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MEXICO SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS Reviewed by James Tipton

Sunlight and Shadows - book cover
Over the past ten years I have published reviews of over a hundred books about, or set in, Mexico, and so I have discovered dozens of fine authors who, as I do, live here or spend lots of time here, and who indeed love Mexico. Editor Mikel Miller, like the roosters at dawn in this little town of mine (Chapala), has decided it’s time to crow about Mexico Writers.Mikel has put together a collection of essays and stories by 23 different authors, all but four of whom live here full time, some of whom are internationally known, others of whom are just emerging. read more

Something for Nothing - A novel by Robert Richter Reviewed by James Tipton

Robert Richter’s new novel, Something for Nothing, is his third featuring Cotton Waters, ‘not your ordinary roving gringo’, who is called Algo by his Mexican buddies, shortened from the Spanish word for Cotton, algodón. Much of Robert Richter’s work is inspired by his 40-year love affair with Mexico. He has written three Cotton Waters mysteries (all available on Kindle): Something in Vallarta (1991), Something Like a Dream (2014), this latest, Something for Nothing (2015), all set on Mexico’s western Riviera. Richter has also written two non-fiction books about Mexico: Search for the Camino Real: A History of San Blas and the Road to Get There (2011) and Cuautémoc Cárdenas and the Roots of Mexico’s New Democracy (2000). read more

Living at Lake Chapala Reviewed by James Tipton

Judy King's Living at Lake Chapala is a must have book for any expatriate living at Lake Chapala, and it is a very useful book for any expatriate anywhere in Mexico.

It is a book to keep beside the bed, or on the coffee table, or even on the car seat.

Arranged in six parts, the 76 chapters tell you just about everything you could want to know about living the Mexico adventure.

At the very beginning of Living at Lake Chapala, Judy tells us "This is the book I needed when I arrived in Mexico." It might be the book you need as well.... read more

Baby Boomers: Reinvent Your Retirement in Mexico Reviewed by Elaine Halleck

Book lovers, especially those contemplating retirement near Lake Chapala, will enjoy Karen Blue's conversational interviews in Baby Boomers: Reinvent Your Retirement in Mexico.

But my guess is that the book may be more attractive to people who have already moved south and want to know what makes their fellow expats tick, and maybe pick up a few nuggets of practical information in the process.

Each short chapter in the 215-page softcover focuses on one person or couple who, in most cases, use only their first name.

Yet, with only that thin cloak of anonymity, the interviewees pretty much pour out their hearts, and the author gets in a fair amount of personal details about her background and her nearly 20 years living the expat life in the Lake Chapala area... read more

Guide to the Mammals of Mexico's Primavera Forest Reviewed by John Pint

2013 saw the launching of a new book describing the mammals of Jalisco's Primavera Forest, located just west of the city of Guadalajara. Mamíferos del Bosque La Primavera, Guía Ilustrada (in Spanish)... read more

San Miguel de Allende: A Place in the Heart - Expatriates Find Themselves Living in Mexico Reviewed by James Tipton

John Scherber's thoughtful and satisfying book, San Miguel de Allende: A Place in the Heart (2010), is a collection of stories about North Americans "who live here full time, as I do." San Miguel de Allende is their home.

The idea of the book originated when Scherber, after living in San Miguel for only eight months, began asking himself questions like: "What had I given up to come here, and what had I gained? What was my new role in the community? Was I an exile? An expatriate? Would I ever live in the States again? How did I react to Americans I saw here visiting? What had I done?" read more

Moving to Mexico's Lake Chapala: Checklists, How-To's, and Practical Information and Advice for Expats and Retirees Reviewed by James Tipton

Moving to Mexico's Lake Chapala
This book really does tell you about everything you need to know if you are planning to move to Lake Chapala, one of the most popular retirement sites in the world for North Americans.

Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, Editor-in-Chief of El Ojo del Lago, has this to say: "I found it highly readable, most comprehensive, and flawlessly organized. I think it's the best book of its kind that I have read, and I have been down here for 25 years."

Is the information current? You bet! Why? Because Lisa Jorgensen only moved here this past spring. read more

Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This is the story about Jeanine Lee Kitchel and her husband, Paul, who made their first trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in 1985 and fell in love instantly with the place. They had visited various parts of Mexico before that and were quite taken with the country. But the Yucatan beaches were of a different order. read more

The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico Reviewed by James Tipton

The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico is written by three people who have made the move. Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair moved to San Miguel de Allende in May of 2002. The third editor, Rollins "Rolly" Brook, "after visiting all 50 states in the USA and many countries around the world… found himself most at home in Mexico." In 2000 Rolly retired to Lerdo, Durango. Clearly this is no trio on extended vacation. They actually live here… permanently. These authors are bold and direct and the book is divided into four parts. Hats off to Carol, Norma, and Rolly! This just might be that best book. read more

Boomers in Paradise: Living in Puerto Vallarta Reviewed by James Tipton

Robert Nelson's Boomers in Paradise: Living in Puerto Vallarta, profiles fourteen "baby boomers" who now reside in Puerto Vallarta, The book, though, will be of interest to any expatriate (or would-be ... read more

Viva La Baja! Relocation and Real Estate Guide to the Baja California Peninsula by Molly McHugh Reviewed by Julia Taylor

Molly McHugh's recently published Viva La Baja! Relocation and Real Estate Guide to the Baja California Peninsula provides concise, easy to use information for anyone interested in north or south Baja. It is obvious that McHugh's objective is to provide an excellent product that will be useful for people of all ages and from all walks of life. read more

Teaching English Overseas: A Job Guide for Americans and Canadians Reviewed by James Tipton

Latin America is a really enormous TEFL market, with tens of thousands of jobs available every year in language schools, binational centers and universities…. read more

Spanish at Your Fingertips By Clark M. Zlotchew, Ph.D. Reviewed by James Tipton

For this old brain of mine -- that threatens to retire before I do -- a book that makes simple what has always been somewhat complicated to me is a book that I will cherish.

