Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge

Mexico 2010

Mexico is the land of my birth, and a country with incredibly rich cultural and literary traditions. I’ve been meaning to read more Mexican literature for a while, and now is the time to get started. This year is the bicentenary of Mexico’s independence from Spain and the centenary of its revolution. What better way to celebrate two bloodbaths than with a nice reading challenge?

In honour of the tricolor, the flag of Mexico, the challenge is to read three books of Mexican literature, history, or art. Of course you can read more, and I certainly intend to. There is also a crossover with the Biodiversity Reading Challenge—Mexico is considered a “megadiverse” country and is home to 10% of Earth’s species. Books on on Mexican biodiversity will count for both challenges!

Below is my own list of books I want to read, as well as some resources (in English) about Mexican literature. At the bottom, as usual, I have posted badges for this challenge. I hope some of you still have some room in your reading calendar for this challenge. There is a lot more to Mexico than sun and sand, and I hope this challenge will do a little to show that Mexico has much to offer to readers.

Web pages on Mexican Literature:

Wikipedia: Mexican Literature

Words Without Borders: The Online Magazine for International Literature: Mexico

Nobel Prize: Octavio Paz

Mexican literature at the crossroads of three cultures

20th Century Mexican Literature

Books on Mexican Literature:

Mexican Literature: A History

Mexico: A Traveler’s Literary Companion (Preface)

Mexican Writers on Writing

Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction

The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics

My List:

A Sor Juana Anthology
Alan Trueblood (Trans.)

17th century poet, nun, feminist.

The Underdogs
Mariano Arzuela

Most famous novel of the revolution.

The Mangy Parrot: The Life And Times Of Periquillo Sarniento Written By Himself For His Children
Jose Joaquin Fernandez De Lizardi

The Don Quixote of Latin America.

The Labyrinth of Solitude
Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize, Cervantes Prize)

Quintissential work on the Mexican national character.

Where the Air Is Clear
Carlos Fuentes (Cervantes Prize)

On the character of Mexico City.

Massacre in Mexico
Elena Poniatowska (Xavier Villaurrutia Prize)

One of the darkest chapters in Mexico’s recent history.

El arte de la fuga
Sergio Pitol (Cervantes Prize)

Selected Poems of Pacheco
Jose Emilio Pacheco (Cervantes Prize)

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
Laura Esquivel

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo
Hayden Herrera

On Mexico’s most famous artist.

Malinche: A Novel
Laura Esquivel

Re-imagining the “Eve” of the conquest era.

…plus any winners of the Sor Juana Prize I can find in English.


Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge
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150 pixel version
Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge
200 pixel version
150 pixel version
Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge
200 pixel version
150 pixel version
Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge
200 pixel version
150 pixel version

Compañeros y compañeras:

Lynda at Lynda’s Book Blog

Eva at A Striped Armchair

Iliana at Bookgirl’s Nightstand

Danielle at A Work in Progress

Lourdes at Pisti Totol

Poncho at Elogios

Richard at Caravana de Recuerdos : El Testigo

Andromeda at Letras en tinta

Taryn at bookwanderer


30 comments on “Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge

  1. Sylvia says:

    That's great, Lynda!

  2. Stefanie says:

    I don't think I can do the full challenge but maybe I will be able to squeeze in the Octavio Paz book I've had sitting on my too read shelf for ages. Say, would it count to read an American writing about Mexico? I'm thinking of Steinbeck's Log from the Sea of Cortez. Ah, but I suppose that on fits in more with the biodiversity challenge.

  3. Sylvia says:

    Stefanie, I think the Steinbeck might just count as a crossover. Throw in a viewing of Like Water for Chocolate and/or Frida and we'll call it the “mild” (as opposed to “medum” or “hot”) challenge. 😉

  4. Eva says:

    Oh no! You're tempting me with yet another one! I'm sure I'll join in; I just have to think about my list. 🙂

  5. Brian says:

    A couple of suggestions:

    Cristina Rivera Garza, “No One Will See Me Cry.” (Premio Sor Juana)

    Gonzalo Celorio, “And Let The Earth Tremble At Its Centers” (published by the Univ. of Texas Press)

  6. Sylvia says:

    The more the merrier, Eva!

    Thanks for that, Brian, I will check them out!

  7. Iliana says:

    Thank you so much for hosting the challenge, Sylvia. It's wonderful – count me in!

