(click on author names for websites and/or ordering information)
On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel by Tony Cohan
In the mid-1980s Tony Cohan and his wife, Masako, went to San Miguel de Allende on a whim and ending up falling in love with this historic town of cobblestone streets and daily fiestas. Cohan brings the colors and sights and sounds of San Miguel alive, inviting the reader into the 250-year-old house he and his wife eventually bought and restored, and introducing us to many interesting characters, wonderful foods, and amusing local stories. There is mystery and intrigue, joy and celebration, and sometimes a great deal of hilarity in dealing with everyday life. Over the last two decades many Americans have followed in Cohan’s footsteps, heading to San Miguel de Allende to “find themselves” and begin their own lives anew. A travel classic and still one of the best reads about this part of Mexico.
Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexico by Tony Cohan
Mexican Days begins in San Miguel de Allende, Cohan’s adopted city, with the filming of the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico. This quiet little town is suddenly overrun with film crews and movie stars. When Cohan gets the opportunity to travel and write about other parts of the country, he packs his bags and heads off on a new journey of discovery — to the mountains and coastal towns of Veracruz; the Mayan ruins and old haciendas of the Yucatan; the colorful markets and beautiful handicrafts of Oaxaca; the mountaintops in clouds above the valley of Guanajuato; the bustling, smoggy streets of Mexico City; and the mysterious Mayan ruins of Palenque. Mexican Days allows the reader to come along on this journey rich with images — drizzling rain, bright light and blue skies, snowy volcanic peaks, clumps of orchids and morning glories, river birds and butterflies. A great read to pack in the suitcase if you’re heading south of the border or to keep on the bedside table for a late-night read to elicit sweet dreams.
Sky Over El Nido by C. M. Mayo
The stories in this collection are set around the globe, but several take place in Mexico. The first story — told by Chabela del Rio y de la Fuente Contreras while lying on her bed in Mexico City — begins: “Mother rescued the three zebras that escaped from the London zoo.” How could anyone resist reading this tale? These thirteen stories are beautiful and disturbing at the same time with offbeat humor, ambiguous conclusions, and characters whose lives are always a bit off kilter. Publishers Weekly called the collection a “remarkable literary debut.” Booklist said that Mayo is “addictive.” It’s no surprise that Sky Over El Nido won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. I love short stories, but I often find that not all stories in a collection are created equal. Not so with this one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading each one and being drawn into these sometimes exotic, sometimes strange and mysterious, lives and worlds. Readers who enjoy interesting short fiction will find these stories rich and rewarding.
Especially For Young Readers…
What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau
One day Clara Luna, a fourteen-year-old who lives in the Baltimore suburbs, receives a letter from her father’s parents who live in the small village of Yucuyoo in Oaxaca, Mexico, inviting her to visit them for the summer. Clara has never met them and knows very little about her father’s childhood, but she finally agrees to go. Her head is filled with pretty visions of adobe houses with flower-filled window boxes and fenced-in gardens, but the village she finds after many hours of travel by plane and bus and on foot is nothing like the one she had imagined. It takes some time to get used to living in a simple shack in a remote mountain village where people speak their own indigenous language, but Clara not only adapts, she thrives in this new and sometimes magical environment. The book is filled with adventures, surprises, and unexpected rewards. A lovely story that easily whisks the reader away to a world that is both simple and enchanting.