Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge discussion

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2019 Read Harder Challenge > Task #7: An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America

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message 1: by Book Riot (new)

Book Riot Community (book_riot) | 406 comments Mod
Use this space to discuss books you're reading or that might fit the 7th Read Harder task.


message 3: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?


message 4: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

I hate to say no, but García Márquez was Colombian...he lived in Mexico for a good deal of time, but he, I believe, always is identified with his native South American birthplace.


message 6: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

I hate to say no, but García Márquez was Colombian...he lived in Mexico for a good deal of time, but he, I belie..."


Oh maaan, that sucks! But thanks anyway, I'll just have to search some more. :)


message 7: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

If you're interested in Nobel laureates, Octavio Paz from Mexico and Miguel Ángel Asturias from Guatemala might be a better fit. I love Paz!


message 8: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

If you're interested in Nobel laureates, Octavio Paz from Mexico and Miguel Ángel Asturias from Guatemala might ..."


Thank you for the recommendations! I don't know exactly what I'm looking for other than something that peaks my interest. I'm trying to find something in the fantasy genre if that's possible... :P


message 9: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Stine wrote: "Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

If you're interested in Nobel laureates, Octavio Paz from Mexico and Miguel Ángel Asturias from..."


All eyes are turning to Laura Esquivel...if you've already read Like Water for Chocolate, she's written a sequel... just saying. I'm sure you'll find the perfect fit.


message 10: by Monica (new)


message 11: by Mercedes (last edited Dec 18, 2018 05:06AM) (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments https://www.google.com/amp/s/bookriot...

https://lithub.com/15-books-by-contem...

'm looking stuff up for others. Mexico has a rich literary tradition.


message 12: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 39 comments Stine wrote: "Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

If you're interested in Nobel laureates, Octavio Paz from Mexico and Miguel Ángel Asturias from..."


For fantasy(depending on how this category is defined) I'd suggest Signal to Noise or Certain Dark Things, both by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Certain Dark Things has vampires, but I wouldn't call it horror--the vampires are cast basically as gang leaders from powerful old families. I may read her Gods of Jade and Shadow when it comes out.

Of course, I'm conflicted about this category. The read harder people seem to be okay with anyone from Mexico/Central America writing books set in Mexico/Central America. But #own voices actually refers to marginalized identies, and people that are in the majority in their own country (even if they're marginalized when they come to America) don't really count.

That said, since book riot says it's okay, I may be loose in my definition. Though I think for #8 I might be stricter since it seems a lot easier to find fiction by Australian aboriginals, for instance. But I am curious if anyone knows of fiction by indigenous Mexicans/Central Americans (I've searched and found a lot of poetry but I don't want to read more poetry than I have to), or alternatively LGBTQ fiction I'd love to hear about it.


message 13: by Tracy (last edited Dec 18, 2018 06:59AM) (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 9 comments Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

I hate to say no, but García Márquez was Colombian...he lived in Mexico for a good deal of time, but he, I belie..."


This post just jarred my brain into realizing it specifically says CENTRAL AMERICA, and I listed books from South American authors. Crap!

In my defense I was up until all hours of the morning trying to make this list, it was hard!!!! So thats my excuse for being geographically challenged lol


message 14: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 6 comments Don't Send Flowers is a modern noir set in Mexico by a Mexican author about the drug cartels plaguing the area. Haven't read it yet, but it sounds amazing.


message 15: by Maggie (last edited Dec 18, 2018 08:12AM) (new)

Maggie Potter | 19 comments Stephen wrote: "Stine wrote: "Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

If you're interested in Nobel laureates, Octavio Paz from Mexico and Miguel Ángel..."


That's interesting.. I'd also like to find an author who is indigenous or LGBTQ+ or otherwise fits with the spirit of the #ownvoices prompt...

I found a poet, Natalia Toledo, from Mexico. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalia...

I might read one of her books of poetry... This one looks good and would also count as written by a women/ translated by a woman... The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems

And it would count as a book with less than 100 reviews on goodreads...


message 16: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 47 comments I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala This seems to be a good match. She's also a Nobel Prize winner, so I may use it for a different challenge. I'm trying to hit as many different countries as possible, so I'd be happy to hear of any other options that are not for Mexico or Guatemala.


message 17: by Milena (new)

Milena (milenas) | 85 comments Shelley wrote: "I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala This seems to be a good match. She's also a Nobel Prize winner, so I may use it for a different challenge. I'm trying to hit as many ..."

Ooh, my library actually has this one.


message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (annbeman) | 40 comments This one - Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - looks intriguing. "A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City." And according to the author's bio, "named one of the best books of the year [2015] by BookRiot, Tordotcom, BuzzFeed, io9, and more."


message 19: by Dana (new)

Dana | 5 comments Would Next Year in Havana count? I'm not sure if Cuba is considered part of Central America or not.


message 20: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha D (windmillstilt) | 49 comments I chose Fruit of the Drunken Tree for this task since it also works for another challenge's(the Read Women Challenge) task. Plus it sounds good.


message 21: by Cristy (new)

Cristy (cristy_n) | 30 comments Tabitha wrote: "I chose Fruit of the Drunken Tree for this task since it also works for another challenge's(the Read Women Challenge) task. Plus it sounds good."

