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BajaGringo


May 11, 2009, 10:32 AM

Post #26 of 61 (7878 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] God and Mr. Gomez by Jack Smith

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I am in the process of getting some more information on the house and was recently in contact with Jack Smith's son who has followed in his fathers footsteps, working for the Times. As I get more info surrounding this interesting story I will post it on the link mentioned above...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Gayla

May 11, 2009, 1:38 PM

Post #27 of 61 (7861 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Lots of good recommendations so far. There have been lots of great non-fiction (loved Shorris and Riding) suggestions made, so I'm going to recommend some fiction.

The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, the enhanced (meaning the author took some liberties with the actual events) biography of the authors great-aunt. A beautiful book about people and events that really happened in the late 1800s. Takes a look at life on a Rancho, the stratification of Mexican society, the concentration of power in DF during the Porfiriato, curanderas and the church. (Alledgedly Antonio Banderas is playing Tomas in the movie version, which if he nails it and the movie isn't maudling, could yield another Oscar nod)

Guacamole Dip
Tequila, Lemon and Salt: From Baja...Tales of Love, Faith - and Magic
Enchilada, Rice & Beans
Salsa & Chips


All by Daniel Reveles. Born in East L.A. to Mexican parents, Daniel Reveles grew up in and around Hollywood and spent a good part of his adult life in the entertainment business. A fateful trip to Tecate so charmed him he ended up moving there about 20 years ago. Each of the above books is a collection of short stories. Mr. Reveles spins wonderfully insightful, soft, sweet and gently humorous stories about daily life along the border, but manages to capture so intimately the nature of Mexicans and Mexico. These books are good, just for fun, recreational reading fun.


MazDee

May 13, 2009, 10:07 PM

Post #28 of 61 (7813 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Gayla, Thanks for the refs to Reveles' other books, which I will look for. The only one I have read is Enchiladas, Rice and Beans, and I just loved it! (I got it from our little English library here, and will try to find some of his other books to donate when I go north this summer). The Hummingbird's Daughter is a wonderful novel, and anyone, especially those interested in the revolutionary period in México should enjoy it. I will look forward to the movie.


tashby


Oct 11, 2009, 5:52 PM

Post #29 of 61 (7443 views)

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Re: [MazDee] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Also enjoyed "The Hummingbird's Daughter".

Here's an interesting one I found buried in a box (in my own house) the other day: Insurgent Mexico by John Reed. Just a tiny little book of essays and observations from a left-wing writer from the United States who traveled with Villa's army during the Revolution. The author was young, and definitely wears his politics openly......but worth a quick read for some very "in the moment" moments. Surprised to see it's still available, frankly.

AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW:

This book has been notorious since its publication in 1914. The author was a vagabond leftist reporter for the American radical press, and did not go to Mexico City riding in relative comfort on the press train accompanying the Division del Norte of General Francisco "Pancho" Villa during his successful Constitutionalist southward campaign against the Federalista forces of the usurper General Victoriano Huerta; he who had murdered president Madero and his vice president, and seized power in Mexico City in conjunction the forces of Zapata.
Instead, Reed, in accord with his common man leanings, while on campaign, lived among the "grunts", Mexican campesinos who made up the bulk of Villa's forces.
There are incisive pen portraits of the Constitutionalist leaders, descriptions of the wretched living conditions of the people, observations on the siege of Torréon, N.L.. and nearby Gomez Palacio, neighboring key strategic cities on the railroad south from Juarez to Mexico City.
This is not history or reporting but a collection of impressionistic and justifiably biased essays. Still very valuable for the feel of the times and has been translated into many languages. The author later went to Russia and wrote "Ten Days That Shook the World." (c.f.) about the October Revolution.


