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The 12 Days of Xicana-Friendly Reading


Every week (okay, almost every week), we blogger folk gather 'round to swap ideas, commiserate sad stories of opposition, and voice our thoughts on all that is wonderful and lame about this city we call San Antonio and this humble little alt weekly known as The Current.

At this week's meet-up, someone (Up All Night? Femme Nation? TechTease? Whitecotton?) threw out the idea of presenting a list of books we have read, want to read, will read, or maybe don't want to but think someone else should read. Having a mild case of literary ADD myself, I thought the idea was brilliant. So, my dear readers - all four of you - I formally invite you into my world to partake in what I have been reading these last few weeks, months, and years (and some of what I've yet to start and/or finish).

With the holiday season upon us, I give you The 12 Days of Xicana-Friendly Reading. Not all writers mentioned here are Xican@ - or even Mexican@, for that matter. Rather, this is a list of voices who have inspired me. (I enjoy the occasional helping of Salinger and Hemingway just as much as any other American, though they are not mentioned here.) By including a couple of non-Xican@ authors, I hope to evince that it's possible - even necessary - to be influenced by writers who are different than you and stories unlike your own.

Day 1: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by Richard Rodriguez

Day 2: The Color Purple by Alice Walker (celebrating 25 years since the equally significant release of the film)

Day 3: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Faith and Empowerment among Mexican-American Women by Jeanette Rodriguez

Day 4: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Won the Pulitzer!)

Day 5: Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation by John Phillip Santos (Who doesn't love a native San Antonio tongue?)

Day 6: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (Check out some supplementary reading on this book in relation to feminist thought and theory.)

Day 7: Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana by Demetria Martínez

Day 8: Gay Marriage by Jonathan Rauch (Okay, so I'm biased.)

Day 9: Drug Lord: A True Story by Terrence E. Poppa (This one might be a good place to start if you've got any kind of interest in the sensationalism of Mexico's drug war.)

Day 10: Cayetana by Frances Treviño (Poetry. I fell in love with this book after hearing Treviño's oral rendition of "Jefferson High School Has New Bathooms" at The Twig recently.)

Day 11: Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change edited by Norma E. Cantú and Olga Nájera-Ramírez

Day 12: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (At 457 pages, you might be reading through Easter.)

Most of these books can be found at the major book retailers, but a few of them are harder finds. I've been able to find nearly all of them at The Twig Bookstore at Pearl. L&M Books on N. Main is also a great place to venture to in search of Xican@ canonical contributions.

Feel free to send your comments, feedback, suggestions, love letters, and hate mail to me at

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