Are You a Mexicophile? Five Essential Books

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Before, during or after your stay in Puerto Vallarta, any of the following books will not only enrich your life and entertain you, there is an education to be had.
We begin with The Mexico Reader, which is a compilation of voices from many corners of the globe. This is one of those historical volumes, in which you can skip around and choose lessons at your leisure. In its precise editing by Gilbert M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson, The Mexico Reader defines the nation with history, essays, poetry, song lyrics, art. Enlightening arguments show both sides equally (if not rationally) of political passions and religious views, setting it apart from other chronological tomes.
The People’s Guide to Mexico, in its 14th edition, is a bit lighter reading and has the best advice we have come across: “Smile a lot.” Carl Franz and Lorena Havens, who’ve traveled Mexico extensively, give brilliant suggestions on how to see the country, including Puerto Vallarta. Lorena tells visitors how to take buses to small towns and do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do, like have your shoes shined. She highly encourages readers to poke around small shops.   This book is chockablock full of travel information and level headed guidance for the earnest, inquisitive tourist.
Catalina Montes de Oca de Contreras’ memoir Puerto Vallarta, My Memories is the quintessential book for anyone interested in Puerto Vallarta specifically. Doña Catalina arrived as a newlywed in the city as early as 1918 and wrote down every event in her personal dairy, which eventually became a fascinating book. A prolific writer, she published the first tourist guide of the area and was the first columnist to write about Puerto Vallarta.
If you want to learn to communicate with the locals in Puerto Vallarta, the best book for Spanish is Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish. Eschewing the normal tedious translations and conjugations, you will learn conversational Spanish and have a grip of the language, actually understanding what you hear in no time at all. Pick up a small grammar dictionary to accompany Madrigal’s Magic Key and you will be able to do much more in Puerto Vallarta than just order a beer and find the bathroom.
The Years with Laura Díaz by Carlos Fuentes is a novel with images that will linger and, even though fiction, enlighten you to the intriguing history of Mexico through the 20th century. Entwined with events that begin with her birth in 1898, the long life of Laura Díaz is that of a daughter, wife, mother and lover, written in the grand style of Fuentes and covering a hundred years. The Years with Laura Díaz incorporates connections to Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, the Revolution and Spanish Civil War, along with views of socialism, the Holocaust and McCarthyism. We could not put it down.
Que es cómo es.


 

Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!


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