Clark M. Zlotchew, Ph.D., has taught Spanish language at SUNY College at Fredonia in New York State since 1975. He has published more than a dozen books including translations of Spanish poetry and fiction as well as Alpha Teach Yourself Spanish in 24 Hours.

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Gringos In Paradise Reviewed by James Tipton

If you live in the states and are thinking about living in Mexico, read this book. If you are thinking about building a house in Mexico, read this book. If you are thinking about retiring, read this book. If you already live in Mexico, read this book. read more

Juan Quezada Reviewed by James Tipton

As told to Shelley Dale by Juan Quezada Illustrated by Shelley Dale Norman Books (Santa Monica, CA 90403)   Juan Quezada with his wife Gu... read more

Speaking Spanish like a Native by Brad Kim and Erika Dominguez Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's a rather unusual approach to learning Spanish. It's not intended for beginners but rather for people who have already spent some time studying the language and want to go further, especially in the direction of becoming more adept at conversation. What Brad Kim has done here is to give us a collection of everyday expressions, exactly like the expressions we use when we speak English, which will enhance conversational skills. Start using a few and you'll sound more down-to-earth and impressive to your listeners. read more

The Dark Side of the Dream by Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story begins in 1941, at the time America went to war with Japan and Germany. It concerns the Salazar family, poor farmers in Chihuahua. The grandfather, Sebastian, knows he is dying and he advises the family to move to the United States. He reasons that because of the war the Americans will want lots of people to work in their country as their men go off to fight. Their farm is a ruin. Only expensive fertilizer could bring it back to life. And they don't have any money. read more

Travel Advisory: Stories of Mexico by David Lida Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Lida's writing and his choice of material cast a powerful spell. read more

Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives In Mexico Reviewed by Teresa Kendrick

In her first non-fiction book, Midlife Mavericks, author Karen Blue presents the stories of nineteen American and Canadian women who left their countries, families, and cultural roles to begin new lives in Mexico.

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Only Once In A Lifetime - A Novel by Alejandro Grattan Reviewed by Ed Lusch

During the late 1970s, the first major Hispanic motion picture, Only Once in a Lifetime, premiered in Texas at the San Antonio Film Festival. The reaction was, according to the city s largest newspaper... read more

The Stuff Of Dreams By Alejandro Grattan Reviewed by Norman Eades

Alejandro Grattan's latest novel is a rip-roaring adventure tale which swiftly takes the reader from the bright lights of Hollywood to the mysterious jungles of the Yucatan. The book is filled with int... read more

Only Once in a Lifetime by Alejandro Grattan Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's a story that takes in a complete life, from childhood well into adulthood, and from rags to riches. It's a story that is of interest to we residents in the Lake Chapala area as it starts out in Ajijic and covers a fair number of years there - or should I say here. On page one we encounter ten-year-old Francisco Obregón, a homeless barefoot orphan outside the Old Posada on the Ajijic waterfront. It's 1940 and Francisco is hustling for odd jobs and tips. It's the only way he can manage to survive. read more

The Insider's Guide: Mexico's Lake Chapala and Ajijic Reviewed by Allan Cogan

I'm filled with admiration and respect for The Insider's Guide. Its 368 pages are so complete and comprehensive and so well thought out and so well organized. Teresa Kendrick and her colleagues have done a wonderful job of providing and packaging a full authoritative range of information, not only for long and short-term residents of the Lake Chapala area but also for those many people who seem to be contemplating coming here either to live as permanent retiree-residents or as snowbirds. read more

Head for Mexico: The Renegade Guide by Don Adams Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Don Adams and his collaborators have produced a guide that's aimed directly at those people up north who are contemplating coming here, either permanently or for lengthy annual visits. The resulting volume is, in my opinion, a real winner. The various chapters are divided into topics such as putting your financial affairs in order and arranging for transfers of money.... read more

Mexico Magic by Dru Pearson Reviewed by Allan Cogan

.Dru Pearson begins her account of her first four seasons in Ajijic starting in the summer of 2000 when she loaded or, rather, overloaded her VW van with as many belongings as it would hold, and she and her dog, Bailey, drove (slowly, she emphasizes) to Laredo. However, before she even reached the U.S./ Mexico border, the vehicle broke down and she found herself by the roadside in 110 degree temperatures, unloading twelve boxes of belongings, plus a TV, a computer complete with monitor and printer and other sundry items. However, a mechanic answered her call and the car was repaired and she made it across the border at Laredo, starting the 750 mile stretch to Ajijic on the shores of Lake Chapala. read more
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