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Showing 1—25 of 230 results

Mexican mezcal in the global spirits market: Unrivalled complexity, innumerable nuances Reviewed by William B. Kaliher

Mexican mezcal in the global spirits market: Unrivalled complexity, innumerable nuances,
A Mexico book by Alvin Gary Starkman, M.A., J.D.
© Alvin Gary Starkman, M.A., J.D., 2014

Derived from the agave plant, mescal — or mezcal — has been enjoyed since before the Spanish conquest.

Most is produced in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and, as with so many distilled spirits, reveals distinct nuances in smoothness, smokiness and flavor.

How each producer distills is also unique to his facility and likely his family history of making mezcal. ondenser is kept cool through circulating it or by continuously using new cool water, and so on. No two traditional clay distillers or copper pot distillers use exactly the same recipe unless they are close family members.

A friend said, Alvin Starkman has written the best book on mezcal in the English language.... 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

Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition Reviewed by Karen Hursh Graber

An ice cream vendor in Merida
The Canadian author and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro said that "The constant happiness is curiosity." If this is the case, then chef and cookbook writer David Sterling must have taken great joy in putting this book together, for it reflects tireless research that was surely driven by an intense desire to learn as much as possible about the cuisine and the culinary traditions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Sterling's 2014 book may well be considered the definitive work on the foodways of the Yucatan. read more

Amazing medical mission to Mexico Reviewed by Marvin West

Mr. Alexander Dumas

Stan Brock, an unusual Englishman made semi-famous by his role in the TV series Wild Kingdom, had founded something called Remote Area Medical and was soliciting volunteers for a three-week mission to one of the Tuxpans somewhere in the mountains of Mexico.

He described the poverty, misery and misfortune that plagued the small village. He talked of deadly disease and infant mortality. His plea for the primitive Indians, the Huichols, may have actually triggered a few tears among the tough military trainees...

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Guide to the Birds of the Primavera Forest Reviewed by John Pint

The Illustrated Guide to the Birds of the Primavera Forest by Oscar Reyna is available from the Primavera Park Service in Guadalajara, Mexico
© John Pint, 2014
The Primavera Forest is a protected area of oak and pine trees covering over 36,000 hectares, located due west of Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city. In 2010, the administrators of the forest published "Aves del Bosque La Primavera-Guía Ilustrada" (Illustrated Guide to the Birds of the Primavera Forest) by Oscar Reyna Bustos. Nature photographer Jesús Moreno described the book as "The fruit of many years of hard work and a great deal of time spent in the field..." read more

Tears from the Crown of Thorns: The Easter Passion Play in San Miguel de Allende Reviewed by Allan Cogan

"People unfamiliar with the Latin culture are curious, confused, and sometimes repulsed by the emphasis on suffering in religious figures. During Easter in North America, the focus is on the resurrection and the delights of spring. The event is concerned with the awe of transformation. There is resistance to facing the suffering that is a major part of this epic…." read more

Wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula: The Explorer Family's Guide and Journal Reviewed by James Tipton

This little book is just the right size to tuck into your glove compartment or even into a large shirt pocket. Wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula: The Explorer Family's Guide and Journal is a collection, divided into three color-coded sections, of fifty photos of marine life, mammal life, and bird life that you may encounter in the Yucatan Peninsula... 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

Riding off the Edge of the Map Reviewed by James Tipton

Riding off the Edge of the Map by David Bryen

Do you remember that best seller several decades ago, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in which author Robert Pirsig details (but gets lost in digressions) a motorcycle trip from Wisconsin to California?

David Bryen's new book, Riding off the Edge of the Map, is a much better book, detailing (and reflecting upon) a far more fascinating motorcycle trip — through Mexico's Copper Canyon.

What began as a pleasure trip metamorphosed into something else: "The highway had deteriorated from asphalt to terror..."

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Playing for Pancho Villa Reviewed by James Tipton

Book cover-Playing for Pancho Villa
he year was 1916. Young Frank Holloway "got mercury poisoning working in the Silver Creek Mine in Mogollón, New Mexico." To recover his health, his doctor told him to get away and go have "an adventure."

And so… perhaps lacking judgment because of the mercury poisoning, Frank opted for danger as well as adventure. On Tosca, his beloved mare, he rode south, and fifty miles west of El Paso he crossed the border into Mexico.

Frank, "with a fool's luck, managed to pick his way… between horse thieves from both sides, the Texas rangers who pursued them, Pancho Villa's Dorados, General Pershing's 6,000 gringo troops who were chasing Villa after the raid at Columbus, New Mexico,... read more

Lancandon Journal - 1969 Reviewed by James Tipton

In July of 1969, Bulgarian born artist-adventurer Dimitar Krustev, almost 50 years old, and his inexperienced young companion named Gary set off, in their folding kayak, to explore, traveling on its waters, the jungles of southern Chiapas, the still largely unknown land of the Lancandon Maya.

In 1969, this culture was already in decline, undermined by the relentless forces of what some still call progress.

Jungle adventures are always challenging. This trip was a very difficult one for Gary, his young companion, and although difficult as well for Krustev, the artist was generally of a calm and philosophically disposed spirit... read more

Let the Water Hold Me Down Reviewed by James Tipton

Let the Water Hold Me Down has the makings of a classic.

It is written with skill and with grace, and the old verities that are at the heart of being human are here: loss and grief, guilt and longing, loyalty and love.

Set in modern-day Mexico, it tells the story of Hank Singer and is also about his relationship with César Lobos de Madrid, whose "family was one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most politically connected in Chiapas, if not in all of Mexico."

