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."
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?"
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 ...
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."
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
Frank Dolezal, fighting for Pancho Villa during the Mexican revolution, was captured by some of Venustiano Carranza's troops, taken before a mockery of a trial, and was charged with "Treason against the legitimate government of Mexico." With fifteen other prisoners he was taken to a clearing, offered a final cigarette, and then shot.
Miraculously he survived.
New World Women is a native women artisan group in Tecalpulco, Guerrero who decided to form a production cooperative. These skilled artisans are the original designers and producers, creating beautiful jewelry. Theirs is a cottage industry with a goal of perpetuating the region's craft tradition and creating a source of work that can keep their people at home — an alternative to migrating to urban centers or to the U.S. These enterprising women utilize modern means of communication. They communicate through their web page and via romantic novelas serialized on blogs. They write e-mail, post videos on YouTube, and have published an unusual book: The New World Mexican Women Workbook: How to Make Your Own Traditional Mexican Jewelry.
"Well," you might be asking, "just what does a book titled 100 Love Sonnets have to do with Mexico?"
"A lot," I might answer, "because this is a collection 100 sonnets, the first 50 of which were written after the break-up of a fifteen-year marriage" and include fantasies of a future relationship.
The final 50 were written after the author meets Gioia in San Miguel de Allende. They become lovers and "The second half of the sonnets, from 51 on, were inspired by and written for her."
Both halves, though, are about extraordinary women.
When poet, accomplished musician, champion swimmer and a writer/editor who developed innovative Florida arts curricula entered Mexico, her experiences were deftly transformed into finely-nuanced poetry.
Margaret Van Every's bilingual lyric poetry, following the seventh century Japanese five-line Tanka format, affords the reader one pleasurable moment after another.
With well-honed sensibilities she unveils her day-by-day confrontation with Mexican culture and its people — a confrontation that soon became a love affair.
Tales from the Sierra Madre is not a miracle, just a beautiful, dedicated, determined effort finished by husband Howard and a few dozen of the McGills’ hundreds of friends.
It is an unusual book about many people and places and happenings, a delightful collection of her best columns, even favorite recipes and those who mixed, stirred and cooked.
Like Jenny was, the new book is vigorously alive. Characters are colorful but real.
Tales from the Sierra Madre is from Jenny – and for Jenny. With love.
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.
The authors tell us that "Since 2000, MedToGo's team have been touring hospitals and developing relationships with highly-recommended, skilled, board-certified, English-speaking doctors all over Mexico."
One of the results, certainly to be of interest to many travelers to Mexico as well as to the large expatriate community, is the Mexico Health and Safety Travel Guide. In addition to its "Comprehensive Directory of the Best Hospitals and English-Speaking Doctors," this well-organized and highly detailed (some 640 pages) reference is filled with lots of other useful information.
Since 1995, Mexconnect has featured books about Mexico, new and old. Here are links to the growing list.
This short book tries to answer questions that first-time Snowbirds who are thinking about driving (perhaps with RVs) down the Baja are likely to ask: "…could we really do it? Is it safe to drive there? Are the roads OK? What if the car breaks down? How do we buy food? Can we take the dog? What if we get sick? Can we drink the water?"
Baja California is a peninsula, over 1,000 miles long.
This is a powerful book! Four thousand people — men, women, and children — over the past ten years have died trying to cross the Arizona desert in search of better lives.
This is the story of some of those courageous people from Mexico and Central America, and it is also the story of some equally courageous people from the United States...
"Most Mexicans don't live on dirt farms, wear sombreros and eat only beans and tortillas. Most Mexicans stay in Mexico because they think the quality of life is better than in the United States. … These are their stories." To write Modern Mexico, "Mexico" Mike Nelson talked with lots of people...
"Paradise Valley — five thousand acres of prime, flat, fertile farmland nestled in the Sierra Madre of northeastern Mexico, only a hundred miles from the American border."
Inspired by actual events, several Amish families — finding new state laws impossible to live under because they undermined their faith and way of life — set off in 1922 to begin a new life in Mexico.