Plano Reads: Mexico and Cinco de Mayo
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Plano Reads: Mexico and Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has become a popular holiday for many Americans. Here some titles which introduce and celebrate the literature, history, and cultural traditions of Mexico, the neighbor many Texans know well.


Cinco de Murder: A Taste of Texas Mystery by Rebecca Adler – It’s fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town for Cinco de Mayo festivities and a chili cookoff. But when one of the chili cooks is found dead, Josie and her friends must try to solve another cozy Lone Star mystery. Third in a series. | eBook 

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – In 1920s Mexico, Casiopea Tun opens a wooden box, releasing the spirit of the Mayan god of death, Hun-Kamé. Casiopea becomes tethered to this god, who is on a quest to retake Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, from his twin brother Vucub-Kamé. Historical fiction set during Mexico’s transition from its 1910 Revolution into the Jazz Age, it is also filled with references to Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic mythology and magic, as its characters travel throughout Mexico, from the Yucatán, the home of the Maya, to Baja California. Print | eBook

The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia (also available in Spanish as El murmullo de las abejas) – The first novel by acclaimed Mexican writer Sofía Segovia to be translated into English, this is the story of Simonopio, a baby found abandoned, disfigured, and covered by bees, in a small Mexican town. Adopted by the Morales family, he becomes a gifted child followed by a protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats only he can see. But in time, Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will be divined and understood. Set in the early years of the twentieth century, this remarkable novel captures the fate of a nation in transition and a family which has embraced the inexplicable. Print | Spanish


Puebla Heroica directed by Juan Prieto (in Spanish) – Between 1862 and 1863, Puebla became the scene of two episodes of great importance in the history of Mexico: The Battle of May 5, 1862 (Cinco de Mayo) and The 62-day Siege of Puebla in 1863, a Mexican military defeat which allowed France to establish its Second Mexican Empire. Puebla Heroica is a documentary film in two chapters, narrating the heroism and tragedy that marked both key moments in the evolution of modern Mexico’s national identity. DVD 


Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernández – This is the dramatic story of the magonistas, the migrant rebels of Baja California who helped to spark the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Led by a brilliant but ill-tempered radical named Ricardo Flores Magón, the magonistas were a motley band of journalists, miners, migrant workers, who organized thousands of Mexican workers—and American dissidents—to their cause. Determined to oust Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz, the rebels had to outrun and outsmart the swarm of U. S. authorities vested in protecting the Diaz regime. The U.S. Departments of State, War, Treasury, and Justice as well as police, sheriffs, and spies, hunted the magonistas across the country. Capturing Ricardo Flores Magón in 1911 was one of the FBI’s first cases. Print |eBook

The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke who Created a Kingdom in the New World by Edward Shawcross – This impressive debut recounts a significant yet overlooked chapter in the 19th-century struggle over “who would govern the Americas, and how they would be governed.” It is the story of Habsburg Archduke Maximilian and his Belgian wife Charlotte/Carlota, who were installed by the French as Emperor and Empress of Mexico during the Second French Empire, 1861- 1867. Political intrigue, crisp battle scenes (including the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo 1862), and a richly textured portrait of Maximilian make this history at its most entertaining. Print 

Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico – This catalogue includes photographs by Lola Álvarez Bravo exhibited at St. Louis’ Pulitzer Arts Foundation in 2018-2019. Álvarez Bravo (1903-1993) lived and worked in Mexico City for more than sixty years as a pioneering modernist photographer. Her pictures of people at work and at leisure, of buildings new and old, and of a diverse array of landscapes bring to life an era of profound transformation in her country. Print

Mexico in Mind: An Anthology edited by Maria Finn – This scintillating literary travel guide gathers the work of great writers celebrating Mexico in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Ranging from 1843 to the present, Mexico in Mind offers a remarkably varied sampling of English-speaking writers’ impressions of the land south of the border. Print 

Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martinez – In a very personal tribute to its complex and delicious cuisines, Rick Martinez shares unique recipes collected during his once-in-a-lifetime journey through all of Mexico. eBook

Textile Fiestas of Mexico: A Traveler’s Guide to Celebrations, Markets, and Smart Shopping by Sheri Brautigam – This book presents the most accessible regional markets and artisan events in Mexico, with an emphasis on finding the finest quality traditional textiles and shopping ethically. Print 

Treasures of the Mexican Table by Pati Jinich – For the last decade, Pati Jinich has sought out the culinary treasures of her home country for her PBS television series, Pati’s Mexican Table. Each recipe is a classic, and each one comes with a story told in Pati’s warm, relatable style. Now collected into a new cookbook, these essential recipes paint a vivid picture of the richness of Mexico and its distinctive and sophisticated foods. eBook 

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