Hank has arrived just a few weeks before the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, led by Subcomandante Marcos, who on January 1, 1994, declared war against the government and the military... read more

Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan Reviewed by James Tipton

Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan begins in 1906, in those tense years just preceding the Mexican Revolution. A woman in Merida is giving birth to a baby girl, who will be named Amanda Diaz, and who will be one of the principal characters in Xtabentum.

The young Amanda, with the help of her thoughtful father, begins to understand la Casta Divina, the Divine Class, and how most members of this class "considered themselves superior by birth and the lighter color of their skin." 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

The Mango Orchard: The Extraordinary True Story of Family Lost and Found Reviewed by James Tipton

All of his life, Bayley had listened to the stories told to him by his beloved grandmother, stories that usually were about her father, Bayley's great-grandfather Arturo (Arthur Greenhalgh, born 1874 in Tottington, England) who managed a cotton mill in western Mexico in those challenging years immediately preceding the Mexican Revolution.

Worried about life passing him by, in 1898 Arturo "kissed his sweetheart Mariah goodbye and set off on his Mexican adventures."

Bayley, over one-hundred years later, "was plagued by the same fear about life passing me by." read more

Mexican cookbooks of 2012: Some gift giving ideas Reviewed by Karen Hursh Graber

Taking a look at the past year's Mexican cookbook offerings, it seems that 2012 produced more specialized books than ever before. These are not your essential Mexican cookbooks (for that, go to Diana Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico or Adela Fernandez' La Traditional Cocina Mexicana), but they will add new dimensions to a basic Mexican culinary library. read more

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato & The Bajío Reviewed by James Tipton

I like the Moon Handbooks and I own several of them — well used, I might add. They are sturdy, easy to read, compact and therefore easily packable whether in luggage or purse or large pocket. This latest, a first edition, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato & The Bajío, covers one of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations.

A resident of San Miguel de Allende for several years, the author, Julie Doherty, writes both with affection and enthusiasm about the Bajío — a vast central plain that includes the states of Guanajuato and Querétaro.

She concentrates on two lovely towns, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, but she also offers us a glimpse of Querétaro City, Tequisquiapan, San Sebastian Bernal, Dolores Hildalgo, Mineral de Pozos, and the large manufacturing city of León. 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

Migration Reviewed by James Tipton

Migration by Bill Frayer
Bill Frayer just can't stop cranking out poems based on his two favorite themes: his new life in Mexico and his old life — particularly family memories — in the States.

Migration is his third book in a little over three years. Now collecting belongings has been replaced by collecting experiences, and collecting memories of past experiences.

I am reminded a bit of one of my dad's favorite tee-shirts, which reads: "The less you own, the more you have." read more

Ajijic: 500 Years of Adventures Reviewed by James Tipton

Ajijic: 500 Years of Adventures
The title announces that it is a history of "Ajijic: 500 Years of Adventures," but in fact, most of the book is a pleasant and satisfying collection of various articles, memoirs, interviews, about fairly recent life in Ajijic including Jocotepec and Chapala. This charming little book, put together by the Thomas Paine Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was compiled by long-term Ajijic residents Alexandra Bateman and Nancy Bollenbach. read more

Outdoors in Western Mexico Reviewed by James Tipton

For decades now, the Pints — who live in Zapopan, Jalisco — have wandered off-the-beaten paths in search of the beautiful and the mysterious and the interesting.

And in this book they have gathered articles they have written about rivers and canyons, caves, volcanoes (both active and inactive), hot (and cold) springs, waterfalls, petroglyphs, pre-Columbian tombs, circular pyramids, boiling mud pots, even poltergeists, and exotic flora and fauna… all within a few hours of Guadalajara. read more

Down and Delirious in Mexico City: Memoir by Daniel Hernandez digs deep into youth culture Reviewed by Dean Gallagher

Mexican-American author Daniel Hernandez has hit a fresh nail on an old head by exploring different youth cultures in Mexico City. Youth is a favored subject for a modern mass media obsessed with this ... read more

Flirting in Spanish: What Mexico taught me about love, living and forgiveness Reviewed by James Tipton

Flirting in Spanish: What Mexico taught me about love, living and forgiveness
Flirting in Spanish is not a "how-to-do-it" book. It is the true story of Susan McKinney, the 33-year-old daughter of former NBA coach Jack McKinney, who moved to Mexico to write, but soon met and "fell hopelessly and utterly in love" with Carlos, a poor Mexican teenager.

The story began in 1992 in San Miguel de Allende. Susan, in Mexico less than three months and having "decimated whatever savings I once had," supplemented her meagre but easy-earned modeling income by teaching English.

Carlos, the poor Mexican teenager, was indeed wise for his years; after her first class was over, he alone "remained, still seated at the second desk in the middle row, watching me." read more

Infernal Drums Reviewed by James Tipton

Our protagonist Jonah crosses the border at Nuevo Laredo — the year is 1996 — and heads over to the coast and down to Mazatlan.

"He found a cheap room at a dive called Hotel Milan in Old Town — the historic center of a coastal metropolis split into neatly demarcated districts of progress and poverty on a peninsula snaking up the coastline of Nayarit."

In Mazatlan he joins up with three New Zealanders, harmless jerks, introduces himself "and played at acting the chum." In San Blas — "on a spit of white land divided by estuaries, surrounded by jungle" — they buy some cheap dope, but the transaction turns out to be a set-up read more
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