Fruit of the Drunken Tree does not fulfill this task as it is set in South America (Colombia).


message 22: by Cristy (new)

Cristy (cristy_n) | 30 comments Ann wrote: "This one - Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - looks intriguing. "A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City...."

Cuba is not part of Central America. CA countries include: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Hope that helps!


message 23: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Stephen wrote: "Stine wrote: "Mercedes wrote: "Stine wrote: "Could One Hundred Years of Solitude fit in this category?"

If you're interested in Nobel laureates, Octavio Paz from Mexico and Miguel Ángel..."


Thank you so much for the recommendations!

I agree with you about the #ownvoices issue. I've made my decision for the Oseania-challenge, and have it be set in/near Oseania, and it having a lesbian character written by a lesbian author.


message 24: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (vlgrantham) | 7 comments Ann wrote: "This one - Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - looks intriguing. "A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City...."

I'm going with this one, too!


message 25: by Ann (new)

Ann (annshow) | 45 comments I picked Signal to Noise also! It’s been on my TBR since I picked it for a previous year’s challenge and chose another option.


message 26: by Ann (last edited Dec 19, 2018 06:11PM) (new)

Ann (annbeman) | 40 comments Cristy wrote: "Ann wrote: "This one - Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - looks intriguing. "A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of ..."

It takes place in Mexico City, not Cuba. You meant to respond to Dana re: Next Year in Havana, message No. 19.


message 27: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1306 comments Obviously everyone modifies this challenge to meet their needs, and that is how it should be. For those that want to follow this prompt as written, I just want to mention that a lot of these books are not ownvoices. Ownvoices means it is written by an author from a marginalized group writing from that particular perspective. A Mexican or Central American writer is not necessarily part of a marginalized group in his/her/their country. I have not found anything of interest that fits the challenge so far, but I will be following this discussion. There have been some suggestions for things I am going to check out.


message 28: by Stine (last edited Dec 20, 2018 01:40AM) (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Yay, I finally think I've found a book that fits the description for this challenge, and that I'm exited to read:

Mundo Cruel: Stories

It's set in Puerto Rico, and the author is gay, so #ownvoices

(it also fits the prompt about a book translated by a woman)


message 29: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Dana wrote: "Would Next Year in Havana count? I'm not sure if Cuba is considered part of Central America or not."

Dana, I too researched Cuban authors (I'm Cuban myself.) I hate to sound like a geography policewoman from hell, but Cuba, and all other Antillean islands are considered part of North America. HOWEVER, North America, the continent, I believe starts at the isthmus separating the Americas at the canal, which naturally includes central America.... confused? I am. The sad reality is that Cuba is not considered a Central America country.
I hope I'm wrong and open to correction from anyone who's better versed in geography than I.

Keep looking!


message 30: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments According to several websites, the following 7 countries make up Central America:

Belize
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panamá

The island nations of the Caribbean are not included.


message 31: by Mercedes (last edited Dec 20, 2018 05:29AM) (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Reading between the lines, my take is that we read about one of the countries whose citizens are making up the bulk of the immigrants marching towards the US, who are mainly central Americans. My interpretation and only my interpretation...ok?


message 32: by Tracy (last edited Dec 20, 2018 05:39AM) (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 9 comments I still can't find anything for this prompt that I would actually consider #ownvoices.....Why is this so hard?????

I may stretch and use an author FROM Mexico or Central America and not worry about the setting? I just don't feel like searching. Guess I'll keep an eye on the thread.

Or maybe I'll just use my geographically challenged 3am end of searching for Book Riot prompt books choices I made, which are South American. Oh well.....


message 33: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) | 9 comments Mercedes wrote: "Reading between the lines, my take is that we read about one of the countries whose citizens are making up the bulk of the immigrants marching towards the US, who are mainly central Americans. .."

This is actually a really great and timely interpretation, Mercedes.


message 34: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Tracy wrote: "Mercedes wrote: "Reading between the lines, my take is that we read about one of the countries whose citizens are making up the bulk of the immigrants marching towards the US, who are mainly centra..."

That's Book Riot for you, ain't it? I love it.


message 35: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 6 comments Bonnie wrote: "Obviously everyone modifies this challenge to meet their needs, and that is how it should be. For those that want to follow this prompt as written, I just want to mention that
a lot of these books ..."


From what I gather on the website of the originator (http://www.corinneduyvis.net/ownvoice...


I think Mexican and Central Americans would be considered part of this if they identify as persons of color. Because of this on the website:

And “a” marginalized identity, not “all.” Sometimes a character will be part of a group the author isn’t. For example: a straight Cuban author writing a lesbian Cuban protagonist. As long as there’s another marginalized aspect of their identity they do share, it’s #ownvoices. (I have more on this further down.)


message 36: by Allie (new)

Allie (allieeveryday) Stephanie wrote: "Bonnie wrote: "Obviously everyone modifies this challenge to meet their needs, and that is how it should be. For those that want to follow this prompt as written, I just want to mention that
a lot..."