(This post was edited by tashby on Oct 11, 2009, 5:56 PM)


Maritsa


Oct 12, 2009, 8:21 AM

Post #30 of 61 (7382 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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I took "The Life and Times of Mexico" by Earl Shorris with me to Mexico and read and reread it for 3 months. (I am a pretty good reader, but I had to go back a lot to really understand the historical information). Also, I had nothing else to read. I also read "Aztec" and from there I started reading Kathleen O'Neal-Gear and W. Michael Gear. I really got into reading their North American People series, as well as their other series. When I exhausted those, I read "The Gates of the Alamo" by Steven Harrigan, the Texas Rangers novels of Elmer Kelton, and then Larry McMurtry's books. I just read Earl Shorris' "Under the Fifth Sun: A Novel of Pancho Villa" which was pretty good, I thought.

I also read "Voices from Exile:Violence & Survival in Modern Maya History" by Victor Montejo. My boyfriend, who is from Chiapas, had told me about the Guatamalans looking for work in Mexico, as the Mexicans look for work in the US. I really enjoy his stories, but don't always get everything, as he tells me in Spanish. This book explained how thousands of Guatamalan Mayans became refugees in Chiapas in 1982, and how they were treated in Mexico.


tgrogg

Oct 12, 2009, 4:34 PM

Post #31 of 61 (7325 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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And don't forget "God and Mr. Gomez" by Jack Smith (L.A. Times) especially if you are building a home.


tashby


Oct 12, 2009, 4:54 PM

Post #32 of 61 (7322 views)

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Re: [tgrogg] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Well who could forget "God and Mr. Gomez", tgrogg? It's mentioned a couple or ten times in this thread. Love the book, own at least two copies. Probably three.

All my books are still in boxes!!!

And welcome! 8-)


tashby


Nov 22, 2009, 11:54 AM

Post #33 of 61 (7037 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Quote
Earl Shorris..........The Life and Times of Mexico (2004)


Wow.....what a book!


macmember

Nov 22, 2009, 12:24 PM

Post #34 of 61 (7022 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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The newest book out at this time is co written by one of our regular Posters ROLLY BROOK, along with Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair from San Miguel de Allende. I just finished reading it and it has everything anyone needs to know about moving to Mexico. The name of the book is "THE BEST HOW TO BOOK ON MOVING TO MEXICO". Guess that says it all.


esperanza

Nov 22, 2009, 1:36 PM

Post #35 of 61 (7008 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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In Reply To

Quote
Earl Shorris..........The Life and Times of Mexico (2004)

Wow.....what a book!

Yup. Absolutely the best.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









computer repair

Nov 22, 2009, 9:29 PM

Post #36 of 61 (6947 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] God and Mr. Gomez by Jack Smith

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Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
The Geoff Dyer Omnibus: Out of Sheer Rage, Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, Paris Trance
Robert Spaethling, Editor: Mozart’s Letters, Mozart’s Life


Gringal

Nov 23, 2009, 8:36 AM

Post #37 of 61 (6895 views)

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Re: [computer repair] God and Mr. Gomez by Jack Smith

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Unless your tongue is firmly in your cheek in that post..............the relation to Mexico is?????


Maritsa


Nov 23, 2009, 8:50 AM

Post #38 of 61 (6886 views)

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Re: [Gringal] God and Mr. Gomez by Jack Smith

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Thanks Gringal, I thought I was thinking a little crazy about that post. Life and Times of Mexico is one of my favorite books. I wrote to Earl Shorris a couple of years ago, and he sent me a hand written reply. I was impressed.


esperanza

Nov 23, 2009, 10:18 AM

Post #39 of 61 (6867 views)

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Re: [computer repair] God and Mr. Gomez by Jack Smith

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In Reply To
Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
The Geoff Dyer Omnibus: Out of Sheer Rage, Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, Paris Trance
Robert Spaethling, Editor: Mozart’s Letters, Mozart’s Life

computer repair, I think you've posted books that are important to have with you in Mexico. The thread's topic is books about Mexico that you think are important.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









cookj5

Nov 23, 2009, 5:51 PM

Post #40 of 61 (6827 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Ditto for Distant Neighbors and Opening Mexico. These two will give you an overlapping view of Mexico from the pre-hispanic era to the pivotal election of 2000 when the political party known as PRI finally lost an election after more than 60 years in power.

