Ten must-read 2022 books by Queer Latino authors
This year brought a fascinating and eclectic number of books by Latino authors to store shelves and online selections, spanning different genres and earning high praise from readers and reviewers alike.
Below is our list of 10 very distinctive works by U.S. Latino authors.
‘Trust’ by Hernan Diaz
The award-winning Peruvian American writer organizes this novel about the life of powerful financier Andrew Bevel and his wife, Mildred, into four sections, each forcing the reader to question what’s true and who really holds the power as it examines the ruthless pursuit of wealth. The novel, which is being developed as an HBO limited series, is a fictional dive into the world of finance, the 1920s and the ensuing Great Depression.
The compelling novel has been recognized as one of the top 10 books of 2022 by The New York Times and The Washington Post and as one of the best books of 2022 by Time, NPR, Vogue, Oprah Daily and others.
‘High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir’ by Edgar Gomez
Labeled as a “high-risk homosexual” after a doctor’s office visit, Edgar Gomez describes his experience growing up as a gay Latinx man and the issues around Latinidad and machismo in this highly praised debut memoir.
Through his humorous and touching storytelling, he invites readers into different aspects of his world — from his uncle’s cockfighting ring in Nicaragua to the queer spaces where he learned to love being a gay Latinx man.
‘Olga Dies Dreaming’ by Xochitl Gonzalez
In this novel about an Ivy League-educated high-end wedding planner — whose parents were Puerto Rican activists — the author deftly depicts a woman trying to balance the different worlds within New York, as well as family, work, romance and, more importantly, herself.
“The author paints a vivid and lively story throughout, highlighting various family dynamics, politics, history, queerness, inter-generational trauma, love, and more,” said Karen Ugarte, the manager at Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Los Angeles. “It has a little bit of everything!”
‘A Ballad of Love and Glory’ by Reyna Grande
Inspired by true events and historical figures in the Mexican American War, Grande’s novel follows the story of Ximena Salomé, a Mexican healer whose hopes of building a family come crashing down after the Texas Rangers kill her husband. After she joins the Mexican army to honor her late husband’s memory, she meets an Irish immigrant who eventually joins the Mexican army — and they fight for a future together.
Grande is the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel “The Distance Between Us,” as well as “Across a Hundred Mountains” and “Dancing with Butterflies.”
‘Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality’ by Tanya Katerí Hernández
“Because it’s so entrenched to deny that we have these problems with racism,” she said in a recent interview, Afro Latina legal scholar and professor Tanya K. Hernández’s book uses legal cases and accounts to show how Latinos have discriminated against Black Latinos and other people of color in different areas — from housing to employment to education.
Her book emphasizes the importance of recognizing the prevalence of Latino racism and its impact on everyday life as the Hispanic population grows, as well as its corrosive, real-world impact on Black Latinos’ and others’ livelihoods, economic opportunities and well-being.
‘The Hurting Kind’ by Ada Limón
In “The Hurting Kind,” Limón, who this year became the first female U.S. poet laureate of Latino and Mexican American heritage, weaves indelible snapshots of experiences and people — both living and dead — with unforgettable images of the flowers, trees and animals around her or lovingly dredged from her memories.
“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic — bouncing from trauma to trauma,” Limón said in an earlier interview. “It’s been such a tormented time.” Poetry, she said, is a way to connect to feelings, emotions and even stillness.
‘The Prophet of the Andes: An Unlikely Journey to the Promised Land’ by Graciela Mochkofsky
Journalist and author Graciela Mochkofsky, the dean of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, spent years researching the incredible story of Segundo Villanueva, a Peruvian self-taught biblical scholar who converted to Judaism and led a group of followers first to the jungle and later to Israel. Although Villanueva’s life took a different turn, many of his followers and their children, known as “Inca Jews,” are still in Israel.
Mochkofsky, who is from Argentina, said in a discussion of her book that Villanueva was “a pioneer” of a movement that is spreading in Latin America — dozens of communities across several countries that have mainly eschewed Catholicism, turned to evangelicalism and then turned to Judaism.
‘A Kiss across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and US Latinidad’ by Richard T. Rodríguez
Why would Mexican and Chicano youths like British post-punk music? “The answer is ‘why not?'” University of California, Riverside, professor Richard T. Rodríguez says about his book.
“’A Kiss across the Ocean’ is more than an academic read!” said Sarah Rafael García, an author and the founder of LibroMobile in Santa Ana, California. “It intersects the personal with post-punk music and icons, creating an era for those of us in U.S. Latinx communities who felt left out of mainstream culture and genders in the ’80s, early ’90s and even to this day.”
‘Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir’ by Erika L. Sánchez
Published before the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist Erika L. Sánchez’s memoir is an account of her life growing up in a working-class Mexican immigrant household in Chicago, exploring her sexuality, religion and feminism and grappling with racism and colorism. She writes about how an abortion saved her life and candidly details her experiences dealing with suicidal thoughts and depression.
U.S. NEWSMan sentenced to 16 years for plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
U.S. NEWSTwo doulas, working remotely, help deliver a Christmas Eve blizzard baby
Sánchez, who is also the author of “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” a 2017 hit that is being adapted into a Netflix film directed by actor American Ferrera, spotlights the issue of mental illness by describing her experience with electroconvulsive therapy and her time in a psychiatric ward. “It’s an illness that really takes over your entire life, and you need a medical specialist to determine what it is that you are suffering from and to get the right kind of treatment,” Sánchez told MSNBC host Alicia Menendez on her show, “American Voices,” in July.
‘Solito’ by Javier Zamora
In his captivating memoir, poet Javier Zamora relates his migration journey from El Salvador to the U.S. as a young boy. Writing from his perspective at 9, he talks about traveling thousands of miles alone to Arizona to reconnect with his parents, who fled El Salvador years before after the country’s civil war.
Zamora recalls his experiences with the help of strangers along the way, including learning to raise himself and facing challenges from Border Patrol agents. “Solito” has been recognized as a New York Times Bestseller and as one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Public Library and as one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Washington Post and Kirkus Reviews, among other publications.