico

First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century By David Lida

A must-read for anybody looking to travel to Mexico City. David Lida is an American journalist and writer who has lived in Mexico City since 1990. First Stop in the New World provides a comprehensive account of DF covering  different aspects of life in the capital as well as insight to  Mexican culture and psyche.

Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent Into Darkness by  Alfredo Corchado

Part memoir, part political and economic history of Mexico, Midnight in Mexico provides a compelling eyewitness account of the rise of the drug cartels, issues within the Mexican government and involvement of United States in both.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos

A short novel (70 pages) that centres around a seven-year-old boy named Tochtli (“rabbit” in Nahuatl, an indigenous language),  a son of a drug lord called Yolcaut. Seen through the eyes of a child, who is trying to understand his surroundings, Down the Rabbit Hole presents a shocking picture of the drug war in Mexico.

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luís Alberto Urrea

A powerful book about border crossings between Mexico and the U.S. The Devil’s Highway tells a true story of 26 impoverished Mexican men and teen-age boys who in 2001 set out to enter the United States illegally through the desert for Ajo, Arizona. Onlt 12 of them survived.

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande 

An extraordinary memoir by award-winning writer Reyna Grande in which she recounts her experiences as a child left behind with two siblings in Mexico when her parents emigrated to the U.S. in search of work, as well as her own journey to the U.S. at the age of nine.

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

A relevant and timely novel that focuses the human impact of current immigration policies between Mexico and US. It tells a story of two women:  Soli, a young Mexican woman who illegally enters the United States, and Kavya, an Indian American who desperately wants to have a child. After Soli is placed in immigrant detention centre, Kavya looks after her son, Ignacio.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Author dealing with extreme sports, starts to run at the age of 40. Unfortunately, he suffers injuries. Sent to Mexico, he finds out about the Tarahumara tribe, also known as Rarámuri (Running People) in the Mexican Copper Canyons.. These Indians, can run ultra-distances (over 100 miles) at incredible speeds.  It is significant that injuries almost never happen to them, and Tarahumara run in simple sandals of their own design. The author learns about their secrets and explains how sports shoes can cause injuries and ways to avoid these injuries.

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera

Fascinating and tragic story of one of the Mexico’s greatest artists. Frida Kahlo was a passionate woman, feminist and a revolutionary. Herrera analyzes the artist’s work showing Kahlo’s extraordinary personality. The book includes a large number of reproductions and photos.

Junky by William S. Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs was an American novelist and visual artist. In 1949 Burroughs moved to Mexico City to avoid drug charges in New Orleans. Junky was his first, semi-autobiographical novel , primarily drawn from his experiences as a narcotics addict as he lived in Mexico City.

The Power and the Glory by  Graham Greene

The novel tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest living in the Mexican state of Tabasco in the 1930s, a time when the Mexican government declared his religion illegal. The Red Shirts, a paramilitary organisation has taken control, many churches were destroyed and priests were often hunted down by police and executed without trial.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

A uniquely Mexican book about forbidden love. It tells a story of Tita, the youngest of three sisters, who according to family tradition, cannot marry as she needs to look after her mother until her mother’s death.  She falls in love with her neighbour Pedro, who marries Tita’s sister Rosaura, in order to stay closer to Tita. Unable to live happily, Tita tries to find fulfilment in culinary art.

The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz

Written half-century ago by a Nobel laureate poet and essayist Octavio Paz, the book explores the complexity of Mexican culture torn between indigenous and Hispanic roots and search for notional identity.

Conquistador: Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy

A story of an advanced civilization where unimaginable wealth and love for art coexisted with blood-soaked temples and rituals of human sacrifice. A great chronicle of the last days of the Aztec empire where the  collision of two cultures, two religions and two people brought down the entire Aztec nation and shaped the future of the New World.

Mexico: Democracy Interrupted by  Jo Tuckman

An overview of Mexican recent history from the country’s first fully open presidential elections in 2000 to present day. Jo Tuckman investigates on the current state of Mexico’s politics and economics, religious and social developments. She also reports on the challenges faced by the country:  a violent drugs war and US involvement in it, poverty and corruption.


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