How about Dust On My Heart, by Neill James, which would give you a great picture of Mexico as it was in the 1940s when Ajijic was just a little village, and the Revolution was still a recent memory to most people. Even then, Ajijic had an artist colony and a full collection of odd gringo types.

Also House in the Sun, and Village in the Sun, both by Dane Chandos, a pseudonym for two authors who wrote about Ajijic in roughly the same period at Neill James. It is the story of building a house in the village and later running a small tourist hotel. Very humorous, moving, and lyrical

Going back a bit, the definitive book on the Conquest (from the Spanish point of view) is The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, by Bernal Diaz de Castillo. He was a young officer in company with Hernan Cortez all during the Conquest and gives a very readable first hand account of what it was really like. Although written in the 16th Century, it is very down to earth and free of the flowery language of the time, since it was written by a simple soldier with keen powers of observation.


richmx2


Nov 24, 2009, 7:02 AM

Post #41 of 61 (6770 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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I'd mention my own (which sells quite nicely this time of year, as students are writing term papers in Latin American studies classes) if that wasn't tacky, but two of the foreign fiction writers who knew Mexico and wrote better on it than anyone were the U.S. writer Katherine Ann Porter and the U.S. born German (and naturalized Mexican) who used the pseudonym "B. Traven".

One oddball book I've enjoyed lately was Carl Lumholtz, "Unknown Mexico: A Record of Five Years Exploration Among the Tribes of Western Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among the Tarascos of Michoacan". Lumholz was a Norwegian explorer and pioneering anthropologist, back in the day when traveling around Mexico included putting up with things like burros exploding along the Espino del Diablo (where most of us just complain about the slow traffic today). Lumholtz' idea of collecting souvenirs including blowing up burial mounds... and digging up skeletons... ergo, the dynamite laden burros.

Not everyone's taste, but fascinating if you're a Mexico City denizen, if Luis Zapata's "Adonis García: Vampire of Colonia Roma". NO, it is not "Twilight a la Mexicana". Adonis haunts Roma by night, but then again, as he says, "es mi onda" ... he's a street hustler and small time drug dealer, and those are his normal working hours. Mexico City -- and Mexico -- have changed dramatically since the late 1970s of the Adonis García, but youthful alienation, urban survival and Mexican black humor are eternal. As are the denizens at least one all-night diner (not in the guidebooks) mentioned in the novel.

I don't think it's so much a "gay novel" (there's no sex scenes) as a classic picaresque (the comic adventures of a scoundrel have a long tradition in Hispanic letters), but the only English-language translation I've found was by a Canadian academic, E.A. Lacey (who died several years ago), and published by the now-defunct Gay Sunshine Press in 1981. At one time I thought of making it available as an e-book, and tried for a time to track down the heirs to Lacey's literary estate, and Luis Zapata, but other things came up.


http://mexfiles.net
http://editorialmazatlan.com

(This post was edited by richmx2 on Nov 24, 2009, 7:07 AM)


gcooper

Dec 20, 2009, 3:52 PM

Post #42 of 61 (6298 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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ON Mexican Time,
Baja Legend
No bad Days
www.Riviera-LaPaz.com
www.GPSProjectManagement.com


cristalhombre


Dec 21, 2009, 9:16 PM

Post #43 of 61 (6237 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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In Reply To

Quote
Earl Shorris..........The Life and Times of Mexico (2004)


Wow.....what a book!


Indeed it is. Picked it up at our library last week - powerful images and well written. The political corruption is beyond belief........his story would make Dick Cheney appear angelic.

thanks for the suggestion - I was not aware of the book.





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."


esperanza

Dec 22, 2009, 10:53 AM

Post #44 of 61 (6192 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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I've been touting Earl Shorris's The Life and Times of Mexico, right here on MexConnect, since my initial post about it on August 25, 2006. That's three and a half years ago!

'Bout time you read it, cristalhombre, and I'm glad you liked it. It's the best Mexican history out there.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









cristalhombre


Dec 22, 2009, 5:06 PM

Post #45 of 61 (6153 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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You are so right Esperanza.........I was asleep at the wheel on that one.