  8. Sylvia says:

    Great, Iliana! I see you'll be reading Noche de Tlatelolco/Massacre in Mexico too so we'll get to compare notes. I'll probably read it in English because my Spanish is abysmal—something else to work on this year!

  9. I love Octavio Paz he's one of my favorite poets, he's not Mexican but Pablo Neruda is even better. That's a great challenge, I'll have to join you on a few of them this year.
    You were born in Mexico? Did you live there?

  10. Sylvia says:

    Yes, I was born in Mexico and lived there for a few years before coming to Canada. I don't remember much, but I think my metabolism remembers the warmth!

  11. Danielle says:

    I think I'll have to join you in this–three books is manageable I think. I went through a huge phase of reading Hispanic Literature/NF about ten years or so ago and I have an entire shelf (double stacked) devoted to the topic. I've actually read most of them but I know there are some that I hadn't gotten to. It'll be fun to investigate and read a few that have been there far too long and ignored. I love Like Water for Chocolate by the way. The movie, too. I even had the movie poster framed and hanging on my wall until a neighbor (was living in an apartment at the time) was hammering and caused my poster to fall and the glass shattered! I'm still annoyed by that. Anyway, will post my choices soon.

  12. Sylvia says:

    That's great, Danielle! And isn't it the little annoyances that stay with us? I still regret losing a favourite shirt while on holiday nearly 20 years ago! 😀

  13. Sylvia says:

    Great list, Eva. I will have to check out that Krauze. Hope I don't drop it on my toe!

  14. Lourdes says:

    Wonderful Challenge! Thank you for the great links. I might include Elena Poniatowska, Angeles Mastretta's Arráncame la vida and Brian's suggestion Cristina Rivera Garza, No One Will See Me Cry.

    I'm so glad I found your site!

    Will post on my own site when I get a chance.

  15. Sylvia says:

    Hi Lourdes! Thanks for the suggestions & welcome to the challenge!

  16. Poncho says:

    I accidentally found your blog while netsurfing, and read all about this challenge.

    While I'm Mexican, I can't recall having read anything from this country in a while, so I'll be joining the challenge as well, though I might push myself a little more.

    Thanks for this suggestion, and congrats on your blog!

  17. Sylvia says:

    Mucho gusto, Poncho! I'm glad you found the challenge and will be joining in!

  18. Richard says:

    I wasn't planning on joining any challenges this year, Sylvia, but I'll have to think about this one because I love the theme. And I love your list! I read a José Emilio Pachecho novella last year, the Mariano Azuela novel the year before, and have read parts of the Poniatowska book over the years–all great. Sor Juana is awesome, of course, too. Anyway, good luck with the challenge (I'll be back from time to time to check out the reviews even if I don't sign up). ¡Saludos!

  19. Sor Juana de la Cruz is wonderful. I wrote about one of her most famous sonnets here and here.

    And now I remember that I also read the 18th century neo-Latin Rusticatio Mexicana by the Jesuit priest Rafael Landívar, which I heard about from you. I can't exactly recommend it, though.

    I sure hope somebody reads The Mangy Parrot (1816) by José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi. I want to know about it.

    This is a great idea for a challenge.

  20. Sylvia says:

    Thanks Richard! You're certainly welcome to spectate, and I will do my best to link to other reviews from this challenge too.

    Amateur Reader, I'm sorry to hear Landívar's work wasn't so good. I guess it's just as well I can't access a copy of it. The Mangy Parrot sounds like great fun. I think I'll have to add it to my list. Thanks!

  21. Richard says:

    Sylvia, I've come to my senses and joined your challenge after all! ¡Gracias! My sign-up post is here:

  22. Sylvia says:

    ¡Órale! That's great, Richard. I'm glad you've decided to give post-Gutenberg literature another chance! 😉

  23. Poncho says:

    BTW here's the link for my list (I'll be adding books as time goes)…

  24. Sylvia says:

    Thanks, Poncho, I put the link just above the comments here.

  25. bookwanderer says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I've signed on to participate! My Mexico 2010 challenge post and reading list are here. Thanks for hosting such a good challenge!

  26. Sylvia says:

    That's great, bookwanderer, I'll add you to the list. Thanks for joining in!

  27. Bibliobabe says:

    I posted a page with ALL current reading challenges. Let me know if you want me to add any other information about yours. I hope it brings even more readers to your challenge!
    Reading Challenges.

    Rachelle (Bibliobabe)

  28. Sylvia says:

    Whoops, sorry for taking so long to acknowledge this. Thanks for the listing, Rachelle!

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