Reading Villalobos in McAllen

A guest post by Elliott Turner:

About seven years ago, I was broke. I was drowning in student loan and credit card debt. I had a wife and young family in Latin America, and needed a steady job in the US ASAP to be able to bring them to the US. I’d crashed at my mom’s place a few months, but couldn’t stay there forever. Thus, I scanned job openings online every day and applied for a gig in an area of the United States often overlooked: the Rio Grande Valley, that patch of arid Texas land just North of Mexico.

It was a decision that would change my life forever. And I will forever link that period of my life to a groundbreaking novella about the narco-estado by Juan Pablo Villalobos.

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“Abre Los Hojos” – ​Désirée Zamorano on the dangers of selective perception

A guest post by Désirée Zamorano on the dangers of selective perception.

From Wikipedia: “Selective perception is the tendency not to notice and more quickly forget stimuli that cause emotional discomfort and contradict our prior beliefs.”

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What I’ve Taken Away From Talented LatinX Authors

A warning: you have probably already read the books in this list. They are brilliant. However, sometimes the baggage we the reader bring to a work of fiction can be just as fun as the actual written prose. Or, at the very least, our flawed perceptions when devouring a great work of fiction are embarrassing and amusing in equal measure. That’s kinda why book clubs in person and/or subreddits are so much fun.

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Guest Review: Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. (How often do you get to say that?) It’s a middle-grade novel, published in 2000, and it won the Pura Belpré award, which is the award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. (From the ALA website: The award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.) This engaging, warm-hearted novel not only made me feel, it made me think, opening my eyes to a chapter of American history I’d regretfully never been aware of.

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