Distant Neighbors was my last 'comprehensive' read on MX and that was 20 years ago.

Don't forget - some of us have to stay back here in the states "slaving away" in an attempt to keep the wheels of commerce in motion. Albeit with this economy I would probably be better off holding up a sign on the freeway ramp. "BROKE - need $$$ for a bus ticket to Mexico"

Anyway, my opportunities for cultural enrichment (reading) are limited lately. But this book is worth the effort at 700 plus pages.

I did ask Santa for a Kindle, we'll see if he delivers???





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."


wendy devlin

Dec 27, 2009, 2:03 PM

Post #46 of 61 (6027 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Currently, thinking that any books by Luis Astorga, sociologist and researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, might help anyone interested in how historically, organized crime and politics are intimately linked In Mexico.

http://www.allbookstores.com/...entury_of_Drugs.html

Astorga stresses that high levels of political plurality in Mexico in recent years have led to new political configurations and an atomization of power relationships between criminal networks and state actors, creating disruptions and distortions in the illicit drug market.

Such destabilizing reconfigurations have taken place at a time when Mexico’s judicial institutions are too weak to effectively control organized crime—a dynamic that contributes to the cartel-related violence afflicting the country.

If you can't get a hold of his books, his essays and presentations show up over the past ten years on web-sites like this one for an International conference in India in 2001.

http://www.india-seminar.com/...20luis%20astorga.htm

Or this reference in 2008.

http://www.yorku.ca/...h/obama/pdfs/Astorga

Other journalists and writers often seem to reference his material.


Gayla

Dec 27, 2009, 2:22 PM

Post #47 of 61 (6020 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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I recently finished 2 books with Mexican themes an locations by Mexican/American writers.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (author of The Hummingbird's Daughter)
The advertures of a band of friends who go north from their small (fictional) beach town in Sinaloa to find 1) a father and 2) men to repopulate their town and help fend off the narcos. A litttle slow starting but it eventually hits stride and turns into an easy, fun read. If you've spent any amount of time in San Diego and/or Tijuana, you'll more than recognize parts of the book. And you will not forget..."I am Atomiko" (accent on the first "o", but my laptop won't do that)

Dancing wtih Butterflies by Reyna Grande
Tells the story of 4 women - each from their own point of view, and in their own voice - in East L.A. and the passion they have for their Mexican heritage and Folklorico. Parts of the book are a little gritty, the characters not always sympathetic and often dysfunctional. They are, however, well written and by the end of the book you do feel like you know them and understand a little more about the dynamics of their families and cultural connections.

I just started Barbara Kingsolver's new book The Lacuna. The first few pages haven't grabbed me yet. Here's hoping the next few will


DosViajeros

Dec 28, 2009, 5:38 PM

Post #48 of 61 (5953 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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Thanks to all for the great collective-experience bibliography! Another recommendation: anything by Carlos Fuentes, a major Mexican voice who, having grown up as a diplomat's son in Washington, D.C., is most adept at cross-cultural points of view - and expressing them. While "The Buried Mirror" focuses on the relationship between Spain and Mexico, it serves to inform present-day Mexico. Other of Fuentes' writings tackle Mexico/EEUU relations in a most enlightening way. Highly recommended.


La Isla


Dec 28, 2009, 8:05 PM

Post #49 of 61 (5917 views)

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Re: [DosViajeros] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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I've only read some of Carlos Fuentes' fiction, which, I think, also offers a great deal of insight into Mexican history. I recommend La Muerte de Artemio Cruz (available in English as The Death of Artemio Cruz), the story of the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath as embodied in the life of one of its protagonists, and El Naranjo (The Orange Tree), a collection of 5 novelas based on historical themes such as the conquest of Tenochtitlán and the two sons of Hernán Cortés.


toucantango


Jan 2, 2010, 12:49 PM

Post #50 of 61 (5819 views)

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Re: [tashby] Your Three Mexico "Must Read" Books

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For anyone who wants to understand the current psyche of Mexico City, there is a new book out by David Lida "First Stop in The New World". Interesting and amusing.




http://www.toucantango.ca
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