I think the point being made above is that a (for example) Cuban author is not marginalized in Cuba. So a Cuban author might be writing their own experience, but that experience is only potentially marginalized in cultures that are not their own.


message 37: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 6 comments ok, so my suggestion doesn't count. I imagine central American female authors would count on principle since women are a marginalized group the world over? Is that correct?


message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen Witzler (kewitzler) | 123 comments With the discussion above in mind, I am going with City of Kings by Rosario Castellanos. From the perspective of an Anglo-American she would represent #ownvoices of Mexico. However, she was not a member of the groups indigenous to Chiapas, and it is the relationships between the different castes of Mexican society that are brought forward in her work. Plus being female in a male-dominated society. Surprisingly difficult task!


message 39: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 6 comments I think persons of color count in her description of Own Voices (http://www.corinneduyvis.net/ownvoices/) and also her discussion of the We Need Diverse Books definition of "diverse": "We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities."


message 40: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 6 comments I'm going with Recollections of Things to Come by Elena Garro. It's a story of the Mexican revolution told from the perspective of the town itself and follows a family as they wade through the political unrest.

Close enough!


message 41: by Cristy (new)

Cristy (cristy_n) | 30 comments Ann wrote: "Cristy wrote: "Ann wrote: "This one - Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - looks intriguing. "A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the..."

My apologies, I definitely met the one set in Cuba.


message 42: by Stine (new)

Stine Hopsdal | 19 comments Okay, so I recon my previous suggestion of a story set in Puerto Rico doesn't count as Central America, but I've found another one. Yay!

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club

It's set in Mexico, the author is of Mexican decent, and is also gay, writing about gay characters.


message 43: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Charlotte wrote: "ok, so my suggestion doesn't count. I imagine central American female authors would count on principle since women are a marginalized group the world over? Is that correct?"

Charlotte, I believe your suggestion does fit the bill. What Mexicans in certain areas of the country, men, women and children, are experiencing because of the drug industry, is horrendously suppressing.


message 44: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 6 comments Mercedes - I thought so too, but wasn't sure if marginalization extended beyond personal identity and into a cultural context as well. If marginalization is defined as oppression that renders a population helpless and powerless then I also think Don't Send Flowers (gang violence, poverty, drugs, etc) is apt.

I'm also under the impression that the #ownvoices tag means that the author and protagonist/s must share an identity and the story must emphasize that perspective. I don't know if the author is/was destitute, but the impression I get is an attempt to grant the reader a realistic portrait of a terrorized group of people who live in fear. The author has regional knowledge that those outside Mexico do not possess regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and race.


message 45: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Charlotte wrote: "Mercedes - I thought so too, but wasn't sure if marginalization extended beyond personal identity and into a cultural context as well. If marginalization is defined as oppression that renders a pop..."

Both your choices seem totally appropriate from where I'm sitting. I hope you enjoy your book, whichever you choose; they both sound fascinating to me. Saludos!


message 46: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (villadinorah) | 125 comments Charlotte wrote: "Mercedes - I thought so too, but wasn't sure if marginalization extended beyond personal identity and into a cultural context as well. If marginalization is defined as oppression that renders a pop..."

Both your choices seem totally appropriate from where I'm sitting. I hope you enjoy your book, whichever you choose; they both sound fascinating to me. Saludos!


message 47: by Sarah Ruth (new)

Sarah Ruth (smurf_bunny) I was having a hard time finding a good description of what #ownvoices even means, so thanks to those of you who explained it here. I may have to rethink my choices now... I have no idea if they fit this prompt!


message 48: by Kate (new)

Kate | 116 comments Stine wrote: "Okay, so I recon my previous suggestion of a story set in Puerto Rico doesn't count as Central America, but I've found another one. Yay!

[book:Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club|13237..."


Ooh, thanks for this suggestion! It is held by my library and looks like a great and relatively quick read.


message 49: by Whitney (last edited Dec 22, 2018 10:55PM) (new)

Whitney Stephanie et. al. already posted this, but since it's by the originator of the hashtag #ownvoices, it bears repeating (and reading!) http://www.corinneduyvis.net/ownvoices/

She says herself it's not about policing who is counted as marginalized, the main idea is that the protagonist and the author share a marginalized identity. This is absolutely the key point. Can you say "Character and author are both (insert identity here)"?

So, if you take a broad view that all Central American women fit the "marginalized" category, any book written by a Central American women with a Central American female character would fit. One about a male gang member would not (unless writer and character had some other prominent marginalized identity, of course).

I question a book like Don't Send Flowers. It looks great, (and it's definitely going on my TBR!) but how does it fit the formula "Character and Author are both ------ "?


message 50: by Hella (new)

Hella For this category, I'm going to choose a book by Angeles Mastretta, a great Mexican writer who is well known for creating inspirational female characters and fictional pieces that reflect the social and political realities of Mexico in her life (quote from her Wikipedia page) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81n...


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